Rava pongal

Rava pongal

Rava Pongal is a variation of the regular Ven Pongal which is more popular as a breakfast or dinner dish in Tamilnadu. The ingredients are the same except that rice is replaced by Rava or semolina, making it an option for people who do not have rice as their staple.

For the uninitiated, Pongal is a mashed pudding or thick porridge usually made by cooking together some grain with moong dal. It can be either sweet or savory.

Somehow I loved Ven Pongal so much that it was always my first order whenever we went to a restaurant. And I wasn’t even aware that there was something called Rava Pongal 😀 .

The first time I came across Rava Pongal was at my sister’s wedding reception where it was served for dinner. Probably many were trying it for the first time like me 😀  and we got very good reviews for the dish.

After that, I caught hold of a recipe from some cookbook, made my own modifications, and have been preparing this regularly at home. And it comes out perfect every single time.

The thing with Pongal, esp Khara Pongal, or savory Pongal is that you should be a bit generous with ghee/oil. They say it should slide down your mouth.

In restaurants, they use dalda or vanaspati to bring that texture which can be easily replaced with ghee and oil. Though I don’t think twice while ordering at the restaurant, at home my hands never cooperate with me to go beyond my self-set daily oil consumption limit 😀  .

But for this dish, you need to add quite a bit of oil, else the Rava Pongal will remain pasty. At least to the extent that it is not sticky.

These days we get Rava of other grains too, esp millets like ragi. Millet Rava Pongal can also be made using the same recipe and replacing Rava with some millet Rava.

Coconut chutney is by far the best side dish for this Pongal, though we can have it with other coconut-based chutneys too. Sambar also goes well with Rava Pongal.

Over to the recipe….

Rava Pongal
Rava Pongal is a delicious savory breakfast/dinner dish, a bit like a pudding. The main ingredients are Rava or semolina, moong dal (mung beans) and ghee/oil.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Pressure cooking time15 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Dinner
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian, Tamil
Keyword: How to make Rava Pongal at home?, Rava Khara Pongal, Rava Pongal recipe
Servings: 2 people
Author: Hema Magesh
  • 1 cup Rava (Sooji/Semolina)
  • ¼ cup moong dal (split yellow moong bean)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2-3 tsps ghee (or as needed)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small piece of ginger (finely chopped)
  • a big pinch of hing/asafoetida
  • a few cashew nuts
  • a few curry leaves
  • salt as needed
  • Wash the moong dal, lightly fry in ½tsp of ghee, add 1 cup of water, and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
    Rava pongal prep step 1
  • Once cooled, mash it as much as possible with a masher or ladle and add 3 cups of water to it. Keep aside.
  • Keep the other ingredients ready. Coarsely pound the pepper and cumin in a motor and pestle.
  • In a pan take 2 tbsp oil and fry the cashews to golden brown. Next, add the ginger and curry leaves and then the crushed pepper-cumin and hing. Fry for a few seconds.
    Rava pongal prep step 4
  • Add the moong dal with the water and let it come to a boil. Add salt as needed.
  • When it starts boiling slowly add the rava with constant stirring. Once it is all mixed together, cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed.
  • Add 2-3 tsps of ghee, give it a quick mix and turn off the stove. Serve hot with coconut chutney or sambar.
    Rava pongal prep step 6

Hema’s P.S

  • The moong dal can be cooked in a pan too adding water as needed.
  • In restaurants, the pepper is mostly added whole. But I prefer to coarsely pound it with the cumin as it gives a very good flavor.
  • You can add 1 or 2 green chillies too if you are looking for a spicy Pongal. 
  • I have minimized the usage of ghee and cashew nuts. You can add more if you prefer.
  • Alternatively, you can fry the cashews in ghee and finally add it as a tempering.

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