Ven Pongal with Kathrikai Gothsu (Khara Pongal with Eggplant Curry)

Happy Pongal/ Sankranthi!

Pongal is a holiday celebrated in Tamil Nadu on the 14th of January. It is a harvest festival; celebrated all over the country and in Karnataka and other parts it is called Sankranthi. In Karnataka, a snack made of roasted gram, dried coconut pieces (kopra), peanuts, jaggery pieces mixed together. You just cannot stop eating this, once you start. Different parts celebrate it differently. In Gujarat, they have a big kite flying festival. Most foods on that day comprise of rice, lentils, jaggery (brown sugar), sesame seeds and other fruits and vegetables that are harvested at that time of the year including sugar canes. Sugar canes are bought and decorated outside the house. Colourful kolams/ rangoli are drawn outside houses. In Tamil Nadu, farmer paint the horns of cows. It is a colourful sight to behold.

In Tamil Nadu, a dish called pongal is made. There is a savoury dish called Ven Pongal and a sweet dish called Chakkarai Pongal (made with jaggery). The basic dish starts as the same with rice and moong dal; to half of it jaggery is melted through it and the other half you would add ginger, black pepper and cumin. Here is the recipe for the savoury Ven Pongal (which could be called as a south indian khichidi). It is very easy to make and is a healthy vegetarian option. You can serve it with coconut chutney, sambar or just as is. I am serving it with eggplant cooked in spices and tamarind.

Ven Pongal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw rice (I used sona masoori)
  • 1/2 cup yellow moong dal
  • 4 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ghee (If vegan substitute it with oil)
  • 1 tbsp canola/ vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger (do not use paste)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10 cashew nuts
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

Directions

  • Dry roast rice and moong dal separately in a pan. Take care not to burn. Wash and keep aside
  • Add rice, moong dal, water and salt to a pressure cooker or instant pot and pressure cook. Instant pot (5 minutes)
  • Crush cumin and pepper corns
  • Heat ghee and oil, roast cashew nuts and keep aside
  • In the same ghee/oil mixture, add asafoetida, curry leaves, cumin and pepper. Then add ginger and fry for a few second
  • Pour on cooked rice/lentil mixture and mix well
  • Add cashew nuts and serve hot.

Katrikai Gothsu (Eggplant Gothsu)

Eggplant is vegetable we love in our house. It is such a versatile vegetable and can be used in indian, italian, chinese, mediterranean and middle eastern cuisines.

Ingredients

  • 2 cup eggplants- cut into pieces. I used baby eggplants this time but have used the big eggplants too
  • 1 cup small onions- scallions (sambar onions)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 tsp tamarind concentrate (or 1 lime sized tamarind soaked in hot water, squeeze and remove pulp. Use the liquid)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 green chillies- slit
  • 1-2 tsp sambar powder
  • 3 tbsp til oil (indian sesame oil) or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt (and extra to taste)
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Directions

  • Cut eggplant into pieces. Add some salt and let it sit. Rinse and keep aside
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan
  • Add asafoetida, mustard seeds and curry leaves
  • When mustard seeds splutter, add scallions (sambar onions), eggplant and green chillies and fry on low flame for about 10 minutes
  • Add finely chopped tomatoes, tamarind paste, water and cook for a few minutes
  • Eggplant can be mashed at this point. This time I did not mash it but have at previous times
  • Add sambar powder and simmer for a few minutes. If required add a 1/4 cup water and simmer
  • Sprinkle cilantro and mix
  • Serve hot with pongal, idli or dosa

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sanchari Banerjee says:

    Hi Preethi, thanks for this recipe. Tried this today and we loved it. I made brinjal in this style for the 1st time and it was absolutely delicious!

    Like

    1. Thank you, Sanchari. I am glad you liked it. Hope you all are doing well!

      Like

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