During Navratri, I do not use either onion or garlic in my cooking and so finding different things to make daily is a bit of a challenge. After all, how many days can one make idli and dosa? Having two (actually make that three) fussy eaters in the house does not help.
I made Ven Pongal yesterday. This is a traditional South Indian breakfast dish which is incredibly filling. There are two versions of Ven Pongal – a sweet version called Sakara Pongal which is generally used as a neividhyam (offering) to God and the savoury version called Ven Pongal.This has a creamy buttery taste and it is traditionally served with coconut chutney. Here is my version of Ven Pongal.
2 cups rice
1 cup moong dal
2 tbsps ghee
2 tbsps broken pieces of cashewnuts
a small bunch of curry leaves
2 green chillies, chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp pepper powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste
In a pressure cooker, dry roast the moong dal for a few minutes till it lightly browns and a nice aroma is released. Then add the rice, water and salt and cook it for around 4 whistles or till it is finely cooked. Once the steam is released, open the cooker and mix well. At this point, check for the salt and add more, if needed.
In another small pan, heat the ghee and fry the cashewnuts till they are crisp and brown. Drain them and put them into the rice/lentil mixture and using the same ghee fry the cumin seeds, pepper corns, curry leaves, ginger, green chillies and pepper powder for a few seconds. Then add this to the rice, mix well and serve hot. I served this with coconut chutney.