Thursday, December 24, 2015

Vegetable Pongal

  The following article giving a  new recipe from me appeared in the  `Chef`s corner`  section  of ` GNC Connect`, a magazine of the Gandhi Nagar Club, Chennai.                                                   

                                           My friends know my abiding interest in cooking. From being a Sunday cook when my wife was alive, I have now graduated to be a regular cook, dabbling in the kitchen almost every day.
 I occasionally  experiment with new dishes. Here is one such dish:

Venn  Pongal is a popular breakfast item among Tamilians. Hot Idliies, Medu Vadas and Pongal are guaranteed to be available in any restaurants in the mornings. But I discovered a recipe which can upgrade the Pongal  to a main course item during lunch or dinner. I will call it the `Vegetable Pongal`. Until I experimented with it I had never heard of Vegetable Pongal. The inspiration to try the experiment  came when I was savouring the tasty and sumptuous `Swaminarayan Kichdi` served in the Swaminarayan temple in Ahmedabad.

 Here is my recipe for this delicious item which my guests enjoyed  at a lunch I hosted recently. Readers are welcome to try this simple recipe & enjoy! 


Rice-  1 cup; 
Moong Dal (Pasi paruppu)- half cup;
Vegetables:  150grms  each of the following vegetables: Beans, Carrots, Brinjal, Tomato, Potato (3 or4 medium size), White Pumpkin. ( Avoid onion or capsicum which are likely to distort the Pongal flavour)
Black pepper powder- 2 or 3 tps
Turmeric powder- 1tps
Black pepper ( whole) 1 tps
Cashnew nut -  cut into pieces-  100 grms
Currey leaves
Ghee – a cup full
Cooking oil- 2tps
Salt to taste

Steps involved:

1.      Mildly rost the Moong Dhal in a pan and mix it with Rice- keep aside

2.      Cut all vegetables into small pieces- Take a cooking pan, add 2 tps of oil and when it is hot add the vegetables one by one , keeping the tomato as the last item. Add the turmeric powder.  Cook the vegetables for about 10 minutes in medium flame

3.        Once the vegetables are reasonably cooked add six cups of water (for one and a half    cups of rice/dhal mixture use six cups of water ie; 1 to 4 proportion)

4.    Once the water comes to a boiling point , add the Rice & Dhal mix.  Before closing the pan add the pepper powder and salt.  Stir the vegetables before closing the pan with the lid.

5.      After 15 to 20  minutes, when rice is well cooked garnish it with whole pepper pieces and cashewnuts roasted in Ghee.

6.      Before removing the pan add the currey leaves and a generous helping of ghee and stir the rice well.

7.      Tastes very good when served hot. Can be taken without any accompaniment or with Raita

             Post script:  I tried another variation of this dish. Preparing  Avial (using black pepper powder instead of green chillies) with plenty of gravy  and Pongal separately and mixed them to create `Avial Pongal` or `PONGAVIAL` as I would like to call it. A meal by itself it tastes very good. Try it.

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