Pongal is an absolutely easy one-dish meal that can be put together really quickly, It is wholesome, healthy and nutritious – Rice and lentils combined with really mild spices like pepper and cumin! I always look to add some whole grains in my diet – and hence I swapped the rice out for the cracked wheat! Believe me, the taste is still amazing! 🙂 Another thing I love to do is sneak in some vegetables – hence I added the cucumber. Now you might ask why cucumber? And there is no specific reason for that – I add in whatever veggies I can such as spinach, tomatoes or anything else I can get a hold of in my refrigerator. I have a quinoa-spinach pongal recipe already up on the blog! Check it out 🙂
Did you know that whole-grains and non-starchy vegetables are some of the best food choices to make to help with diabetes? Learn more about what food choices to make at this page.
Including whole grains like how I have done here in this recipe is a wonderful idea, however, it is still important to watch out for portion size. One way to control portion size is to use smaller than usual plates 🙂 No kidding! Filling up a smaller plate somehow works and gives people a feeling of satisfaction as compared to eating the same quantity on a larger plate! Worth a try I would say! Read more about this here. Another way that I personally use to portion control is to fill up half the plate with veggies first, then add some protein like yogurt on the side and the remaining portion of my plate gets filled with the main dish! And that actually works really well for me 😀
Moving on to this recipe – the cracked wheat blends really well with the moong dal! The consistency of the pongal is amazing 🙂 The minimum number of spices in this dish perfectly complement each other. The flavors are really comforting! The cucumber gets cooked down but still adds a nice bite to the pongal! The hint of ginger here just takes the dish to a whole new level 😀 What more can we want from a easy, nutritious dinner/lunch recipe?
- 1/2 cup cracked wheat
- 1/2 cup moong dal
- 10-12 black peppers
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- handful of curry leaves
- 1/2 inch grated ginger
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- pinch of hing(asafoetida)
- Salt to taste
Preparation Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 20 min
- Wash the moong dal well in cold water. Also wash the cracked wheat thoroughly. Drain water from the dal and cracked wheat and keep it ready.
- Chop the cucumber into bite sized pieces. (I peeled the skin – but it is a personal preference.) Take the pepper and cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle. Pound it to get a coarse mixture. Keep this spice mixture aside. (if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, add 1/2 tsp pepper powder and 1/2 tsp cumin powder in step 6)
- Take a pressure cooker. Heat 1 tsp oil in it. Add the mustard seeds, ginger and curry leaves. Let the mustard seeds crackle. Reduce the heat and add the hing. Sauté for a few seconds.
- Now add the drained moong dal and cracked wheat. On medium heat, sauté the moong dal and cracked wheat for a few minutes till you get a light aroma from the dal. Roast it very lightly (over roasting spoils the taste)
- Now add 3 cups of water and add the chopped cucumber pieces also to the cooker.
- Add the spice mixture to the cooker and add salt according to your taste. Pressure cook this for 3 or 4 whistles.
- Allow the pressure to release. Taste the pongal and adjust salt or spice to your taste. Serve hot with some cool yogurt raitha or chutney on the side!
- In case you want to use an electric cooker, use a pan to prepare the seasoning and roast the dal-wheat in step3. Proceed from then on with the other steps in an electric cooker. (Adjust water according to your cooker settings – you want the wheat and dal to be cooked really well to get a good consistency. So add about 1/2 cup more water than usual)