I love pongal as a quick pick-me-up whenever the weather gets cold or I’m in the mood for a delicious and nutritious one-pot meal. Pongal is offered in a lot of temples as prasadam or offering to the Gods, its that delicious.
1 cup rice
1/3 cup yellow moong beans
6 curry leaves
1 dry red chili
1 tsp fresh ginger
4 grains cumin seed
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cashews, split in half
2 tsp ghee or clarified butter
Pots n pans
- Measure rice and yellow moong bean in bowl. Rinse in water and wash thoroughly.
- Pressure cook the rice moong bean mixture in double the quantity of water till well cooked. Turn off stove & let cool.
- Heat 1 tsp ghee in wok or fry pan. Add hing, and remaining spice mix in this order: cumin, red pepper, black peppercorns, cashews, ginger and curry leaves and stir together.
- Pour cooked rice-moong bean mix into the wok. Add salt to taste and stir till spice butter coats the rice and moong beans. A heavenly fragrance will envelop the pongal at this time.
- Pour the remaining ghee on top of the pongal before serving
The king of spices, black pepper is what imparts pongal its characteristic woody aroma.
Black pepper has impressive antioxidant and antibacterial effects–it helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas..yet another way in which this wonderful seasoning promotes the health of the digestive tract. And not only does black pepper help you derive the most benefit from your food, the outer layer of the peppercorn stimulates the breakdown of fat cells, keeping you slim while giving you energy to burn.
Pepper is a vastly prized spice native to Kerala state in the Western Ghats of India. In 1498, Portugese commander, Vasco da Gama pursued it all the way to India and other European settlers followed suit. Hot in its pursuit Spanish explorer, Christopher Columbus looking for India, mistakenly landed in the West Indies. Virtually all of the world’s best peppercorns come from the Malabar region of India. Pepper was deemed so valuable in Europe that it was often used as a collateral or traded as a currency. For the dutch, “pepper expensive” (peperduur) is an expression for something very expensive.
Pongal is best served by itself and just maybe a spot of ghee. But if you’re really looking for a pairing, I’ll share some stews in another post. I know we cannot do without pepper in our daily life.. Hope you enjoyed this fresh and yet ancient Pongal recipe to bring pepper into your life.