Māsānāṁ Mārga-Shīrṣho ’ham – In the sacred Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna declared that of the 12 months, he was the month of Margashirshah. The Tamil month of Margazhi is a divine and highly auspicious month. People do not celebrate festivals or conduct weddings purely to dedicate this month to the Lord. Margazhi is marked by classical music concerts, religious discourses, early morning temple visits, colourful Kolam (rangoli) patterns and special Naivedyam dishes for the gods.
Ven Pongal, a common breakfast item in South India, is one of the popular dishes prepared in temples and offered to devotees.
Rice - 1 cup
Moong dal - 1 cup
Ghee - 3/4th to 1 cup
Water - as needed (about 5 to 6 cups or slightly more depending on rice variety used)
Green chillies slit - 2
Finely chopped ginger - 1 Tbsp
Salt - to taste
Black pepper – 1 Tbsp
Jeera (Cumin seeds) – 1 Tbsp each coarsely ground
Cashews halved - 20
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Hing (Asafoetida) - a pinch
- Coarsely grind black pepper and Jeera together
- Roast rice and moong dal in 2 Tbsp of ghee for 2 minutes.
- Add a cup of water and soak for half an hour.
- Add the soaked mixture with water in a pan or Kadai.
- Add 5 cups of water, chopped ginger pieces, slit green chillies, hing and 2 Tsp of ghee.
- Mash in between and add extra water if needed for a mushy consistency.
- Let the rice and dal cook completely until soft.
- Add 1 Tsp ghee in between.
- Meanwhile, fry cashews, curry leaves and the jeera-pepper powder in 2 Tsp ghee and keep aside
- Add this to the Ven Pongal along with the remaining ghee. Mix well and serve with coconut chutney or sambar.
Ven Pongal Recipe