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Ven Pongal is a very famous tiffin dish in Southern India. Pongal festival is to celebrate the harvest festival. It is a festival that is spread over four days. Pongal in tamil means something that is overflowing. The act of boiling over of milk in the clay pot is considered to denote future prosperity for the family. See more at The Pongal at wikipedia
At home we savor this dish with Kathirikkai Gothsu - Eggplant in a Tangy Gravy (south Indian version of eggplant in tangy tomato gravy) or a vegetable kootu( vegetables and dal in coconut gravy).
Makes: 4 servings
Heat a pan on medium heat and roast the yellow moong dal until a lightly roasted aroma is released. Don’t let it turn brown.
Wash rice and mix with the roasted dal. Add 4 cups of water and salt to taste. Cook using the pressure cooker method or in a pot until done. The texture is a personal choice, some like it grainy and a few like it mushy. So cook until you get the texture to suit your taste.
Place a small pan on medium heat; add the oil and roast the peppercorns for a few seconds. Add cumin seeds, ginger, curry leaves, pepper powder, asafoetida and saute for a few more seconds. Turn off heat and set aside.
Now heat ½ teaspoon of ghee in a small pan and roast the cashew nuts until golden and crisp.
Once the rice-dal mixture is cooked; add the roasted spices and the cashew nuts to the rice-dal mixture. Add the remaining ghee and mix till the spices have blended well into the rice.