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Pongal with toasted cashews in a small bowl

Ven Pongal - A Creamy Rice and Lentil Porridge

  • Author: Shri Repp
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Ven Pongal is a buttery lentil-rice porridge. Moong daal and rice are cooked together and topped with a thalicha (tadka) of ghee infused with black peppercorn, ginger, and curry leaves.


  • 1/2 cup - Short Grain Rice (100g) (Look in notes for substitutes)
  • 1/4 cup - Split Moong Dal (65g)
  • 3 cups - water
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tsp - Ghee, unsalted
  • 2 teaspoons - Kosher Salt
  • 20 - Raw Cashews
  • 5 - 10 - Black Peppercorn, slightly crushed
  • 1- 2 Thai or Serrano Chilies, halved
  • 1 Tbs - Ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp - Cumin Seeds
  • 10-15 Curry Leaves, removed from stem
  • 1/4 tsp Hing or Asafetida (Optional)


  1. Using your hands, rinse the rice and dal to release the excess starches. Drain the cloudy water and repeat this process until the water is nearly clear while rinsing.
  2. In an instant pot, add rice, moong dal, water, 1 tsp ghee, and salt and cook on the rice setting for 12 minutes. Let the instant pot naturally vent for 10 minutes. We intentionally put a large amount of water so the rice and dal are easily mashable. Once cooked, whisk the rice and dal so they meld into one and set aside.
  3. In a medium pan add ghee and cashews and sauté them on medium-low heat until the cashews become golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside the cashews while leaving the ghee behind in the pan.
  4. Make tadka (tempering): Add crushed peppercorn, ginger, cumin seeds, asafetida, and curry leaves to the ghee remaining in the pan and sauté on medium heat for ~1 minute or until the cumin seeds start to dance in the ghee and release their aromatic scent. 
  5. Pour tadka over the pongal and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Taste the pongal and add additional salt as required. 
  6. Top pongal with cashews and enjoy on its own or with a side of sambar and coconut chutney.


  • Look at this blog post for dal variety alternatives
  • You can alternatively use basmati rice or long grain rice for your pongal you may need to add an additional 1 cup of water. 
  • If the pongal is too watery, simmer the pongal in the instant pot until the water evaporates and the pongal is creamy. If the pongal still has grains of rice and lentils that haven't melded, add 1/4 cup of water at a time and allow the pongal to boil until soft enough, then whisk to emulsify.
  • To reheat the pongal add a bit of water to the pongal and heat on stovetop or in the microwave
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: Instant Pot Ven Pongal