Pongal - The Humble South Indian Khichdi

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In South India, two dishes that are a must have during Sankranthi/Pongal is the Khara Pongal Sweet Pongal using Jaggery also known as Huggi in Kannada.

This time around, I didnt make the sweet version as me & my husband aren't really fond of jaggery based sweets, But, We do relish the savoury version quite often.

Khara Pongal or savoury Pongal is what I call the South Indian version of Khichdi. A mixture of rice & lentils simmered to a semi-solid consistency & tempered with cumin seeds, green chillies, ginger & pepper corns is a heart warmer. Popular in most South Indian homes as a Breakfast Dish, it can be eaten on its own or even with yogurt or spicy coconut chutney or a traditional eggplant dip, either way its overwhelming. It is way too simple to make & does not involve cutting of any vegetables, which is a blessing if one is short on time. I quite often enjoy this as supper on cold winter evenings.

Preparation Time: 30 mins

  • 1 cup short grained rice
  • 1/2 cup Moong Dal
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 3 green chillies - finely chopped
  • A handful of curry leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coarsely ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1 tbsp Desi Ghee/Clarified Butter or Oil


  • Dry roast moong dal until it starts to turn slightly brown.
  • Pressure cook Moong dal along with rice along with turmeric powder
  • Heat Ghee/oil in a heavy bottomed pan & add cumin seeds, once the seeds crackle, add curry leaves, green chillies & saute for a minute.
  • Add cooked rice & lentil mixture & Add 1/2 cup water & mix well.
  • Add grated ginger, ground pepper & Salt
  • Simmer on low heat for about 5 - 8 minutes.
  • Drizzle Ghee on top & enjoy with your favorite Side Dish.

Enjoi !!!


  • The Rice:Lentil proportion could be either 1:2 or 2:1 or 1:1 whichever suits you
  • Go easy on green chillies as ground pepper adds quite a bit of heat.
  • You could use long grained rice too, but short grained rice works best.
  • This can be made on stove top too instead of using a pressure cooker. Use Pressure Cooker to save time.

I Wish You All A Very Happy Makara Sankranthi !!!

This is my humble contribution to Sunshine Mom's FIC-Yellow & Preeti's Festive Food.

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