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Ven Pongal with gotsu and banana chips on the side
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5 from 6 votes

Ven Pongal

It's awfully easy to make and you will need just five ingredients you likely already have in your pantry, but Ven Pongal -- a dish made this time of year to celebrate the harvest festival in south India -- is a treat to savor and remember. A vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free recipe.

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course/Rice
Cuisine: Indian (South Indian)
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 265kcal


  • 1 ½ cups rice (use a short-grained rice like sona masoori or use basmati)
  • ¾ cup moong dal (mung lentils -- the tiny, yellow ones)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon black peppercorns (you can use more or less based on your preference)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon ginger (grated)
  • ¼ cup raw cashews (broken into pieces. If nut-free, you can sub the cashews with pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • Salt to taste


  • Crush the peppercorns and cumin seeds coarsely with a mortar and pestle. It's important that you don't grind them too fine -- you want big pieces.
  • Place the rice and beans with six cups of water in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. If using a pressure cooker, turn off the heat after six whistles. In an Instant Pot, let the rice and dal cook for 10 minutes on high pressure, then either wait for it to release, or force-release after 10 minutes.
  • Once the rice and lentils are cooked, they should have a slightly runny, creamy consistency. Stir with a ladle, mashing the rice and lentils a bit, and add a little more water if needed to get to this consistency. If you add more water, do it over medium heat so the rice warms through.
  • Make the tempering by heating the oil in a skillet. Add the cumin seeds, pepper and ginger and stir for a minute.
  • Add the nuts and stir until lightly golden.
  • Add the tempering to the cooked rice and lentils along with the coconut milk and salt to taste. Mix well.
  • Serve hot.


Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 37IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg