Pongal Recipe

Pongal is a South Indian breakfast recipe made from rice and dal, is a great way to start the day. You can pair it with sambar and chutney for a complete gastronomical experience.

Pongal is served as a bland mix of rice and lentils in a bowl. With a smooth porridge-like consistency, the Pongal is freshly made, served piping hot. It is best served with the topping of a tempering of cashews, curry leaves, pepper, and ghee.

It is a simple and easy dish is a popular breakfast dish from South India. It is not very far from Khichdi which is a rice and lentil porridge commonly cooked in the Northern part of India.

Pongal is often served as prasad which is considered as a offering to God in temples of India. It also has a cultural significance during the Pongal festival which falls in mid-January. It is the day when the sun transits into the sign of Capricorn. It is considered an auspicious day in Hindu Mythology across the Indian Subcontinent. It marks the beginning of a 6-month auspicious period called Uttarayana when the days become longer and warmer. It is the same time when winter crops are harvested in India. the freshly harvested crop is offered to God to express gratitude to God for a good harvest. Celebrations are held in the country with regional variations. In parts of Northern and Western India, it is celebrated as Makar Sankranti, in the East, it is called Bihu, and it is called Pedda Panduga in Andhra Pradesh, Sankranti in Karnataka and Thai Pongal in Tamil Nadu. Special dishes are cooked on this day by using the newly harvested grains.

In Tamil Nadu, Thai Pongal is a 4-day festival. The word Pongal means boiling over. Boiling over milk is considered auspicious and signifies prosperity. That’s why on the second day of Pongal, rice and milk are boiled in earthenware and is then allowed to overflow. Everyone shouts “Pongalo Pongal!” which means “May this rice boil over,” while praying for an abundance in harvest, fortune, and prosperity. Jaggery, cashews and roasted moong dal are added to the remnant milk and offered to God as parsad before serving it to the family members.

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Cook Time15 min
  • Total Time20 min
  • Yield6 Plates
  • Serving Size300g
  • Energy131 cal
  • Meta LabelLabel Value
  • Cuisine
    • Indian
  • Course
    • Breakfast
    • Main Course
  • Cooking Method
    • Cutting
    • Steaming
    • Boiling
    • Sauteing


    • 1 cup sona masoori rice
    • 1/2 cup moong dal
    • 3 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
    • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
    • a pinch of asafetida
    • 1 sprig of curry leaves or kadipatta around 8-10 leaves
    • 8-10 cashews halved
    • 1-2 green chilies finely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon salt or as needed
    • 5 cups water


Preparing the spices

  • Wash and rinse the rice and dal using a colander and set aside.

  • Heat a heavy bottom pot.
  • Add ghee.
  • As the ghee heats up, add cumin seeds and black peppercorns.

  • When the cumin seeds start to splutter, add curry leaves, asafoetida, green chilies, ginger, and cashews.
  • As the cashews turn golden brown, add rice and dal and mix well.

  • Saute them for a minute before adding water and salt. Mix well all the ingredients.
  • Close the container and tightly seal it.
  • Mix well and serve immediately with sambar and coconut chutney.


  • Do not skimp on ghee for the best tasting Pongal.
  • In case of a vegan recipe, coconut oil is a good option.
  • Pongal tastes best when had immediately as the porridge thickens quickly.
  • Add water and mix well to bring it back to its original consistency.
  • The amount of water depends on the quantity of Pongal.
  • Use 10-15 tablespoons of water for loosening a small bowl of Pongal.
  • 4 servings per container
  • Serving Size300g
  • Amount per serving
  • Calories131
  • % Daily Value*
  • Total Fat2.43 g3.12%
  • Saturated Fat0.987 g4.94%
  • Trans Fat0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat0.28 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat0.964 g
  • Cholesterol3 mg1%
  • Sodium35 mg1.52%
  • Total Carbohydrate10 g3.64%
  • Dietary Fiber1.3 g4.64%
  • Total Sugars11.83 g
  • Protein2.75 g5.5%
  • Potassium115 mg2.45%