The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including Gluten Free dishes.

January 16, 2011

South Indian Treasure: Pongali

Pongali
The main ingredients of Pongali are rice and lentils...and of course lots of love. We decided that instead of making a totally different sweet for the festival, we would make two types of pongali: one sweet and one savory as mentioned in the post about Pongal. It is preferred that you eat them both when they are warm for the optimal taste. First we will discuss how to make Pongali (the savory kind). 

Ingredients for this dish make 6 servings:
- Basmati Rice......................................................... 1 cup
- Moong dal............................................................ 1 cup
- Salt....................................................................... 1 tsp or as needed
-Unsalted butter....................................................... 3 tbsp
For seasoning:
  - Cumin & mustard seeds...................................... 1/2 tsp each
- Vegetable Oil..................................................... 1.5 tbsp
- Asaphoetida (hing)............................................. 1/4 tsp
- Curry leaves ...................................................... 5-6 leaves (optional)
- Black peppercorns............................................ 1/2 tsp coarsely ground
- Dried red chilies................................................. 2, broken into two pieces
- Cashew nuts......................................................15-20, as halves
- Ginger.............................................................. 1 inch piece, grated or chopped finely

Procedure:
1) Take rice and dal in the electric rice cooker (>5 cups size) container, wash them thoroughly and drain well. Start off with adding 5 cups of water and add more water if needed. Then add salt and cook (if using smaller size cooker, start with 4 cups of water and add remaining one plus cups at intervals as the water is being absorbed).
OR
If cooking on stove top, use appropriate heavy-bottomed container so that water will not spill over and cook on low to medium heat. Cook until the dal is soft (approx. 20 - 30min). 
2) When the rice and lentil mix is cooked, mix in 3 tbsps of butter.
 
3) In a small saucepan, add oil and heat on medium. When oil is heated, fry cashews until light golden, add red chilies and mix for 30 sec later add cumin & mustard seeds. When they splatter, add pepper powder and a pinch of salt, hing, grated ginger and curry leaves. Mix well and transfer the seasoning into the cooked pongal and mix well.
Quick Tip: To add an extra lil kick serve it with any type of  Indian pickles such as Achar or chutneys.