Pulagam | Telegu Ven Pongal / Kitchari | Ghee Pongal

Across India there are many versions of rice cooked with lentils, called various names such as kitchari (and variations on this) and pongal. In Andra Pradesh, it is called Pulagam and is made with short grain rice and mung dal.

It is a very pared-back version of pongal, without any tempering and with only turmeric as spice. But it is surprisingly delicious, mixed with a little ghee and well seasoned.

It is often used as naivedyam in festival such as Sankranti and Varalakshmi Puja.

You might want to browse our 25 or so Kitchari recipes, collected together for you.

Similar dishes include Moth Bean Kitchari, Ven Pongal, Goan Bisibelebath, and  Masoor Sprouts Kitchari.

Browse all of our Kitchari and Pongal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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A Collection of 22 or So Kitchari Recipes

Kitchari is one of the most well known recipes outside of India amongst people intent on keeping healthy and eating healthily. It is really a simple dish based on rice cooked with lentils, although variations on this theme exist. The simplest is the highly flavoursome Parsi version, and the Bengalis, who adore kitchari, take it to spice heaven by layering different flavours using a dozen or so spices.

Kitchari can be cooked with long grain or short grain rice, resulting in different dishes. Basmati rice is preferred by Ayurveda and other practitioners, due to its digestibility. Long grain rice is also the rice of choice in the North of India. The kitchari is quite loose and open, not unlike a pilaf.

In the South, short and medium grained rices are used for Pongal and other variations on Kitchari. This means that the dish is more porridge-like than pilaf-like.

Kitchari can be made thick or soupy. The ratio of lentils to rice can be adjusted to suit your mood, the season and your health. Also, the lentils can be toasted before cooking to make it warming for the body, good for the Winter months.

All styles are delicious, comforting and very nourishing. It is a dish that you return to again and again when feeling overwrought, tired, anxious or unwell. It lightens the body and lifts the spirits.

Please enjoy these different kitchari dishes. Note that kitchari can be spelled a dozen different ways throughout India, and beyond. There are many English alternate spellings — kitchari, kitchadi, khichdi, kitchari, khichri, khichdee, khichadi, khichuri, khichari, kitcheree, kitchree, khichdi,  and many other variants, and each Indian language has it’s own variation e.g. Hindi खिचड़ी khicṛī, Urdu: کھچڑی‎ khicṛī, Oriya: ଖେଚେଡ଼ି khecheṛi, Bengali: খিচুড়ী khichuṛi, Gujarati: ખીચડી khichḍi. And more….

Other Collections include:

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Sakkarai Pongal | Sweet Pongal with Milk

Sakkarai Pongal is short grained, raw rice cooked in jaggery and milk with mung dal, simmered until thick and then garnished with ghee, cashew nuts and raisins. It is not the traditional Milk Pongal cooked completely in milk, but is a definite favourite. It is a distinctive dish from Tamil Nadu, and also cooked in Sri Lanka and some other states in South India.

Pongal is a festival in January where we thank the Sun for the bounty that it brings us. Sakkarai Pongal is cooked in the morning as the sun rises and is presented as part of the devotions. Read more about the Pongal Festival here. And all of our dishes for the Pongal Festival are here.

But Pongal, the dish, can be made at any time. There are sweet versions like this one (called sakkarai), and you might like to try the other versions: Sakkarai Pongal from Jaffna; and Sakkaria Pongal without Milk. Check to see if we have since posted other version. Or explore some Kitchari dishes like Buttery Steamed Kitchari.

And there is are savoury versions, and we have a couple of versions of Ven Pongal. You can see recipes here.

Otherwise, browse all of our Rice dishes, and all of our Indian dishes. You might like to take some time and browse all of our Mid Summer recipes.

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Sakkarai Pongal | Sweet Pongal from Jaffna (without milk)

A dish for Thai Pongal especially, but also wonderful at home.

Pongal is a creamy rice and mung dal dish from South India (and from the Tamil cuisine in Sri Lanka) which can be made savoury and sweet.  In many ways, pongal is similar to the kitchari dish of North India.

Sweet pongal is made at home, but also made as naivedyam and prasadam – gifts to the gods during the different festivals. It is the essential dish for Thai Pongal, a festival each January where families cook sweet pongal over an open fire (if possible).

I love it for breakfast, particularly in the coldness of Mid Winter.

You might like to browse other Pongals, and some Kitcharis. Have a look at our other Naivedyam and Prasadam dishes, and other Thai Pongal dishes. Read about Thai Pongal, or browse other Rice dishes.

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Sweet Pongal | Sakkarai Pongal without Milk

A beautiful sweet dish for Pongal, or any time. Enjoy!

A great dish at any time, sweet, nourishing and comforting, and especially good for the South Indian Thai Pongal Festival and similar festivals in other parts of India, in January. A mixture of rice and mung dal sweetened with jaggery, it is a warming and comforting dish.

You might be looking for other Pongal recipes. There are sweet versions (sakkarai), and you might like to try the others: Sakkarai Pongal from Jaffna; Sakkarai Pongal with Milk and Sakkaria Pongal without Milk.

