Happy Pongal to my fellow Tamilians, and to everyone else celebrating your versions in the rest of India. This season is all about giving thanks to the sun and the earth for agricultural abundance during this harvest season.
Traditionally, pongal is made from cooking rice and moong dal into a velvety pudding like texture. And then topped with savory or sweet ingredients to make two versions.
But when you want to make Pongal and mark the festive day, but you just don’t have the time, you make your oatmeal breakfast into pongal! This is my shortcut weekday morning version <3
The essence of a good savory pongal is ghee fried cumin seeds, freshly cracked black pepper, ginger, asafoetida, and curry leaves. And that’s what I topped my oats with. It’s alarmingly easy, and incredibly delicious.
Here’s to an incredibly bountiful 2020, everyone!
2 cups steel cut oats
4 cups water
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp freshly cracked pepper (coarsely cracked)
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 sprigs of curry leaves, ~10-15 leaves
4 tbsps ghee
In a heavy bottomed pan, add 2 cups of steel cut oats in 4 cups of water and place over medium heat. Add the measured salt, and about half of the curry leaves, hand torn into pieces. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and cover. This creates a creamy texture that’s perfect for making pongal. This takes about 10 minutes. Stir the oats around once in a while to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
While the oats are cooking, heat a small pan, and melt 4 tbsps of ghee. Add the measured 1 tsp cumin seeds.
Fry until golden, about 10 seconds, and then add 2 tsps freshly cracked pepper. Also add 1 tsp grated ginger, 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder, and the remaining curry leaves chopped.
Sauté this all together over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until well toasted and aromatic.
Once the oats are cooked, add this mixture in and stir thoroughly.
And there’s the simplified version!
This pongal is luscious, stick to your ribs kind of comfort food with warm spices and incredibly aromatic and nutty ghee running through every bite.