Some time ago my colleague, Seema had invited us for her daughter's birthday party. The catering was sourced from Adyar Ananda Bhavan, popularly called A2B. I had never had their fresh snacks especially the Tamil flavors. I had tried the sweets during Diwali time and did not find them exceptional, my taste buds being pampered by Kailash, Jhama's and American Dryfruits from childhood in Mumbai. Yes I am a snob when it comes to sweets may be. So when Ravi, Anitha's husband recommended that I try the Khara pongal seeing it was not on my plate. I had to try as the recommendation came from a foodie. Also I had not picked it as it looked more like upma than the Karnataka Pongal that I know.
I did take a scoop which got served like a ball on the plate and was supposed to be enjoyed with sambhar. One morsel and I loved it! The aroma of pure ghee, cumin and asafoetida were awesome. Instantly all my colleagues started teasing me about when I would try it out at home.
It took a while but when I had to make pongal yesterday to celebrate Sankrat I made this lovely Khara pongal just like Adyar Ananda Bhavan. Wonderfully fragrant and starchy satisfaction it did give.
1/2 cup moong dal (yellow split)
1 cup basmati/ sona masuri rice or rice rava
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
10-15 pepper corns
1 tablespoon ghee
salt to taste
In a pressure cooker wash the dal first. Then add the rice and wash thoroughly. Once washed add 2-3 glasses of water and cook for 4 whistles. Put off heat and let it cool.
After the pressure cooker is opened. Prepare the tadka. Heat ghee till smoking point add the cumin and fry till brown and aroma permeates the atmosphere be careful not to char. Add the pepper corns and asafoetida. Now add the tadka to the cooked dal and rice mix. Mash with the back of the ladle till you get a rava like consistency. To achieve this add little water or more ghee. The pongal should resemble upma and allow to be scooped and served in a mudde or ball.
Serve this hot pongal with sambhar, I made Vangi/ Badnekai Sambhar to go with it. Even if pongal means baby food to most just try this one it is a very satisfying meal.