Khara Pongal


  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/4 cup split yellow moong dal (lentils)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper corns
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1-2 green chilies, finely chopped (adjust to your spice preference)
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1/4 cup cashews or peanuts (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


  1. Wash the rice and lentils together under running water. Drain and set them aside.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or pressure cooker, heat the ghee over medium heat.
  3. Add cumin seeds and black peppercorns. Sauté for a minute until they start to splutter.
  4. Add grated ginger, chopped green chilies, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Sauté for another minute.
  5. If you’re using cashews or peanuts, add them at this point and fry until they turn golden brown.
  6. Add the washed rice and lentils to the pot and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add salt to taste and about 4 cups of water. Stir well.
  8. If using a pressure cooker, close the lid and cook for 4-5 whistles, or until the rice and lentils are well cooked and mushy. If using a regular pot, cover it and cook on medium-low heat until the rice and lentils are soft and well-cooked, adding more water if necessary.
  9. Once the Pongal is cooked, give it a good stir to blend everything together. You can adjust the consistency by adding more hot water if needed.
  10. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and a little ghee if desired.

Khara Pongal is typically served hot and is delicious on its own or with coconut chutney and/or sambar. It’s a hearty and satisfying dish often enjoyed for breakfast or lunch in South India.