And there is a savoury version, called Ven Pongal. You can see that one here.

Or browse all of our Kitchadi recipes here, and our Rice recipes here. Have a look at all of our Indian dishes. You might like to take some time and browse all of our Mid Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Sweet Pongal | Sakkarai Pongal without Milk”

How to Make Kitchari in a Thermos

Kitchari is a healing, nourishing and comforting dish for any time of the year. It is particularly good if you are ill, or recovering. If you are under the weather or feeling fragile. If you are sensitive at the moment or going through difficult times. We have a dozen or more different Kitchari/Pongal recipes.

This recipe is a simple kitchari, perfect for lunches. It takes 5 minutes to prepare in the morning, you put it in a thermos, and 4 hours later lunch is ready. It uses a curry powder or paste for convenience and time saving, but you can use your favourite mix of kitchari spices if you prefer. Some suggestions are included, from an Ayurvedic perspective.

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Tamarind Rice | Puliyodharai Saadham

A popular Indian rice dish

Never have there been cuisines that do such a variety of special and wonderful things with rice as many of the Indian Cuisines. The variety is endless. This recipe is for Tamarind Rice. The Iyengar community in Tamil Nadu specialises in this rice and the dish is famous among South Indians. There must be many thousands of variations of this recipe.

Are you after other Mixed Rice recipes? Try Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon Rice, Persian Barberry Saffron Rice, Sri Lankan Yellow Rice with Yoghurt, Carrot Rice, Urad Dal Garlic Rice, Peppered Rice, and Mango Rice.

What about Tamarind in recipes? Try Kottu Rasam, a Tamarind and Lime Dressing, and Amaranth Soup with Tamarind.

Browse all of our Mixed Rice dishes, and all of our general Rice dishes. Checkout all of our Tamarind recipes too. Explore our Indian recipes here, and our Indian Essentials here, or be inspired by our Late Winter recipes.

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A Motherly Gujarati Kitchari

A Beautiful Kitchari

Kitchari is such an essential part of Northern Indian cuisine. This is an aromatic and warming khichari, beautiful in its spicing. In Gujarati meals, khichari is served at the end of a meal. In other parts of India, like Bengal, it is often the centre-piece of the meal. This recipe is adapted from one in My Bombay Kitchen – it is  the author’s mother’s recipe, so it has strong Gujarati influences.

Some North India uses long grain rices like basmati for kitchari. Inn these cases, the kitchari is light with separate rice grains. As you move south, short grained rices are used, like sona masoori, and the kitchari becomes denser with a buttery texture.

Serve this one with yoghurt curry and pickles – eggplant pickles, perhaps.

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Indian Essentials: How to Cook a Simple Kitchari | Parsi Kitchari

The simplest, but awesomely flavoured, kitchari

Kitchari is a comforting, healthy and nutritious dish from the North of India. It has many variations, from simply spiced to heavily spiced. This is a recipe from the Parsi community of India. A simply spiced dish, it is flavoursome and delicious.

Kitchari is generally made from rice cooked with a dal; the dal is usually Mung Dal but it can vary. Kitchari can be made with long grain rice, in which case it is a loose dish, almost like a pilaf, or with a stickier short grain rice, resulting in a more dense, compact dish where the rice and dal have collapsed into each other. This recipe is best made with short grain rice, e.g. sona masori, but if you don’t have short grain rice to hand, it can be made with a longer grain rice.  The texture will be different with longer grained rice – it does not collapse so much when cooked in kitchari – but the result will still be delicious and enjoyable.

You might like to browse the all of our Kitchari Recipes. Or have a look at our Indian Essentials series. Explore all of our Indian recipes here.

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Ven Pongal | Savoury Pongal | South Indian Kitchari | Ghee Pongal

A dish loved throughout South India.

I have been involved in one of the most joyous activities for someone who loves cooking and loves Indian food – testing and proofing Indian Festival recipes for a publication soon to be released.. The publication will outline 15 Indian festivals and associated activities, including traditional foods that are cooked by families during the festival. The publications are aimed at Western audiences, and for media, ideal for when they want more information about Indian traditions. It will also be perfect for those who have lost touch with or are curious about the traditions of India and want more information.

I was involved in testing a number of dishes, including this one which did not make the final cut. Never mind, it is your gain! I hope to bring you the other dishes once the publication is released.

Really, there is nothing like Ven Pongal with hot sambar and some coconut chutney on the side. Add a cup of hot coffee and life is perfect.

There are all sorts of Rice+Mung Dal dishes in India. Try Bisibelebhath, Parsi Kitchari (a very simple kitchari) and Sakkarai Pongal.

Are you looking for Indian Rice recipes? Try Pepper Rice, South Indian Coconut Rice, Balinese Coconut Rice, Masala Lemon or Lime Rice, Tamarind Rice, and Urad Dal Garlic Rice.

Browse all of our Pongal recipes, all of our Kitchari recipes (there are many), and all of our Rice recipes here. Or be inspired by our Late Summer recipes.

For some reading, explore different kinds of rice, and the Difference between Kitchari and Risotto.

Continue reading “Ven Pongal | Savoury Pongal | South Indian Kitchari | Ghee Pongal”