Pongal is considered tridhatus samya, balances all three doshas: Vāta, Pitta and Kapha. It is light to digest, favourable for all seasons, suitable for any time of day. May be consumed twice in a week.

Traditionally served with tamarind gojju or chutney.  Kaseri bāth or fruit can also be served to compliment this dish.

It is highly recommended to use white rice while making Pongal as other types of rice may change flavour and consistency.

Preparation time – 40 minutes

Serves 4 – 6



1 cup/200g white basmati/sona masoori rice

1 cup/200g moong dāl, split

10 cups/2½-litres water

2¼ flat tsp fine rock salt

1 cup/80g dried shredded coconut

¼ cup finely chopped coriander


½ cup/125ml melted ghee

1 heaped tsp whole black peppercorns

1½ tsp heaped cumin seeds

¼ heaped tsp turmeric powder

¼ flat tsp asafoetida powder

20 fresh curry leaves


In a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, dry-fry rice and dāl, stirring continuously to prevent from burning.

Dry fry until rice and dāl are hot to touch – approximately 5 minutes.

Wash rice and dāl several times until water runs clear – then drain.

Return to stove, add the water, increase heat to high and bring up to boil. Lower to medium-high heat and rapidly simmer for approximately 20 minutes. May need to add more water, depending on preferred consistency of your pongal.

While waiting for the rice and dāl to cook, roughly grind peppercorns in a mortar and pestle.

Measure remaining spices for the voggarane and chop the fresh coriander.  Set aside.

When the rice and dāl have cooked, turn off heat and stir in salt, dried coconut and fresh coriander.

Prepare the voggarane 

Heat a small pan/bandalei over medium-heat, add the ghee and roughly ground peppercorns. Stir once, allow the ghee to heat and the peppercorns to fry – approximately 2 minutes.

Turn off the heat and quickly add cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric and curry leaves – in this order.

Allow to fry for 30 seconds, swishing the pan around, allowing spices to fry evenly.

Pour the voggarane into the rice and dāl mixture, mixing well.

Allow to sit for 15 minutes for the flavours to be absorbed before serving.