Pongal is a traditional dish served mostly during breakfast in Tamilnadu (in south India). Spicy Cracked Wheat Ven Pongal is a healthy variation to my traditional Pongal (which uses rice and lentils). The procedure is the same, I have just substituted cracked wheat/dalia/ broken wheat for the rice.
Yesterday was Krishna Janmashtami (an auspicious day for all Hindus to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna), and we observe a total fast to be broken in the night after a puja to Lord Krishna. Some people who are unable to maintain a complete fast eat fruits and other dishes which do not contain onions, garlic and non-vegetarian food including rice items. I decided to make Cracked wheat ven pongal during lunch as it is filling and does not contain onions or garlic. With coconut chutney on the side, it was a very filling meal.
Cracked wheat is an excellent source of fiber and is very low in fat. A great alternative for diabetics from rice, it has a wonderful texture to it which I love!! You will find this amazing grain in my freezer all the time. I prefer to use this in kichdi (porridge with dalia, chana dal and jaggery) or even in bisibele bath!!
Normally, the proportion of wheat to moong dal is 2:1, but I prefer to make it 1:1. Both cracked wheat and moong dal lentils are high in dietary fiber and low in fat content!! Full of essential vitamins and minerals, this combination of cracked wheat with lentils is a powerhouse of nutrition with a balance of carbohydrates and proteins. So on the days you get tired of eating rice with dal, you can make this one-pot dish and pair it with a salad to make it a complete meal.
Ven pongal/khara pongal is normally served with a coconut chutney and either potato chips or boondis (tiny deep fried gram flour balls) and sometimes sambhar (spicy lentil-vegetable broth).
- ½ cup cracked wheat/broken wheat/dalia
- ½ cup yellow moong dal (yellow split green gram lentils)
- 1 teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, some whole and some crushed
- 2 green chillies/jalapenos, chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated or finely chopped ginger
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 2 teaspoons ghee
- ½ teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- Few curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 tablespoon ghee/clarified butter
- 8 to 10 cashew nuts, split into 2 or chopped or peanuts
- Potato chips
- Spicy Boondis
- Coconut chutney
- Wash and drain the cracked wheat and dal together.
- Heat a pressure pan. Add oil and ghee and once hot, add the cumin seeds, black peppercorns and green chillies.
- Once the cumin starts to sizzle, add the washed and drained dal mixture, grated ginger and turmeric powder.
- Mix well and sauté on medium heat for a few minutes till the wheat-dal mixture glistens with oil.
- Add salt to taste and about 2 to 3 cups of water and mix well.
- Close the pressure pan and heat on high. After the first whistle, lower the heat and cook on low for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let the pressure release.
- Once the pan has cooled, open and mix well with a ladle. By this time, the mixture would have cooked and become thick.
- Add enough water to the consistency you want the pongal to be and taste for salt. Adjust accordingly.
- At this stage, you can add more ghee to make it more rich and flavorful.
- Heat the ghee in a saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and once they start spluttering, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves and add this to the pongal.
- Heat the saucepan again and heat one more tablespoon of ghee to roast the cashew nuts. Once the nuts turn light brown, add to the pongal and mix well.
- Serve steaming cracked wheat pongal with coconut chutney, potato chips, boondis or any other namkeen or savory fried snack.
- Pongal tends to thicken as it cools, so add water accordingly and heat before serving.
- Try not to avoid the ghee as this gives it a lovely flavor and taste. If you want a healthier option, feel free to use only oil making it totally vegan.