Ven Pongal or Khara Pongal is an authentic South Indian savory dish. This Ven Pongal is popular in restaurants and South Indian homes as part of the breakfast or dinner menu. While it is called when pongal in the state of Tamilnadu, it is called Khara Pongal in the other south Indian states like Karnataka. This dish tastes rich and delicious and it requires only 30 minutes to prepare this wholesome meal. It pairs great with sambar, tomato chutney, coconut chutney, or as it is.
What is Ven Pongal?
Pongal is an authentic South Indian dish, usually tastes sweet or savory. The sweet version that uses jaggery or sugar is Sakkarai Pongal and one with salt and spices is Ven Pongal/Khara Pongal. The Ven Pongal recipe uses short-grain rice or raw rice, moong dal, cumin seeds, whole peppercorn, curry leaves, cashews, and a generous amount of ghee and usually looks a porridge-like consistency.
People make this Ven Pongal during the South Indian harvest festival "Pongal". During the Pongal festival, people make this ven Pongal and sweet Pongal with newly harvest rice. And then they offer it to God Sun. It is also popular in the temples and served even on regular days as Prasadam, Sacred food in English. This Ven Pongal is also a common breakfast or dinner dish in South India. And since this food is light, it is also consumed for easy digestion.
This Ven Pongal/Khara Pongal is a great food for instants and kids as the Ghee and moong dal are the dominant ingredients that are rich in fat and protein and it is a good source for child growth.
Ven Pongal is a tasty wholesome meal that has so many variations. Though the typical Ven Pongal recipe uses rice as the main ingredient, people also use Rava, quinoa, millets, or oats instead of rice for different and healthy versions.
In some parts of South India especially in the state of Karnataka, people like to add coconuts to their traditional Ven Pongal and it is also called Khara pongal in the region. And one of the tasty versions is restaurant-style Ven Pongal, where they use a generous amount of ghee to intensify the flavor of the dish. Even though ghee is the main ingredient for its rich aroma, it can be replaced with coconut oil for a vegan-friendly version. This version also tastes great even though it slightly alters the typical taste and flavor of Ven Pongal.
Traditionally, Ven Pongal is made in an open vessel or pan but nowadays people commonly use instant pot and pressure cooker for faster cooking.
How to make Ven Pongal?
The recipe I have shared here is a simple homestyle Ven Pongal/Khara Pongal. And it easy to make in a pressure cooker or in an instant pot. Initially, in a pressure cooker, I have sauteed the rice and moong dal until it turns aromatic. I keep the heat to medium to avoid burning which may alter the flavor of the dish.
After that, I added water, green chili, ginger, and salt and cooked it for 4 whistles. Usually, for 4 whistles the rice and dal turn nice and mushy for me and I believe the same would work for you well. If it doesn't, feel free to wait for one or two more whistles.
Finally, I tempered cumin seeds, peppercorn, cashews, and curry leaves with ghee. And added them to the mushy rice dal mixture. I would suggest you add 1 extra spoon of ghee if you want to have a similar taste of restaurant-style Ven Pongal. This is an optional step but usually adding extra ghee delivers a great flavor to the Ven Pongal dish.
Even though this Ven Pongal/Khara Pongal recipe is made in a pressure cooker, it easy to make in the instant pot as well. For the instant pot version, add the rice and moong dal with 5 cups of water and pressure cook for 10 minutes. Finally, add the tempering similar to the pressure cooker method. Or you can also make the tempering in the same instant pot before adding rice and dal.
For the open pan or pot version, cook dal and rice in water until it reaches mushy consistency. And it is important that we have to stir it continuously to avoid burning the dish at the bottom. And finally, add the tempering ingredients and mix well.
Usually, the amount of rice and moong dal plays an important role in achieving a perfect Ven Pongal/Khara Pongal. This dish tastes great when the rice and moong dal are in a 1:¾ ratio. You could also even increase it to a 1:1 ratio for a more flavorful dish.
And another important aspect is roasting the rice and moong dal. I would highly recommend you not to skip this step to achieve an aromatic Pongal. And it is also important to use short grain like sona masoori, or any raw rice varieties that give perfect texture and mushy consistency to Pongal.
And the traditional Ven Pongal is not complete without the aromatic ghee. So adding a good amount of ghee gives a rich taste to this dish.
This Ven Pongal/Khara Pongal in a pressure cooker or instant pot is an easy dish that can be enjoyed with the whole family. This dish tastes best with South Indian sambhar, coconut chutney, Tomato Chutney and with this Soft and Cripsy Medu Vada, for breakfast or dinner.
You could also find similar recipes below and more at Breakfast Recipes.
- Sakkarai Pongal / Sweet Pongal
- Dalia/Broken Wheat Tomato Khichdi
- Vegetable Semiya Upma
- Rava Upma South Indian Style
Looking for healthy and easy breakfast recipes to kick start your busy mornings? Then you could also check this collection of Indian Vegetarian Breakfast Recipes to enjoy with your family and loved ones.
Ven Pongal recipe video
I have shared the detailed video instructions for Ven Pongal / Khara Pongal below and I believe it will help you to prepare the dish easily at home. For a quick reference, you could also find Ven/Khara Pongal Recipe in story format.
Ven Pongal (Khara Pongal)
- 1 cup Rice, sona masoori, washed
- ¾ cup Moong dal , washed
- 5 cup Water
- ½ cup Ghee
- ¼ cup Cashew Nuts
- 3 Green Chili, sliced
- 1 tsp Ginger, chopped
- 2 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 tsp Peppercorn
- 1 sprig Curry Leaves
- Salt, as needed
To Prepare Ven Pongal/Khara Pongal
- In a pressure cooker with medium heat, pour ¼ cup of ghee and add rice, moong dal, and saute until it turns aromatic
- Add water, green chili, ginger, salt, and mix well
- Close the pressure cooker with the lid and allow it to cook for four whistles
- Open the lid once the pressure releases naturally and give a nice mix
- Now in another pan with medium heat, add remaining ¼ cup of ghee, peppercorn, cumin seeds, cashew nuts, curry leaves, and saute until the cashews turn golden in color
- Pour the above mixture into the cooked rice dal mixture and give a good mix. Now the delicious Ven Pongal/Khara Pongal should be ready for you to taste and enjoy
- Serve this delicious Ven Pongal with mixed vegetable sambhar and coconut chutney
- Roasting the moong dal and rice with ghee gives a nice aroma and flavor to Ven Pongal. So I would suggest you not to skip this step
- Though adding a generous amount of ghee gives a rich and nice flavor, you could also reduce or replace it with oil of your choice
- This Ven Pongal is made with sona masoori rice. But you could also replace it with any short grain rice or raw rice that gives a similar taste and texture
- Pongal tastes great and it is best to serve with Sambar and/or coconut chutney
Ven Pongal/ Khara Pongal recipe is an authentic South Indian savory dish. This dish usually uses short-grain rice or raw rice, moong dal, cumin seeds, whole peppercorn, curry leaves, cashews, and a generous amount of ghee that looks a porridge-like consistency.
It depends. The traditional Ven Pongal recipe uses a good amount of ghee, which may be good for infants and kids but adults with underlying health conditions. So, better to consume in moderate quantity.
Yes, replace 2 parts of water with milk and follow the instructions in the recipe card.
Use coconut oil and coconut milk instead of ghee and milk for a vegan-friendly meal.
Even though we have many side dishes, Sambar and/or Coconut chutney goes very well with Ven Pongal.
I really hope you enjoyed the recipe that I have shared here and I would love to hear from you on how it turned out for you. Please let me know.
If you have any other questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.