Wholesome Venpongal.

Wholesome venpongal.

In most Indian households the family recipes tend to be handed down orally. Rarely is it documented or there a family recipe book of sorts. Since a lot of my south Indian recipes are from the enthusiastic, generous mums (mine and in-laws) I feel privileged to be able to hold on to few that I have collected.

Venpongal on my menu.

The idea of Pongal for breakfast came to me only after my wedding. This was because my dad doesn’t like venpongal for the most part of the day. It is my mother-in-law who instilled the goodness of this simple dish to us. It was so filling when you have it for breakfast and run out if the door to catch that ever-crowded city bus in Bangalore and not worry about your strength. Little at that time dud I reflect on the ease of making something sumptuous and making sure that her children are well-fed puts this often on her breakfast list. As my children grew up this same recipe began as soft food and then slowly grew up to be balanced meal and at times pure comfort.

instantpot venpongal
Pongal for the season

Certainly, during the harvest festival, there is the feeling of plenty that is shared. New harvest after months if toil with the sun and soil surely calls for the celebration of the harvest. There is nothing more that you need than a good meal of beans and staple rice to wish well and be happy. The venpongal certainly just does justify this.
Here is the simplest of venpongal recipes from my family to yours. Wait! Since this recipe is from my mother in law let me tell you how she likes to serve it. A large scoop of venpongal, generously sprinkles with cumin, pepper and cashews in ghee is topped with crushed dark brown jaggery. As the heat of the pongal melts the jaggery you have the best to dig in. The ven pongal tastes brilliant with pongal kootu. It also works well with a coconut-based chutney and a quick sambhar. 

My addition to this recipe.

Of course, I have meddled with this too!!
I like the ease of making the pongal in the pressure cooker or as I have newly discovered the instant pot.  The frequent change that I do to the recipe is in the tempered spices. I love to add a few curry leaves roasted in ghee to this venpongal. Pretty much I follow the recipe so here it is. 

Don’t miss to let us know what you think of this recipe or to share a picture with us when you make the same. Happy Pongal to all my readers. 

Pongal made for the harvest festival

This recipe is updated with additional content and new images to improve your experience with the readership in partnership with foodies redoing old post. Hope you enjoy the recipe.


Wholesome venpongal.


A timeless wholesome meal.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Breakfast, Main Dish, Traditional
Cuisine Indian, Kids choice, One pot, South indian, tamilnadu, Vegetarian
Servings 6 people


to pressure cook / instant pot

  • 1 cup rice raw, white, short grain
  • 1 cup Moong dal skinned spilt green gram, pasiparippu.
  • 6 cups Water drinking quality
  • salt to taste

for the spice tempering

  • 1 tbsp ghee / clarified butter use coconut oil if vegan.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1 sprig curryleaves
  • 1 pinch Asafoetida


to cook in the pressure cooker.

  • Wash, drain and set the rice aside.
  • Set the pressure cooker pan on medium heat.
  • Into a dry pressure cooker pan add the clean split moong bean and roast till it is aromatic.
  • Add the washed rice and stir till the rice and beans look evenly mixed. Add the water and salt.
  • Close the pressure cooker and set for 4 whistles.
  • Wait till the pressure pan cools and pressure releases naturally. This takes about 20 minutes.
  • Open the pressure pan when the steam releases, be careful. Mix and mash the mix gently. Cover and set-aside.

For the spice tempering

  • Set a small frying pan on medium heat and add the ghee to it.
  • When the ghee melts add the cumin and let it sizzle.
  • Now, add the crushed pepper, curry leaves and cashew nuts and saute till the cashew nuts are golden.
  • Remove and add a pinch of asafoetida.
  • Add this mix to the cooked rice beans mix and stir well.
  • The venongal is now ready to serve.


In the instant pot. 

The venpongal is an easy recipe to make in the instant pot as a one pot meal.
Set the instant pot on saute mode and add the ghee to it.
Add the cumin and crushed black pepper to the ghee and let it sizzle. 
Add the cashews and curry leaves too and as they turn golden add the moong dal and fry for a minute.
Now add the washed rice, the water and salt. Mix well
Close the lid and set the pressure value to sealing mode.
Set for pressure cooking  ( manual) for 7 minutes.
Wait for natural pressure release and open the lid carefully. 
Mash the rice gently as you mix. 
Add a pinch of asafoetida and mix well. 
The pongal is ready to serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Uma Srinivas
Uma Srinivas
3 years ago

This is my all-time favorite breakfast! Ven Pongal and coconut chutney are best together 🙂

Poonam Bachhav
3 years ago

This is such a simple yet healthy dish. Would love pairing venpongal with sambar and spicy coconut chutney for a soulful weekend Breakfast.

3 years ago

huge ven pongal fans here.. this 1:1 rice:moong is so new to me, I wouldnt mind trying a batch just to latch onto the comfort food bandwagon.. and yes, lol øn the packed BTS (Bangalore Transport system) buses – where they would rarely stop at the bus stop, right ? too #nostalgic !!

Mayuri Patel
3 years ago

Venpongal, moong dal khichdi, however it is prepared, its one of the first semi solid food that is given to babies. I love the flavor of venpongal. Like your one to one measurement, as that makes sure we get enough protein from the lentils.

3 years ago
Rating :

This looks absolutely comforting Seema. I do not add so much water, but will try next time.

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