When I am too tired some days, I resort to preparing Pongal for dinner. Contrary to what many people say/believe including S, I don’t find Pongal too heavy. Infact everytime Amma gave me a bowl of Pongal for breakfast during school days, I used to feel hungry too early. And thus Pongal was reserved for the weekends. A bowl of piping hot pongal with amma’s special onion chutney tastes divine and I can find my mouth watering with just the thought of it. The husband on the other hand, has been used only to coconut chutney or sambar as a side dish for pongal and the lazy me, found it too much of a task to prepare different chutney varieties for just the both of us. While there is nothing wrong with the traditional rice-moong dal pongal, I was intrigued by this idea of using up thinai/foxtail millet in the form of pongal.
Thanks to my MIL, for introducing me to the different varieties of grains – thinai/foxtail millet and saamai/little millet. These two types of grains are packed with nutrients along with the required carbs and are highly good for health unlike the plain white rice. Both these grains have an acquired taste, but again thanks to my MIL – I was hooked on to the taste right from the first bite. She prepares an awesome dish by cooking either of these grains in gingely oil, black pepper, onion, garlic and greens. The next time I visit her, I should make it a point to click pictures and share the recipe here. Using thinai/foxtail millet instead of rice in the pongal recipe, one can hardly find any difference. S who was a bit skeptical gave a happy nod, after tasting it for the first time 🙂
What I used –
- Thinai/Foxtail Millet, 1 cup
- Moong Dal, ¼ cup
- Green Chilly, 1
- Finely Chopped Ginger, 1 tsp
- Curry leaves, a few
- Jeera, 2 tsp
- Whole Black Pepper, 1 tsp
- Asafoetida, 1 tsp
- Oil, 1 tsp
- Salt, as required
- Water, 3.5 cups
How I made –
- Wash and soak thinai/foxtail millet in a cup of water for atleast 20 mins. This makes cooking it very easy.
- In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Add jeera and whole black pepper. Once jeera is golden brown, add slit green chilly and finely chopped ginger. After 20 secs, add roughly chopped curry leaves and asafoetida.
- Add water along with the water used for soaking thinai/foxtail millet. I usually use 2 cups of water to cook 1 cup of thinai/foxtail millet. As this is pongal and it’s supposed to be mushy, I am adding 3.5 cups of water for cooking it in pressure cooker.
- Add salt and moong dal. Bring the water to boil. Add thinai/foxtail millet, stir well.
- Simmer the flame and let it cook for atleast two whistles. Wait until the pressure is released from the cooker before opening the lid of the cooker.
- Serve hot with chutney/sambar of your choice. A tsp of ghee on top enhances the taste.
Note: As thinai/foxtail millet has an acquired taste and can feel quite bland, adding green chilli, curry leaves and ginger helps with the flavor. I use very limited amount of oil for making this pongal, as it’s cooked in pressure cooker.