Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rave(a) Pongal - Expect a 'twist' in the recipe and taste

It has moong dal (standard Pongal/khichdi ingredient) and Rava (also pretty standard), so how different can it be from a regular pongal? Try this recipe out and I am sure you will fall in love with the strong moong dal flavor. If you are looking for a change from the usual pongal but still want that warm & cozy feeling, make this dish.

When nammamma was visiting us last time, she taught me this recipe she had seen in one of the Kannada magazines. Since I don't have the details of the source, I would imagine it was either Sudha or Taranga which she read regularly. She wasn't cooking regularly here as it was an unfamiliar kitchen and when she visited us, I either wanted to pamper her by cooking for her or show off my cooking skills and didn't let her cook every day meals except for the SIL's favorite dishes. When it came to Mysore Pak, Kodubale or Vangi bhath all that the SIL had to do was just open his mouth and say, "it has been a long time since I ate it" and the next minute I would have my mother literally on my back pestering me to give her the ingredients and clear out of the kitchen :-). If I insisted on hanging around on the pretext of watching her technique, she would make sure she had complete control of the spatula (nothing works without it, right?) and sat by the stove and delegated me to my rightful role of a sous chef 'grind this in the mixie' or 'chop this vegetable' kind of menial tasks while she donned her chef cap. This pongal/khichdi was one of the few dishes she made all by herself as she didn't think I was ready to cook it well so the Moong dal cooked thoroughly :-). What I wouldn't give to have those days back again..
Last week during Sankranthi habba, I was thinking of amma more than I usually do, it happens sometimes.. given the physical distance that separates us, the inability to run and sit by her every time I want to makes it harder. I made the ellu bella, shared it with a few friends here and brother who lives nearby and on the day of Sankranthi, I couldn't think of anything to make. Finally I ended up with two dishes with strong ties to nammamma and enjoyed eating them while thinking of her.

What do you need to make Rave Pongal?
1/2 cup Moong dal/Hesaru Bele/Pesara pappu
3/4 cup upma rava
1 inch piece ginger
2-3 green chilies (adjust to taste)
10-12 curry leaves
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp mustard
1/2 Tsp black pepper
5-7 cups water - depends on the consistency you want
2 Tblsp dry coconut/kobbari grated
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tsp ghee
2 Tsp oil
6-8 cashews
How do you make Rave Pongal? 
  • Soak moong dal in water for 45 mins to an hour
  • Roast upma rava on medium flame until it turns light pink (3-5 mins)
  • Wash, drain the soaked moong dal.
  • Grind moong dal, green chilies, ginger and salt with 1 cup of water. 
  • Heat a big pan, add the grated dry coconut and roast for a minute or so until it turns light pink and gives out the aroma. Keep aside. 
  • Add ghee + oil and let it heat up.
  • Add mustard, when it splutters, add cashews and let roast for a minute. 
  • Add coarsely crushed pepper and cumin, roast for 15 seconds.
  • Add curry leaves.
  • Add the ground moong dal paste to the pan stirring continuously.
  • Add 2 more cups of water, reduce the heat to low and continue stirring for 4-5 minutes until moong dal turns into a soft pulp and loses the raw smell.
  • Add the remaining water, mix it and let it come to a gentle boil.
  • Add the roasted rava in a steady stream continuosuly stirring.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 minutes until rava absorbs the water and cooks fluffy.
  • Sprinkle roasted coconut on top and serve warm with a chutney, sambar or raita. 
  • Unlike regular pongals or khichdi, Moong dal is not pre cooked here but that is what gives it the distinct taste. Make sure you cook it on slow flame until the raw smell is gone. 
  • Take care to not let lumps form when you add the upma rava, reduce heat to low before streaming the roasted rava. 
  • I added part of the seasoning on top for photos :-), you can either do that or follow the recipe above and start with the seasoning.


Lakshmi Grandhim said...

I have a version of this on my blog. We love it too. That bowl of pongal looks yummm...

NamsVeni Pothas said...

rawa pongal looks very tasty and healthy . nice dish with colorful pictures. we can try this recipe with rice rawa also.

Harini M said...

Yummy pongal and healthy too