A delicious mix of rice and lentils, this Ven Pongal is made so well in the Instant Pot! Laced with ghee and served topped with cashews and tadka, this one is a keeper!
Reprinted with permission from The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook, copyright © 2018 by Archana Mundhe. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Winter is around the corner and all I crave is bowls full of warm delicious breakfast recipes and one pot dinners. While there are a lot of options like khichdi and soups that make an appearance on the dinner menu; Ven Pongal is something I have added recently to the menu!
In South India, this satisfying tiffin dish is eaten for breakfast, but it can also be enjoyed as part of lunch or dinner. The rice and lentils are generously seasoned with curry leaves, cumin seeds, black pepper, and hing. Served piping hot with freshly made coconut chutney or Sambar, this ghee-laced dish makes a delightful lazy weekend brunch.
I have been making this dish in the pressure cooker for a few months; but I moved to making it in the Instant Pot since I saw it in my friend Archana Mundhe's cookbook The Essential Indian Instant Pot. An easy to make recipe made super amazing by the Instant Pot, I have been hooked on to this now!
Talking about the cookbook, Archana asked me to review the book and I was delighted. She has a wonderful blog and now this book is out. I got my copy and loved every bit of it. All the recipes in the book are easy to understand and precise! If you have not got a copy yet, you must get one here.
Plus, I am hosting a giveaway on Instagram soon. Look out for it on my handle @herbivorecucina!
Why make Ven Pongal in the Instant Pot?
A good bowl of Ven Pongal is perfect for breakfast, brunch or dinner! The Instant pot makes a super creamy version of the lentil and rice. With the right proportions; the pongal will not stick to the base and not burn. Plus, every grain will be cooked evenly.
Use the low-pressure Rice setting here so that the rice and lentils are cooked soft and have a lighter texture. The recipe comes together quickly and when it is served drizzled with ghee; it is a wholesome breakfast or dinner!
The best part of the recipe is that it needs just one pot to make everything from the tadka to the final product. The recipe calls for roasting the cashews and the tadka in the pot. Then the pongal is made in the same pot. So the flavors from the ghee automatically come through in the pongal!
If you are an Instant Pot lover like me; you MUST try these:
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Home-made Ghee using Unsalted Butter
- Peanut Tofu Curry with Rice
- Vegetarian Pho
Coming back to the recipe, there are a few variations you can make to this one. Start with a rice that you have easily available. Any short rice will work. Moong dal is commonly found in most Indian stores and is required for the recipe.
If you LOVE cashews, you can add more on top! I would strongly suggest that you add the ginger. It gives the recipe a delicious flavor that is unmatched! Last, use neutral vegetable oil or coconut oil for a Vegan version.
With all the information here, I hope you make this really soon! Plus, watch out for the giveaway on my Instagram handle!
Short-grain white rice (such as Ambe Mohar or Kala Jeera) 1 cup
Ghee 4 tbsp
Coarsely chopped raw cashews 2 tbsp
Grated fresh ginger 2 tsp
Cumin seeds 2 tsp
Black peppercorns 1 tsp
Fresh ground black pepper 1 tsp
Curry leaves, chopped 20
Moong dal ½ cup
Salt 2 tsp
Hing (asafetida) ⅛ tsp
Water 4 ½ cups
Measure the rice into a wire-mesh strainer, then rinse under running water for 10 seconds, swishing it around. Drain and set aside.
Select the high 'Sauté' setting on the Instant Pot and heat 1 tablespoon of ghee. Add the cashews and sauté until they start to turn golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the cashews to a small bowl.
Add the remaining 3 tablespoon ghee, grated ginger, cumin seeds, peppercorns, ground pepper, and curry leaves directly to the hot ghee at the bottom edges of the pot and sauté until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Transfer the tadka to the bowl with the cashews and set aside.
Add the moong dal to the now-empty Instant Pot and sauté until toasted, about 1 minute. Add the rice, salt, and hing; pour in the water; and stir to combine.
Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to 'Sealing'. Press the Cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the 'Rice' setting and set the cooking time for 12 minutes at low pressure.
Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot.