Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pongal (and grapes)

So I made the pongal recipe from Mahanandi (by way of DesiPundit).

I crossed my fingers and hoped that the instruction to grind peppercorns, cumin, and cloves together would result in something a little like garam masala, because I don't have a grinder (but I do have garam masala). ^__^

It was probably this alteration that made my pongal turn out a little brownish-gray (Indira's is nice and fluffy white). See below.

(Daniel, I know I shouldn't have chosen a purple plate, but I didn't plan on adding grapes until I had already spooned out the pongal!)

It was fluffy, as per Indira's description, and tasty, but it doesn't look a thing like hers. Hmmm.

And... yes, there's paneer in it. I wanted to use it before it went bad, and I thought "why not?"

What should I do differently next time? Buy a grinder? ^__^


Daniel said...

and of course use a lime green plate :0)

Anonymous said...


did you use Garam masala instead of pepper/cumin/cloves?

The dish looks good, and probably tasted fine, but it isn't pongal to me! :-) So, OK, I'm being picky...and you're welcome to call it anything you want but the point of Pongal is that is relatively mild and easy to digest - thus the pepper and cumin which are both aids to digestion. Garam masala isn't! Plus cloves in Pongal? Never heard of that!

Pongal, like any other food, has many many variants, with every household convinced that their pongal is the only way to make it, so enjoy yours and consider it your variant of pongal...pongal is also very south Indian, so no paneer please....that is such a n.Indian thing to add...

And to continue with my Monday morning mood - Pongal should NEVER be fluffly! It should be like a thick oat porridge, not lumpy and sticky, but just right. Fluffy pongal is just wrong! :-D :-D

Bitterlemons (the curmudgeon!)

Anonymous said...


Just to choke up your comment space some more, here is my family's pongal recipe:

Cook equal quantities of rice and moong dal, either separately or in the same dish, until the rice and dal are both very well cooked - softer and stickier than pulao-rice.

Coarsely chop ginger, (as much as you can handle), curry leaves.
Use a mortar to break up some peppercorns and cumin (I use a teaspoon of pepper and 2 of cumin, for 2 cups of rice/dal). If you don't have a mortar/pestle, use a large stone! As a last resort, use whole cumin as is, and powdered pepper. A teaspoon of cashew pieces is a nice addition, if you have it.

In a large pan, heat a couple of teaspoons of ghee, fry the pepper/cumin mixture in it, add the cashews and add ginger and curry leaves at the end. Add the cooked rice/dal - if you can handle it, add more ghee - true pongal has a LOT of ghee, but most people use very little nowadays and just eat it up while it's hot! Cold, low-far pongal tastes pretty sad.

You can also add oil, instead of more ghee - but choose a neutral oil like sunflower oil, and don't forget to add at least a spoonful of need the smell of ghee to make it pongal!

I add water as I stir the mixture in the pan, salting to taste, until the consistency is to my liking - like thick oats.

Serve with chutney (coconut preferred) but tomato is acceptable.



Blue said...

Bitterlemons -- ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha LOVED your first post! Not curmudgeonly at all, or only in the best way. ^__^

Thanks for the recipe too, because if you hadn't sent it I would have insisted you do so. Give me a day or two to get all this rice through my system and I'll cook it up.

Daniel -- lime green, I know. ^__^