Monday, 14 January 2013

Ven Pongal and Gotsu

This combo of Ven Pongal (savory pongal) and gotsu are easy to make and are eaten as part of healthy breakfast in South India. The pongal itself is mild and is a simple combo of rice and lentils. Thus it is suitable even for a 6 months old. There is nothing more comforting on cold winter mornings than a steaming hot plate of pongal and gotsu. This one often appears on our breakfast table during the winter months. Now for the recipe,

Ven Pongal:
Raw rice - 1 cup 
Moong dal - 1/4 cup 
Grated ginger - 1 teaspoon 
Black peppercorns - 1 teaspoon 
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon 
Ghee - 3 tablespoons 
Bunch of curry leaves for seasoning 
Roasted cashew nuts - 12 (optional, skip if cooking for children under 5 yrs old)
Asafoetida - a pinch
Water - 4 cups 
Salt to taste

Wash rice and moong dal and rinse completely. Cook the rice and moong dal with 6 cups of water and salt in the pressure cooker for 3-4 whistles/15 mins. Transfer the cooked rice into a serving bowl. Heat ghee in a small pan, add peppercorns, cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and cashew nuts. Pour this into cooked rice and mix well. Serve ven pongal with sambar and chutney or aubergine/zucchini gotsu (below).

For Gotsu:
1 medium aubergine/zucchini diced
1 onion chopped
1 tomato diced 
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp channa daal
2 dried red chillies 
1 tsp corriander seeds
1 tsp coconut powder (optional)
a pinch of asafetida, 
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 medium green chili minced (optional) 
1 cup of tamarind juice/1/2 tsp tamarind paste (use a 1" ball of tamarind to extract the juice from) 
1/2 tsp turmeric, 
salt to taste 
a little water 

Dry roast channa dal, dry red chilies and corriander seeds. Cool and powder them with coconut powder in a coffee grinder/mill. You can simply use sambar powder instead of this mixture. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, splutter the mustard seeds in 2 tbsp of oil. Add the asafetida, onions and curry leaves and let the onion turn golden. Add the ginger, green chilli, and turmeric. Add the tomato and fry it a little. Add the aubergine/zucchini. Add the tamarind juice, and barely cover the veggies with water. Add salt. Cook for 5-8 mins in med-low heat until the veggies are cooked and the gravy thickens. This tangy and spicy "curry" goes really well with the ven pongal. You can add black peppercorns to the roast-grind mixture, but, I avoid it since ven pongal has peppercorns.


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