Monday, April 14, 2008

Brown Rice-Barley Pongal With 5 Dals (Brown Rice Porridge With 5 Kinds of Lentils)

Brown Rice and Barley Pongal is a very healthy and delicious food. I make it nonfat (see the directions below) so that individuals can decide to add ghee/butter if they choose.

I love to include barley in everyday cooking as much as possible. Pleasant tasting barley grains are a good source of B vitamins and soluble fiber that helps reduce cholesterol and lowers your risk of heart disease. According to Ayurveda principles, barley is good for the reproductive/urinary tract health especially in women. Barley tea or water is a highly recommended beverage to prevent swollen legs and feet for pregnant women in Southern India.

6-8 Servings


1/2 cup Brown Rice
1/2 cup Barley
1 handful each: Chana Dal, Toor Dal, Masoor Dal, Split Mung Dal with skin, and Red Chori (Karamani) beans
1 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Salt or to taste

2 Tbsp Oil, Ghee or Unsalted Butter
1- 2 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns (Mulaku)
1 Tbsp Whole Cumin Seeds (Jeera)


Roast the dals together except the karamani in a 350 F oven or in a skillet without any oil until fragrant; just lightly golden. Set aside to cool.

Wash thoroughly the rice, barley and karamani together and drain well. Heat 8 cups of fresh water to a boil and stir in the rice mixture. Bring to a boil again, reduce heat and simmer until soft, about 30 minutes or the grains are beginning to get tender.

Wash the roasted dals and stir in adding about 1 or 2 cups more boiling water if pongal looks too dry. Cook stirring occasionally until soft  about 30 - 40 minutes. Add more boiling water if necessary to get the right consistency - our family likes the pongal creamy and soft.

Coarsely grind the cumin and crack the peppercorns coarsely.

Heat the ghee in a small pan with the cumin and black pepper. When the spices sizzle and are browned a little and fragrant, pour over the pongal and mix well. Serve hot with Aviyal, Gothsu, Raita, chutneys or pickles. Enjoy!!

For a nonfat version, toast the spices without any fat until fragrant, cool and grind coarsely. Sprinkle over the pongal and mix well.

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