Ven Pongal is a traditional and classic South Indian Breakfast. This simple recipe with dal & rice is a staple in most households. Pair it up with a simple chutney, sambar or gothsu for a fantastic meal experience. On the occasion of the Pongal festival, I am sharing the preparation method for the Instant Pot & Stovetop Pressure Cooker.
Pongal is a four-day-long harvest festival celebrated in South India, in the month of “Thai”(January-February). This is the season when crops like rice, sugarcane, turmeric etc. are harvested. In Tamil Language, Pongal means “to boil”, and this festival is celebrated as a thanksgiving to the Sun God for the year’s harvest. Pongal also happens to be the name of the dish consumed during this festive time. This three-day harvest festival is one of the most popular festivals in Tamil Nadu. It typically falls on the 14th or 15th of January.
Ven Pongal is a South Indian staple dish where rice & moong dal are cooked together. A delicious tempering of cashew, pepper, curry leaves, ginger and asafoetida roasted in ghee is added to the rice and dal. The sweet version of this Pongal is called Sweet Pongal or Chakkarai Pongal. The recipe is shared here.
Ven Pongal tastes best with the addition of lots of ghee. That’s typically how we like to have ours. In South India, Temple-style Pongal is very famous! I still remember Saibaba temple in Chennai serves one of the best Ven Pongal. The texture is creamy, rich and delicious. It’s as velvety as butter. Every time I make Pongal, I aim at this consistency. This is a comfort, one-pot meal that is perfect for breakfast lunch or dinner. Since Pongal is very filling, we opt to have it as a brunch on a Sunday and sleep all day long. My husband calls this dish a sleeping dose. LOL.
Pongal Vada is one combination we never miss having when we go to South Indian Restaurants. It’s a match made in heaven and is a great start to the day. It is served along with some delicious Sambar and Chutney which elevates the taste.
Pongal is also made especially on festivals, special occasions and as an offering for God.
Rice – Seeraga Samba Rice, Regular Rice, Brown Rice, Millets and Quinoa can be used.
Moong Dal – Use split Yellow Moong Dal
Ghee – Do not skip ghee for the authentic, creamy Pongal
Cashewnuts – I love picking them up and eating one for every spoon of Pongal.
Peppercorns – This is where the spice comes from.
Ginger – Gives a lovely flavour and little spice.
Cumin seeds – A flavourful ingredient that is always present in Ven Pongal.
Curry Leaves – No South Indian Tadka is complete without these.
How to make Ven Pongal in Instant Pot
Press SAUTE (Normal) on Instant Pot. Add ghee to the Pot.
Once POT becomes hot, add in Cashewnuts. Saute until cashew nuts turn light brown in colour.
In the same ghee, add peppercorns, ginger, cumin seeds asafoetida and curry leaves. Saute until the ingredients splutter. Remove and keep it aside.
Next, add the dal and rice. Saute for less than 1 minute till the dal becomes aromatic.
Add water, salt and ghee. Then, mix well.
Set the pot to MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK (High Pressure) and set the timer to 10 minutes.
Wait for PRESSURE to release NATURALLY.
Once the pressure has been released, open the lid and mash the dal and rice well.
Add the tadka that we kept aside. Serve hot with Sambar or Chutney.
How to make Ven Pongal in Stove Top pressure Cooker
Heat the cooker. Add dal and Saute the dal for a few minutes till the dal turns aromatic. Next, add the rice.
Add water, needed salt, and 1 tsp ghee and mix well. Close the lid and put the whistle weight on. Cook for 4 whistles on medium flame. Switch off the flame and wait for pressure to release naturally.
Once the pressure has been released, open the lid and mix the rice and dal mixture well. Mash it well.
Now in another pan, add ghee and let it become hot. Once hot, add cashews. Once cashew turns golden brown, keep them aside. To the same pan, add peppercorns, cumin seeds, asafoetida, ginger, and curry leaves. Saute for 30 seconds.
Now, add the tempering and cashews to the Pongal mixture. Mix well.
Serve hot with Sambar or Chutney.
Ven Pongal tastes best when served hot. Pongal goes well with Coconut Chutney, Sambar, Brinjal or Vegetable Gothsu.
Check out my Tiffin Sambar Recipe here.
The right consistency of Pongal is, that it should be mushy but not watery.
I have used standard measuring cups to measure the ingredients.
The ratio is 1: 3.5 which means, (1/2 cup Rice + 1/2 cup Dal )1 cup: 3.5 Cups Water
If Vegan, you can skip ghee and use oil in its place. But ghee tastes the best for this recipe.
If you feel salt is less after cooking, add a little salt to some warm water, mix well and then add it to the Pongal. Give a good mix and see.
If you do not like having whole peppercorns, slightly crush them and add it to the Ven Pongal.
I have used an equal amount of dal and rice in this recipe. The ratio is entirely your choice. You can use half dal quantity for 1 cup of rice too.
Ven Pongal tastes best when served hot.
Ven Pongal thickens on cooling. Add some boiling hot water and adjust consistency before serving.
Leftover Pongal can be refrigerated. You can reheat it in a microwave and adjust consistency if needed.
More One Pot Meal Recipes
Sweet Pongal Recipe
For this Pongal Festival, do try out my Sweet Pongal recipe as well. Have shared both Instant Pot and Stovetop Version.
Ven Pongal Recipe – Instant Pot & Stovetop
- Instant Pot
- Stovetop Pressure Cooker
- 1/2 cup Rice
- 1/2 cup Moong Dal
- 1 tsp Ghee
- Salt as needed
- 3 & 1/2 cups Water
- 3 tbsp Ghee
- 3 tbsp Cashewnuts
- 1 tsp Peppercorns
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- Curry Leaves Few , chopped
- 1 inch Ginger Chopped
- Asafoetida a Pinch
To cook Ven Pongal In Instant Pot
- Press SAUTE (Normal) on Instant Pot. Add 1 & 1/2 tbsp ghee to the Pot.
- Once POT becomes hot, add in Cashewnuts. Saute until cashewnuts turn light brown in color.
- In the same ghee, add peppercorns, cumin seeds, ginger, asafoetida and curry leaves. Saute until the ingredients splutter. Remove and keep it aside.
- Next, add the dal and rice.Saute for less than 1 minute till dal becomes aromatic.
- Add water, salt and ghee. Then, mix well.
- Set the pot to MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK(High Pressure) and set timer to 10 minutes.
- Wait for PRESSURE to release NATURALLY.
- Once the pressure has released, open the lid and mash the dal and rice well.
- Add the tadka that we kept aside. Serve hot with Sambar or Chutney.
To cook Ven Pongal In Stovetop Pressure Cooker
- Heat 1 teaspoon ghee in a pressure cooker and add the dal. Saute the dal for few minutes till dal turns light brown or aromatic. Next, add the rice.
- Add water, needed salt, 1 tsp ghee and mix well. Close the lid and put the whistle weight on. Cook for 4 whistles on medium flame. Switch off the flame and wait for pressure to release naturally.
- Now in another pan, add ghee and let it become hot. Once hot,add cashews. Once cashew turns golden brown, keep them aside. To the same pan,add cumin seeds, peppercorns, asafoetida, ginger, curry leaves.
- Saute for 30 seconds. Once the pressure has released,open the lid and mix the rice and dal mixture well. Mash it well.
- Serve hot with Sambar or Chutney.
- Now, add the tempering and cashews to the Pongal mixture. Mix well.