Pongal in pot

Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated by worshiping Sun & earth to show our gratitude for the entire year’s harvests. On this day we all follow the traditional method of cooking rice in pot(s) decorated with ginger sprouts or turmeric sprouts rather than cooking in modern electric cooker or pressure cooker. It is considered auspicious to have boiled over while making pongal (meaning spilling over) which is otherwise impossible.


This tradition is still being followed rigorously every year to signify prosperity & abundance. However you may refer my pongal recipes prepared in pressure cooker for ven pongal using millets and sweet pongal.


Although our relatives prepare various pongal to serve for lunch, I prefer to make ven pongal & sweet pongal on this day. I feel it is convenient for me to serve ven pongal for breakfast and sweet pongal for lunch.


First let us look into the recipe for ven pongal: I used fresh turmeric in here instead of turmeric powder for their amazing anti-inflammatory properties.


It has a wonderful aroma but tastes slightly bitter. Since this is the time we get fresh turmeric I like to use them in as many recipes as possible in this season. You may also find my other recipe using fresh turmeric here.


Time Taken: 30 min.

Yields : 2½ cups


  1. Raw rice (pacharisi) – 1 cup
  2. Green gram lentils (paasi paruppu) – ½ cup
  3. Water – 2 Litres
  4. Salt – 1½ tsp

For tempering #1 :

  1. Any neutral oil (or ghee) – 2 tbsp (30 ml) (I used saffola oil)
  2. Pepper – 1 tsp
  3. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  4. Fresh ginger – a thumb sized
  5. Fresh turmeric – 2 pieces (each 1 inch)

For tempering #2 :

  1. Ghee – 2 tsp
  2. Cashewnuts – 12-15 Nos.
  3. Curry leaves – 2 sprigs


Cooking Method:

  • Heat a pan in low flame and  roast lentils until they get heated up.
  • Wash rice & roasted lentil and discard the water.
  • Again rinse them in 2 Litres of water & keep them immersed in the same water.
  • Heat a cooking pot, pour rinsing water in to the pot and bring it to a boil in high flame.
  • When the water begins to boil over, reduce the flame to low.
  • Pour frothy foamy water out using a ladle.
  • Add rice & lentil into the boiling water and cook in medium flame.
  • Meanwhile prepare the tempering #1 as shown below and pour into the pot.
  • Now cook the rice-lentil mixture (in low flame) covered allowing it get infused with those spices.
  • When the mixture turned mushy, add salt and mix well.
  • Prepare the tempering #2 and mix with pongal.
  • Remove from heat and transfer ven pongal to a hot casserole immediately.
  • Serve hot with coconut chutney & sambar.


Now the recipe for sweet pongal:


Time Taken: 30 min.

Yields : 2¼ cups


  1. Raw rice (pacharisi) – 1 cup
  2. Powdered cane jaggery (vellam) – 1 cup
  3. Water – 1½ Litre
  4. Milk – 1 cup
  5. Cardamom – 2 Nos.
  6. Edible camphor (pachaikarpooram) – a small piece

For tempering:

  1. Ghee – 1 tbsp
  2. Cashew nuts – 10 Nos.
  3. Raisins – 20 Nos.


Cooking Method:

  • Wash rice and discard the water.
  • Now rinse again using 1½ litres of water and keep the rice immersed in the same water.
  • Pour rice-rinsing water & milk (1 cup) into the cooking pot and bring it to a boil in high flame.
  • When the milk begins to boil over, reduce the flame to low.
  • Add rice and cook until mushy in medium flame.
  • Mash rice well with the back of a ladle.
  • Add powdered jaggery and cook in low flame until coagulated.
  • Add powdered cardamom seeds & edible camphor and mix well.
  • Prepare the tempering as shown in “gif” and add into the pot.
  • Mix well and remove from heat.
  • Transfer hot sweet pongal to a hot casserole immediately.
  • Pour hot ghee over sakkarai pongal before serving, if you don’t mind calories !


Our typical breakfast platter on Pongal day consists of idli, medhu vadai, ven pongal, sweet pongal, coconut chutney & sambar.


Our traditional spread for lunch comprises kadamba sambar, avial, red pumpkin sweet poriyal, appalam, medhu vadai, sweet pongal and buttermilk.



98 Comments Add yours

  1. Sounds so inspiring!

    1. Megala says:

      Glad to hear this, thanks!

  2. libarah says:

    Traditional 👍🏻

  3. shalini says:

    Beautifully presented… Wow… How do you do it. I cook rarely and I am extremely messy… Are you on television too?? With your own show or on YouTube??

    1. Megala says:

      Hahaha, I am just a blogger, thanks for all your encouraging words !!

      1. shalini says:

        Please come on Sun TV my mom will love you. Or please make YouTube channel. We all would love to see you

      2. Megala says:

        Aww! Thanks, dear Shalini !! I’m enjoying myself as a blogger, and I’m here to archive my recipes that are most beneficial to me and my extended family. 🙂

      3. shalini says:

        I know Megala, I am hoping one day we can see your preparation on TV or YouTube too

  4. Bhavana says:

    Wow!…your pics are so perfect always made me hungry 😉

    1. Megala says:

      Ahh ! Thanks a lot !!

  5. My Real Dish says:

    Love the presentation! Looks so tasty!

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you !

  6. This is indeed a great recipe. Very well presented as well as beautifully drafted.

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks so much !

  7. kutukamus says:

    That looks so traditionally good 🙂

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you !

  8. Such a pretty way to serve rice Megala! Love the tray pictures with all the diffent dishes together… So colorful!!

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you !

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