Khara pongal recipe
Spicy moong dal rice

Indian festival - Pongal - Sankranti recipe

This Khara pongal recipe is also known as Venn pongal. It is made as part of pongal festival food which is a harvest festival. It is also a popular breakfast food in many south Indian kitchens.

Pongal or Sankranti is celebrated usually on 14th of January every year in India. It is a harvest festival and newly harvested moong dal - split mung bean is used.

You may find a few variations of khara pongal. Dry roasting the moong dal or not roasting is your choice. Roasting adds a little more flavor to the dal.

I make it many times without roasting and that tastes good too. The consistency of pongal is also a personal choice. But it is generally of a soft consistency.

The amount of water will depend on the type of rice and how old or new the rice is.

You may use any white rice for this pongal recipe. Basmati rice is not required.

How to make khara pongal - Ven pongal

Main ingredients for khara pongal

White riceWhite rice
Moong dal - split mung beanMoong dal - split mung bean
Black pepper seedsBlack pepper seeds
Desi ghee - clarified butterDesi ghee - clarified butter
cumin seeds - jeera - zeeracumin seeds - jeera - zeera

Ingredients to serve 2-3 persons

  • Rice - 1 cup
  • Moong dal (split mung beans) - 1/2 cup
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves - 1 tbsp chopped
  • Water - 3 to 4 cups depending on the consistency you want.
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon or to taste

Optional Ingredients

  • Ginger paste  - 1/2 tea spoon
  • Fresh grated coconut - 1 table spoon
  • Green or red chili - 1.

Ingredients for tempering:

  • Ghee(clarified butter) / Oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Jeera (Cumin) seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Black pepper corn - 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch

Optional Ingredients

  • Curry leaves - 4-5
  • Haldi - Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp

Preparation for khara pongal

  1. Chop/slit chili if using
  2. Chop coriander leaves
  3. Heat a pan, add moong dal and roast for 4-5 minutes till you get the aroma (this step is optional).
  4. Wash rice and keep aside.

Cooking khara pongal - ven pongal

  • Heat ghee/oil in a deep, thick bottom pan or pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • When cumin stop crackling, add pepper corns, asafetida, turmeric powder(if adding).
  • Add chopped chili, curry leaves. Fry for 5 seconds.
  • Add ginger paste.
  • Add water, moong dal and washed rice.

If cooking in a pan/ pot

  • Bring to boil. Cook for 10 minute on low flame. Stir in between. Do not cover fully. Rice and dal mix may overflow.
  • When rice and dal are half cooked, add salt, chopped coriander leaves, fresh grated coconut.
  • Cook further till done. Both rice and dal should be cooked soft. Add more water if necessary. Mix well.
  • Switch off the flame once it is cooked soft.

Cover and keep for about 5 minutes and then serve.

If cooking in a pressure cooker

  • After adding water, rice and moong dal, add salt, chopped coriander leaves, fresh grated coconut.
  • Close the cooker lid. Place the weight. Cook  till there are 2 or 3 whistles.
  • Let the cooker cool naturally so that you can remove the weight easily.
  • Mix well.

Khara pongal is ready.

Khara pongal is usually served with coconut chutney or sambar.

You may also serve it hot with a spoonful of ghee, as a meal by itself or with a cucumber or tomato salad and papad.

Tips :

  • You may add more moong dal if you wish. Sometimes I add equal amount of rice and moong dal.
  • A mixture of milk and water can be used for added taste.
  • You can leave out the chili if you wish. The main flavor of khara pongal is of black pepper and cumin seeds.
  • Usually turmeric powder is not added but if you like, you may add 1/4 tsp for color. That does not change the taste.
  • If you are pressure cooking, make tempering. Add all the ingredients and cook as you cook plain steamed rice.
  • The moong dal does not need any extra time to cook.
  • If made for pongal festival, garlic is not added. At other times, you may add 2-3 chopped garlic cloves along with curry leaves.


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