Khara Pongal

Khara Pongal Ven Ghee Khichdi moong dal rice

I spent 10 hours travelling by train yesterday. 10 long HOURS.
Can you imagine starting out at 5am, travelling by train for 5 hours and then spending a few hours at your destination and then travelling 5 hours in train coming back and then charging through the horrible HORRIBLE traffic home and having to cook your own dinner???

5am is close to mid night for me. I'm so not a morning person.

I was exhausted. I was more than exhausted, I don't even have a word for it. It was late to order food or parcel something from a restaurant. I was hungry and I had to eat. At times like this, come out the simplest recipes where I don't need to do a thing and magically delicious food appears on the table.

Khara Pongal is one of those magic recipes. Pongal is a South Indian version of Khichdi. To make khara pongal, all you need to do is dump rice, moong dal, water, ginger and a few other things into the rice cooker or pressure cooker and let it do its thing. And VOILA! 15-20 mins later, food on your table. It is just as simple as that.

Khara Pongal Ven Ghee Khichdi moong dal rice

So I washed and soaked my rice and moong dal as soon as I walked into the house. You can skip the soaking and directly cook it together but it may take you a little more time than what I took. Soaking for at least 30 minutes is recommended.

I'd never had Pongal until I moved to Bangalore. I'd never eaten rice for breakfast either until I moved to Bangalore. Then in the office cafeteria, I had khara pongal with masala vada for the first time for breakfast and it was love at first bite. Since then, I've been making it when ever I'm short of time.

Khara Pongal Ven Ghee Khichdi moong dal rice

Pongal is meant to be mushy, so don't worry about overcooking it. In fact, go ahead overcook it. This is why is generally fed to little kids as it needs no chewing. If serving it to kids, do not add the peppercorns and the chilli. 

Pongal is a vegan dish, but what takes it to a totally different level is the Ghee or clarified butter tempering that's poured over it. I say, the more the ghee, the better it tastes. If you are not vegan, don't forget this step. 

Khara Pongal

Khara Pongal Ven Ghee Khichdi moong dal riceKhara Pongal is a quick dish made by cooking together rice and moong dal with ginger and tempered with ghee.

Recipe Type:  Main
Cuisine:            South Indian
Prep Time:     30 minutes
Cook time:     30 minutes
Yield:                Serves 2


1/2 cup Rice (uncooked)
1/2 cup Moong Dal (uncooked)
3 cups Water 1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns
3/4" Ginger
1/2 tsp of Turmeric Powder
Salt to taste
3-4 tsp Ghee
8-10 Curry Leaves
1 tsp Cumin seeds



Wash the rice and dal and keep aside for 30 minutes.
Add the washed rice and dal to a pressure cooker with the water, turmeric powder, black peppercorns, grated or sliced ginger and salt.
Pressure cook for 15 minutes or for 5-6 whistles. Pongal is meant to be mushy so don't worry about overcooking it.
Heat the ghee in a small pan and add cumin seeds to it.
Once they brown slightly, turn off the heat and add the curry leaves.
Pour this tempering over the khara pongal and mix well.
Serve hot with some raita


  1. oooh... I love savory pongal and have tried making it many times. AND I have miserably failed at achieving the authentic taste. Your recipe sounds yummy- will make it this time. :)

    1. Oh do try it out and let me know if this one worked. This is one of my go-to recipes when I'm lazy to cook and wash the dishes.