The history of this very tasty dish dates back to 10th century-that is since the times of Saint-Poet Andal who composed the famous devotional ‘ThiruppAvai’. The masterpiece consisted of 30 lyrics in praise of Lord Mahavishnu. They are sung during the early mornings of Tamil month Margazhi by devotees going round the streets of the town in biting winter cold. Even now, this tradition continues in Tamil Nadu towns. When they finish the bhajan or singing the praise of the almighty, they partake of hot Ven Pongal as prasadam which is offered first to Mahavishnu as Neivedya. Even in Tirumala, Ven Pongal may be the chief item of Neivedya offered to Lord Venkateswara first thing after He wakes up from His divine slumber.
It is tasty and full of nutrition and suitable for all- old and young, the sick and healthy. It sits light on the stomach and at the same time is filling. Though there are many variations in the matter of ingredient composition, I, give in this page, the version my family follows since my grandma’s times.
2 cups Raw rice
¾ cup Moong dal
1 tsp Black pepper
½ tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Turmeric powder
½ tsp Asefedita
1” Ginger cut into tiny bits
Handful curry leaves
¼ cup Ghee
10 nos Cashew nuts cut into bits
Wash the rice and moong dal well together, add 6 cups water, turmeric powder, salt and asafetida and pressure cook for 6-7 whistles.
Then heat a frying pan, drop the ghee, cumin seeds, black pepper, ginger- cashew bits, curry leaves and sauté a little. Drop the rice-dal combine and mix thoroughly.
Se rve hot with coconut chutney.