Manjal Pongal – ” Aadi maasam” traditions

Manjal Pongal
The recipes and rituals for Aadi  masam ( monsoon months in South India) were taught to me by mother-in-law. A significant one among that is this very simple turmeric spiced rice lentil combination called manjal pongal.  Though I am not fastidious when it comes to ritual, more so, evolving to the needs of the time, I love some of the recipes which she passed on to me. These recipes are so unique, timeless and yet so simple.  Moreover, I find these recipes vanishing in the busy working schedule. We are so focused on grab and go and love to put up our feet after a hard day at work, we tend to forget these quick ones. I am adding these to my journey here and incorporating them in my winter dinners.

Significance of Aadi  maasam

The predominant community in ancient India are farmers and they rely on the mercy of natural forces. The month of Aadi ( the 4th month in the Tamilian calendar) is the month that gods are sleeping. Hence no auspicious events are conducted. It falls during the July -August months in the regular calendar. Actually, it is a month of heavy monsoon, where paddy is just laid and the rice fields are well fed with water to prep for the marshy crop. There is only stored grains and nourishing simple food keeps people from falling ill at these times. Hence stories were woven and intricately entwined to the lives of people. The month is spent on different sorts of prayers and offerings.  The month beginning day is  “aadi pirrappu” .  The Tuesdays and Friday’s are often celebrated to please the goddess Parvathi. The 18th day is the picnic day to the banks of River Kaveri as “pathinettam perrakku”. 
Indian yellow turmeric rice

Significance of Manjal pongal

Manjal Pongal is made to receive the special blessings from the goddess Parvathi,  during Aadi maasam.  The recipe is served to the girls in the family as manjal (turmeric) is very auspicious. The manjal pongal is served with a few drops of ghee, ” thaalagam” kozhambu (a specially mixed vegetable gravy) and “arisivadam” (deep-fried rice sundries). The girls are treated for a this special simple meal mostly on Tuesdays.
rice crispies
Medically, turmeric has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which aid in the resistance to diseases during the humid, hid rains of the tropics to combat simple infections. 

Incorporating this in modern world diet

Thanks to the multiple influences in my family and life,  these unique recipes surface often at dinners. I do try my best to include such simple protein balanced recipes in my quick at the kitchen days too for it assures me no compromise with health.  This gluten-free recipe is good for the aged, pregnant women, lactating mothers and toddlers and perfect in the pressure cooker, electric rice cooker or instant pot. My recipe has freshly grated turmeric as opposed to the turmeric powder.   But you can pretty much swap it with the regular use turmeric powder. 
With teens and tweens in the house, adapting these recipes into the global expanding world can be quite a diverging experience. But when we make combinations that are exciting and add in relevant stories or experiences they are good for the children to accommodate and carry forth. For us, the arisivadam, did the trick and we call it Paatis ( paternal grandmother) dinner nights. 
If you do have such interesting age-old recipes in your family do share so we call can benefit from the same.  Feel free to drop-in your requests for the recipes you will like to have too. I will try my best to find the most authentic version for you. 
Here are some easier to make Pongal recipes
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This recipe post has been updated for content, images and instant pot version recently. Hope you enjoy it. 
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Turmeric infused rice lentil pongal
Manjal Pongal

Manjal Pongal

Gluten-free, lentil and rice mix
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Dish, Traditional
Cuisine Baby toddler food, diabetic friendly, gluten free, Indian, One pot, tamilnadu, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Servings 4 people
Calories 214 kcal


  • 1 cup Raw rice short grain
  • 1/4 cup split pigeon pea Tuvaram pariippu / tur dal/ thogri bele
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric grated or use turmeric powder
  • 8 curry leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 5 cups Water


Pressure cooker method

  • Wash and drain the rice and the dal, till the water runs clear.
  • Set the pressure cooker.
  • Add in the washed rice and dal followed by the turmeric, salt, curry leaves and water.
  • Pressure cook for three whistles to five whistles.
  • Take off the flame and let the pressure release naturally.
  • Open the cooker and mash the cooked mix.
  • Check for salt and serve warm.
    Indian yellow turmeric rice

Instant pot method

  • Set the instant pot for pressure cooking at high.
  • Wash the rice, lentil mix and add to the pot with 4 cups of water. Reserve 1 cup for mixing later.
  • Seal the lid and set for 8 minutes.
  • Once done wait for it to release pressure naturally.
  • Open and mash the rice gently and serve warm

Rice cooker method

  • Wash the dal and rice and add it with 5 cups of water to the rice cooker pot an set to porridge mode
  • After about 15 minutes of cooking, the dal softens and then add the turmeric, curry leaves and salt and cook further.
  • Depending on the water absorption of the rice, the rice cooker method may need a bit more water to make it mushy.
  • Mix the rice dal mix well and serve warm
    Manjal Pongal


Serving: 100gCalories: 214kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 6gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 531mgPotassium: 50mgFiber: 2gSugar: 0.3g
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Poonam Bachhav
6 years ago

We also make a similar preparation for babies.

Lata Lala
3 years ago

Manjal Pongal a traditional recipe is worth trying Seema. Yes you said it right traditional recipes are almost forgotten. It’s so good to see your post that is kind of treasure worth making a note.

Priya Srinivasan
3 years ago

So true, such traditional practices are not seen much these days, I will be missing these celebrations this year, love the festivities in the temples during aadi month. manjal Pongal looks very tempting,

Mayuri Patel
3 years ago

Some of the traditional recipes tend to be so simple and yet so flavorful. Also love how they all have a story behind them. Adding curry leaves adds so much flavour and fresh turmeric makes all the difference too as opposed to turmeric powder. Many traditional recipes are getting lost at the cost of busy lives or people not knowing how to prepare them.

3 years ago

Such simple and filling one-pot rice and lentil dish. It must have stated so deliciously with papadums.

Padma Veeranki
3 years ago

Simple yet yummy and healthy…So true, such traditional recipes are almost vanishing… Manjal Pongal looks very tempting….Lovely share!!

Jayashree T.Rao
3 years ago

This looks the pongal that we make but it made with tur dal here. Never tried this way, this is a quick fix menu. Nice share.

3 years ago

Never heard of this manjal pongal dish. Looks so easy and nutritious. Will be trying this recipe soon.

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