The festival of Pongal is just a couple of days away. Today, let me share with you all a recipe that’s perfect for the occasion – Vegetable Pongal. This is a spin on the traditional savoury Ven Pongal recipe I had shared on the blog some time ago, and an absolutely delicious one at that.
What goes into Vegetable Pongal
Like Ven Pongal, this dish is prepared using rice and moong dal. You can use any variety of rice you prefer – I usually go for Sona Masoori.
In addition to the usual ghee, black pepper, cumin, ginger, green chillies and cashewnuts that are used in making pongal, this one also includes vegetables. I usually stick to carrots, green peas and beans to make this Vegetable Pongal. The vegetables make the pongal all the more nutritious and flavourful.
How to make Vegetable Pongal or Ven Pongal with vegetables
Here is how to go about it.
Ingredients (serves 4-5):
1. 1 cup rice
2. 1/4 cup moong dal
3. About 3/4 cup mixed vegetables like carrot, green peas and beans
4. 2 tablespoons ghee
5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
6. 2 green chillies
7. A sprig of curry leaves
8. About 10 cashewnuts
9. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
10. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
11. 2 pinches of asafoetida
12. Salt to taste
13. About 1/2 tablespoon coarsely crushed black pepper or to taste
1. Wash the rice and moong dal thoroughly, then drain out all the water.
2. Transfer the drained rice and moong dal to a wide vessel. Add in 4 cups of water. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
3. In the meantime, prep the vegetables. Keep the green peas ready. Peel the carrot and chop finely. Remove strings from the beans and chop finely.
4. Steam the vegetables using a steamer. Keep ready.
5. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep the curry leaves and cashewnuts handy. Peel the ginger and chop finely.
6. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked rice and moong dal out. Mash them lightly.
7. Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard, and allow them to sputter. Add in the cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, cashewnuts, ginger and slit green chillies. Reduce flame to medium. Saute on medium flame for a minute or so, browning the cashewnuts, taking care not to burn the ingredients.
8. Add in the cooked rice and moong dal. Add about 3/4 cup water or as needed to adjust the consistency of the pongal. Mix well. Continue to keep the flame at medium.
9. Add salt to taste, followed by the coarsely crushed black pepper and the steamed vegetables. Mix well.
10. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the mixture thickens up and comes together well. Switch off gas when the mixture is still on the runnier side – it will thicken up further on cooling. Your Vegetable Pongal is ready. Serve hot, drizzled with some ghee and raita of your choice.
Tips & Tricks
1. Vegetables like green peas, beans and carrot go well in this pongal. I would suggest sticking to similar veggies only.
2. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the pongal that you require.
3. Make sure the rice and moong dal are well cooked and soft before adding them to the pan.
4. Adjust the quantity of black pepper and green chillies depending upon the spice level you are comfortable with.
5. Do not skimp on the ghee. It adds a beautiful fragrance and flavour to the Vegetable Pongal.
6. Remember to keep the Vegetable Pongal runny. It thickens up quite a bit with time.
7. This is a completely vegetarian recipe, but not vegan (plant-based) due to the use of ghee.
8. To make this dish gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour, so they are best avoided in case you are following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely use it.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!