Pongal is a breakfast favorite in Chennai and Tamil Nadu. Every 'hotel' serves pongal in the morning with fresh coconut chutney or a spicy vegetable sauce of some kind. The key to good pongal is getting the rice cooked to a mushy texture and plenty of ghee. This is not a dish for the faint of heart.
Making pongal is a snap if you have a pressure cooker. Equal parts of jasmine rice, brown rice and moong dal cooked with three or four parts water. Add a 1/4 tsp of hing to the water. While this cooks heat 1/2 cup of ghee in a big pot. Add 1 tsp whole peppercorns, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 2 tb minced ginger, 1 tb minced curry leaves 2 chopped chilies are optional. Add 1/4 cup of raw cashew pieces or pine nuts or both and sauté till golden. Add the cooked rice and quickly stir in another 2 cups of hot water and salt to taste. Serve garnished with chopped curry leaves and a tsp of ghee. And lime pickles or vegetable chutney on the side.
Rice – 1 cup
Moong dal – 1/2 cup
Water – 3 cups
Asafoetida (hing) – 1/4 tsp
Ghee – 1/2 cup
Pepper corns – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Cashew halves – 1/4 cup
Curry leaves – 6-8
Fresh ginger minced – 1 tbs
Equal parts of jasmine, brown rice and moong dal cooked with three parts water.
Add a 1/4 tsp of hing to the water.
While this cooks heat 1/2 cup of ghee in a big pot. (canola may be substituted but add a stick of butter later for flavor.)