Pongal on the go? Yes, please. But how? Can you cook a dish perfected over centuries with a great deal of time and effort within minutes? Why not. Think of it as survival of the fastest in this fast-paced world where, no matter how much we want to, we do not get time for the simple luxuries of life like taking our sweet time to cook a meal. So let us save some time cooking our favorite comfort food by letting our best friend take care of it. Well, isn’t instant pot like a best friend? So let us make this delicious, melt-in-your-mouth Pongal with our Instant Pot Pongal recipe.
Pongal is like a savory South Indian porridge that people usually eat for breakfast. It is a Tamil dish that is usually associated with the Pongal harvest festival and is very popular in South India and Sri Lanka. This dish is like kheer or khichadi, or better, like a merger of both these iconic dishes. However, what makes Pongal stand apart from these sister dishes is the tadka or tempering that makes it fragrant and flavorful in a very unique way. The tempering usually consists of South Indian staple ingredients like asafoetida, curry leaves, cashews, and chilies. However, regionally, you can find many variations. Similarly, there are many variations within the recipe itself, for example, Sakkarai Pongal, which is sweet; Ven Pongal, Kozhi Pongal, Sanyasi Pongal, etc. Today we are making a plain, classic Pongal, but in an instant pot to make it quick and easy.
Let’s see what we need first. Have a look at the ingredients.
Ingredients For Instant Pot Pongal Recipe
Grains and legumes
Yellow moong dal and short-grain rice are the base of this dish and contribute to its creamy texture and rich flavor. The combination of moong dal and rice gives the dish its signature creamy and thick consistency. The rice provides a chewy texture, while the dal gives it a nutty flavor.
Salt is a flavor enhancer that brings out the taste of other ingredients. It also helps to balance the flavors of the dish.
Water is essential for cooking grains and legumes to the right consistency. It also helps to blend the flavors of the ingredients. Some people also use milk in place of water.
Ghee is used in two different ways in this recipe. First, a teaspoon of ghee is added to the grains and legumes while they are cooking. This adds a rich buttery flavor to the dish. Second, ghee is used for the tadka / thalipu or tempering, which is a seasoning mix that is added to the dish later. This also adds a depth of flavor and aroma to the dish.
Spices and Herbs
Cumin seeds, ginger, black pepper, green chilies, curry leaves, and asafoetida are used in the tadka and add a complex flavor and aroma to the dish. Cumin seeds provide a nutty and earthy flavor, while ginger adds a zingy and warm taste. Black pepper and green chilies bring heat and spiciness to the dish. Curry leaves add a fragrant and fresh aroma, while asafoetida adds a savory and pungent flavor.
Cashews are used in the tadka and provide a crunchy texture and nutty flavor to the dish.
Step By Step Instructions For Instant Pot Pongal Recipe
To start, turn on the instant pot to sauté mode.
Next, add 1 tbsp of ghee to the pot and let it melt.
After that, add 3 cups of water and 1 tsp of salt to the pot and stir well.
Then cancel the sauté mode and close the lid of the instant pot. Make sure the venting knob is set to sealing.
Select the pressure mode and set the timer for 12 minutes.
Once the cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes. Carefully release any remaining pressure by turning the venting knob to venting.
Then open the lid and give the dal rice mixture a slight mix to blend the ingredients together.
Moving on to the tadka, heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan over medium heat.
Then add 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds.
Fry the tadka ingredients for a minute or two until fragrant and the cashews are slightly golden.
Next, pour the tadka over the dal rice mixture in the instant pot and mix well.
Finally, serve hot with sambar or coconut chutney. Enjoy this quick Instant Pot Pongal Recipe!
To fully enjoy the Instant Pot Pongal recipe, you can try a variety of serving suggestions. For an authentic South Indian meal, you can also serve the Pongal hot with a side of coconut chutney or sambar. Add a burst of flavor and aroma by garnishing the Pongal with some chopped cilantro and a drizzle of ghee. To create a texture contrast, you cdan also pair the Pongal with some crispy papadams, idli, or crunchy fried snacks. For a heartier meal, serve the Pongal with some vegetable curry, dal, or raita on the side.
In order to keep the Instant Pot Pongal fresh and flavorful for longer, proper storage is essential. After allowing the Pongal to cool to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container and seal it tightly. By doing so, you can prevent moisture and air from entering the container, which can lead to bacterial growth and spoilage. It’s important to note that storing Pongal at room temperature for too long can also contribute to spoilage. Therefore, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator and consume it within 3 to 4 days. To reheat the Pongal, simply add a splash of water or milk and warm it up in the microwave or stovetop. By reheating only the amount you need, you can avoid overcooking and maintain the Pongal’s texture and flavor. With proper storage and reheating techniques, you can savor the Instant Pot Pongal recipe for days to come.
Khichdi and Pongal are similar dishes, but they are not exactly the same. While both use rice and lentils, Pongal uses short-grain rice and moong dal, while you can make kitchari with different types of rice and dal.
Short-grain rice is traditionally the best option for Pongal. This type of rice is starchier than long-grain rice, which gives Pongal its creamy and fluffy texture.
Khara Pongal is a savory version of Pongal that typically uses spices like ginger, black pepper, and other seasonings. It is a popular breakfast dish in South India.
No, Upma and Pongal are different dishes. Upma uses semolina or cream of wheat, while Pongal needs rice and lentils.
Boiling milk is an optional step in Pongal, but it can add richness and creaminess to the dish. Milk is typically added after the rice and dal are cooked and then boiled for another few minutes to thicken the mixture.
Yes, Pongal can be a healthy dish. It is high in protein and fiber, which can help keep you full and satisfied. However, the addition of ghee and cashews can also add extra calories and fat, so it’s important to enjoy Pongal in moderation.
Pongal is typically celebrated with the preparation of a sweet dish called Sakkarai Pongal, which is made with rice, jaggery, and milk. It is a traditional offering made to the Hindu deity, Surya.
Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in South India, and the dish Pongal is named after the festival. It is a symbol of prosperity and abundance, as it consists of freshly harvested rice and dal.
The origins of Pongal are unclear, but it is believed to be an ancient dish that has been prepared in South India for centuries.
Pongal is a good source of protein and fiber, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. The exact nutritional value can vary depending on the specific ingredients and preparation method used.
Yes, Pongal can be a good dish for digestion. The combination of rice and lentils can help regulate blood sugar levels and can also promote healthy digestion. Additionally, the use of mild spices and herbs can be soothing to the stomach.
Hi! I’m Ravi Kumar.
I am a husband, father of 4, board certified neurosurgeon, and a lover of South Indian Food!
I created PaattisKitchen.com to memorialize the most delicious foods on earth. South Indian food is easy to make and hard to mess up. So pull up your sleeves, and come with me as we explore the vibrant spices, colors, aromas, and flavors of South Indian culinary tradition.