Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Pongal with Green Pearls

We, Indians could learn so much from Italians when it comes to food marketing, I think. Take for example, – they have risotto, we have pongal. There are thousands of articles, recipes written on risotto. Good, old fashioned risotto, risotto with saffron, risotto with that, risotto with this… the list goes on and on. It’s easy to apply the same thing to pongal. The basic recipe never changes but by adding fresh seasonal produce like fresh peas or asparagus etc, it’s possible to rekindle the interest in centuries-old pongal recipe. Of course we also need excellent writers, poets and photographers to create that harp effect, a swooning, spiritual experience at the mere utterance of “Pongal”. Few movie scenes where the hero adoringly feeds the heroine a spoonful of creamy pongal would also help.

We have golden recipes, excellent technique. What we lack is co-coordinated, full throttle marketing. Inspired tactics used with savvy and creativity could not only resurrect genuine interest plus prestige in the preservation and application of the food traditions, they would also benefit the farmers back in the country, in my view.

Here is my humble effort.

Green Pearls ~ Fresh Peas of Summer

Brimming with that glorious just-off-the vine sweet flavor, the fresh peas of summer make a succulent addition to the classic, creamy pongal recipe. Easy to prepare and full of flavor, pongal with fresh peas make a pleasing meal any time of the day.


1 tablespoon – ghee
1 teaspoon each – black peppercorn, cumin and cloves
8 fresh curry leaves
½ cup – yellow moong dal
1 cup – shelled fresh green peas
1 cup – Sona Masuri rice
6 cups – water
1 teaspoon – salt or to taste

Melt ghee in a big saucepan on medium heat. Coarsely crush peppercorn, cumin and cloves in a mortar or in a spice mill and add to the ghee. Also add the curry leaves. Saute them gently for a minute or so.

Add the yellow moong dal. Continuously mixing, saute the dal to pale-pink color. At this stage add fresh green peas. Cook couple of minutes. Stir in Sona Masuri rice along with water and salt.

Bring the water to a boiling point on high heat. Once the water and rice start to dance, reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer, mixing in-between until the rice is cooked to soft.

Turn off the heat, and add a last spoonful of water (or ghee, if you can afford it healthwise).

Leave to stand for 2-3 minutes then stir. Serve hot with chutney/kurma or yogurt.

Heaven in a Plate:Pongal with Fresh Peas and Peanut Chutney ~ Weekend Supper

Recipe Notes:
All about Sona Masuri Rice – here
Pongal is good with chutneys, pickles, tomato based kurmas, coconut based curries and plain homemade yogurt.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice),Ghee,Moong Dal (Washed),Peas (Bataani),Sona Masuri Rice (Monday June 11, 2007 at 12:31 am- permalink)
Comments (24)

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24 comments for Pongal with Green Pearls »

  1. That’s a lovely variation.Never tried Pongal with those lovely looking pearls.thanks.

    Comment by madhuli — June 11, 2007 @ 1:33 am

  2. I make pongal with mixed vegetables 🙂 so its a full meal. I agree about our not blowing our trumpets hard enough 🙂

    Comment by Raaga — June 11, 2007 @ 2:51 am

  3. I am positively swooning over that photograph of the peas in the pod. Excellent food photography, Indira.

    Comment by SG — June 11, 2007 @ 3:11 am

  4. “Few movie scenes where the hero adoringly feeds the heroine a spoonful of creamy pongal would also help. ” LOL!!

    Indira, that looks lovely as always and wholesome too! I followed your method for cooking brown rice this weekend and for once, they turned out perfect – neither too mushy nor chewy. Thanks so much for your instructions and tips.

    Comment by Mamatha — June 11, 2007 @ 3:50 am

  5. Indira, you’re absolutely right about the need for better marketing 🙂 . These traditional dishes are so delicious, but I see them described atrociously in most restaurant menus. And I totally agree that someone needs to make an Indian foodie movie!

    On a recent trip to Italy I noticed so many commonalities between Indian and Tuscan cuisine, in particular — the love of local vegetables and herbs, the use of chickpea flour to make certain kinds of fritters, the traditional reliance on beans and chickpeas for protein (it was and is the “poor man’s protein,” while meat was always a special-occasion-only treat….). Even the traditional way of making pesto (this isn’t Tuscan, but my point still holds) reminds me so much of the way we grind, say, mint and coriander leaves to make a smooth green chutney….. Most Italian cooking, after all, is simple, honest home cooking (as compared to the more sophisticated/refined French cuisine), so if they can achieve worldwide acclaim, why not us?

    Comment by Preeta — June 11, 2007 @ 5:16 am

  6. its true what you said. 🙂
    Indian food is so diverse that we have almost everything here and marketing needs to be done for such beautiful cuisine. 🙂
    luv ur shot btw. 🙂
    and i somehow imageined u made pongal with broken rice 😉

    Comment by anusharaji — June 11, 2007 @ 6:26 am

  7. Indira – this looks delicious. I recently tried a Madhur Jaffrey recipe for Khichri, which I really enjoyed – but I’m curious to try this where the rice and dal remain distinct.

