Goodbye Gluten: Pongal

Pongal is a multi-day Hindu Harvest Festival of South India, particularly in the Tamil community.

The festival lasts from Jan. 15-18 and dedicated to the sun god. According to tradition it marks the end of the winter months and welcomes the warm summer months to come.The festival is named after the traditional dish pongal which means to boil and overflow. Pongal is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the tamil people of India. Tamil being one of the oldest languages in the world, pongals is considered to be one of the oldest traditions in the world.

This dish is originally prepared with freshly harvested rice, boiled in milk and jaggery. Cardamom, cashews and lavish amounts of ghee is added to the rice to bring the flavors together. Pongal is most commonly paired with vada. Vada is a dish that was popular among ancient Tamils during 100BC to 300 AD and is still one of the most sought out comfort fried snack in India. There are many variations of this snack, the one I have prepared is made with split black gram.



  • 1 cup rice
  • ½ cup moong dhal(split green lentil)  
  • 1 ½ cup jaggery
  • Cardamon 6 pods
  • ¼ cup cashews 
  • ¼ cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • ⅛ cup Raisins
  • ⅔ cup Milk


  • 1 cup Split Black Gram lentil
  • ½ cup cabbage
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt as needed
  • 2 green chilies 
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 500 ml Coconut oil



  • Pressure cook the rice and lentils along with jaggery in 4 ½ cups of water
  • Once cooked add milk and stir well on a low flame
  • While that cooks saute cashews and raising in the clarified butter
  • Fold the butter mixture into the rice and serve hot
  • For the vada soak all the ingredients in lukewarm water for 30 mins 
  • Coarse grind all the ingredients in a blender
  • Heat the oil in a deep pan
  • Take spoonfuls of batter and deep fry them until golden brown.

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