Perhaps your new favorite bean dish:
Ven Pongal is the South Indian version of Kichdee, but it is spiked with cashews, crushed black peppercorns, cumin and ginger. Just before serving, usli ghee is stirred into the porridge, which mellows the spices and gives the dish a very delicate flavor. Although “Ven Pongal” is prepared in many ordinary households nowadays, it is basically Prasadam, a divine food traditionally prepared in the temple and offered as a sacrifice to the deity. Pongal means cooked.
According to a millennia-old tradition, the rice harvest is celebrated at the end of March / beginning of April by cooking freshly harvested long grain rice.
As soon as the long grain rice comes to a boil, all bystanders chant pongal, pongal. My mother often served this dish on Sundays for brunch, accompanied by spicy-tart sauces.
1. Heat 2 tbsp Usli ghee over medium-high heat in a 4-liter saucepan until hot (about 2 min). Pour in mung beans and roast, stirring, for 2 min. Add long grain rice and continue roasting for 30 sec. Add 3 cups of water and salt and bring to a boil. Stir constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
2. Reduce temperature to medium and simmer gently all together with lid closed for ten minutes. Stir so mixture cooks evenly. Cover saucepan tightly, turn down to lowest heat, and simmer on low for another 10 min.