    I suspect it won’t be long before Indian cuisine surpasses Italian and is all the rage. I’ve long had an affection for all things Italian, but over the last year or so I’ve all but foresaken Italian recipes in favor of Indian (and I’m usually on the trailing edge of trends 🙂 ). Indian food has one huge marketing tool that Italian food is lacking (at least in English) – the Indian food blogs!

    Comment by Cathy — June 11, 2007 @ 7:19 am

  8. “..Few movie scenes where the hero adoringly feeds the heroine a spoonful of creamy pongal would also help.” you did crack me up 🙂 Beautiful photograph!

    Comment by Mishmash! — June 11, 2007 @ 8:52 am

  9. Great photo, Indira. As you said , we lack in presenting our recipes to the world. We have lots of goodies, all we lack is marketing strategies.

    Comment by Lakshmiammal — June 11, 2007 @ 9:01 am

  10. I agree with you Indira.When I first saw risotto being prepared on TV shows in US,I thought,”that looks like pongal” Our country has so many variatons in such a small regions as in one district of one state..I think fodd bloggers like you do put in so much of your time to put ot our best but simple recipes to the world and say,”come on,taste our food and revel in it!”:)

    Comment by Vini K — June 11, 2007 @ 9:09 am

  11. The pea pod looks gorgeous! This looks and sounds great. Gotta give it a try!

    The key to make something popular in the U.S is to get the movie stars or rock stars to love it. Rest is history. Have Brad Pitt or Richard Gere enjoy a bowlful and before you know it, the entire western world will be devouring it like Risotto! 🙂

    Comment by archana — June 11, 2007 @ 9:15 am

  12. Indira – I think this is the best foodie article/blog I read in recent times complete with great photographs. I have iterated it many times but allow me to state once more – the passion you bring to the table is appallingly great as seen by each word narrated here. And just for that you are one of the few people I respect and try to emulate you. Still, I think my words are an understatement of who you are – I am just glad I know you 🙂


    Comment by Mythili — June 11, 2007 @ 10:13 am

  13. I agree with you. Even though there is a fair amount of popularity to Indian foods, it is only those exotic ‘curries’ or naan (Indian flat bread?!) that grab the limelight. Everyday meals like pongal or poha or upma take backseat.

    Comment by Suganya — June 11, 2007 @ 10:48 am

  14. I cannot cannot agreee more with you… Yes yes yes we need marketing for our food outside India. Just like the hype with italian.

    We need someone like Giada in FoodTV to say “Crisp peppery lemony citrusy smooth smoky” all at the same time 🙂

    Comment by Revathi — June 11, 2007 @ 11:25 am

  15. Hi Indira, the ‘pearls’ look very much ‘wearable’ 😉
    dish looks yummy! I noticed you placed some sort of Chakra. It looks interesting…very temple-like 🙂

    Comment by Vani — June 11, 2007 @ 5:07 pm

  16. Hey Indira .. It looks more like pulagam to me.

    Comment by Smitha — June 11, 2007 @ 5:49 pm

  17. hehe…this looks yum (as ever) and did you know that if foods are presented with high faultin langauge they sell better in hotels than when with simple about calling it “Pongal de la peas” ? hehe..sorry for being so geeky 😀

    Comment by disha — June 11, 2007 @ 7:29 pm

  18. Pongal or khichdi is indeed best compared to risotto, ours is only much more nutritionally balanced due to the added protein power from Dals / lentils. The bit about ‘marketing through movies’ was too funny!

    Comment by Nandita — June 11, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

  19. […] Indira has an easy-to-make recipe for pongal with green peas. […]

    Pingback by DesiPundit » Archives » Pongal recipe — June 13, 2007 @ 12:21 pm

  20. That looks absolutely delicious. This time of year, when wonderfully fresh peas are plentiful, I’m always looking for something delightful to do with them. You’ve giben me a new idea.


    Comment by almost vegetarian — June 20, 2007 @ 7:53 am

  21. hi indira,thank u so much

    Comment by anu — June 24, 2007 @ 9:29 pm

  22. Hi Indira

    The dish tasted great. You may want to add the note in your recipe that if this is cooked in a pressure cooker, much less water is required. I unthinkingly followed the recipe and added 6 cups water- the dish turned out semi-liquid.

    Comment by Nidhi — January 3, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

  23. Hi Indira

    Funny that the last comment was by me, more than two years ago. last time I just added garam masala instead of the spices listed. This time I used a little less than 1 tsp each of peppercorns, cloves and cumin. It was really hot. I suggest decreasing either the pepper or cloves or both.


    Comment by Nidhi — September 23, 2011 @ 11:17 pm

  24. Indira , I love the way you write , It always brings a smile and is refreshing. the best way to a relax and read is to visit your blog. Miss talking to you. Hope you and vijay are doing fine. Warm Hugs from us !

    Comment by Dee — May 18, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

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