Khara Pongal or savoury Pongal is another form of moong dal khichdi that we have in the North. In my home, this khichdi was normally consumed when someone was unwell, especially for indigestion. But, there is also something warm, loving and comforting about khichdi redolent with a ghee and cumin tadka for me. I can have it with raita or curd and with pickle or even sometimes piping hot as it is.
The South Indian style Pongal is delicious too. I have had it in the darshinis in Bangalore with raita and some namkeen. At home, I cook it for breakfast. It really is way too simple. Here is the easy recipe:
1/2 cup yellow Moong Dal
1.5 cups rice (I use the local Sona Masoori rice)
Water 4 cups
Salt to taste
For the seasoning:
3 tbsp. ghee/clarified butter
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
1 tsp coarsely pounded black pepper
1-2 sprigs curry leaves
1 tbsp. finely chopped/grated ginger
Fried cashews for garnish
Cook the washed dal and rice along with salt and water in a Pressure cooker till well cooked. Let the pressure release. The pongal must be mushy. To serve, heat ghee in a tadka pan, add in the jeera and let it sputter. Add in the ginger, pepper and curry leaves and cook for a minute. Now tip in on the Pongal, garnish with cashews and serve piping hot with raita or sambar as you prefer. Always have it piping hot. It is delicious.
P.S: Authentic recipe calls for dry roasting/frying of dal before cooking it as my friend, Zephyr, pointed out.