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Pongal (porridge of rice and yellow mung beans) is a breakfast staple in South India. It's a wonderful meal to have at the beginning of the day because it gives you lots of energy to get through the day. I prefer having it for lunch instead of breakfast, but that's just me. I have it with a side of stir-fried veggies (poriyal) and a coconut-mint chutney. The yoghurt side is optional. As part of my spring recipes, I decided to share the recipe of pongal... with a twist... I chose to make millet pongal instead of rice pongal as millets are good to have during spring.

I used common millet or proso millet, that's easily available here in the US, in this recipe. You can use little millet or kodo millet if you are in India. Millets are packed with B vitamins and many minerals. They help lower blood pressure and cholestrol levels. They have a low glycemic index and are beneficial for diabetics.

Image of millet pongal, carrot arugula poriyal, and sides

Here's the recipe for three people:

Recipe for Millet Pongal


  • Common millet (Bob's Red Mill) - 1/2 cup

  • Yellow split mung beans - 1/4 cup

  • Water to cook the pongal - 2.5 cups

  • Grated ginger - 1/4 to 1/2 tsp.

  • Freshly ground pepper powder - 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. (or ) Pepper corns - 5 to 6

  • Ghee - 1.5 tbsp.

  • Cumin - 3/4 tsp.

  • Curry leaves - 1 sprig

  • Cashewnuts - 10-12 (split into half)

  • Salt - 3/4 tsp. (approx)


  1. Soak the mung beans in water for 15 minutes.

  2. In a pot, add the mung beans, rinsed millet, and water. Bring it to a boil.

  3. Now, add the grated ginger, and let it cook on a low-medium heat for the next 30 minutes.

  4. When the millet and beans are mushy, and are of a thick porridge consistency, add salt. Boil for another minute and turn off the gas.

  5. In a small pan, heat 1.5 tbsp. of ghee. Add the cumin, curry leaves, and cashew nuts. Turn off the gas, and mix this into the pongal.

  6. Add 1/4 tsp. of freshly-ground pepper into this mix.

  7. Serve hot with an optional side of yoghurt or stir-fried veggies and chutney.


NOTE: Vegans can use sunflower oil or coconut oil instead of ghee in this recipe.


Recipe for Carrot-Arugula Poriyal


  • Carrots - 2-3 large (grated)

  • Arugula leaves - about 5 oz. or 150 grams (washed)

  • Dessicated coconut - 2 tbsp.

  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp.

  • Coconut oil - 1.5 tsp.

  • Salt - 1/2 tsp.


  1. Heat oil in a pan.

  2. Add mustard seeds. When they splutter, toss in the carrots and arugula leaves and give this a good mix.

  3. Add the salt, and cook the vegetables covered for about 1/2 a minute.

  4. Open the lid and stir-fry the veggies on high heat for a few seconds. Add the dessicated coconut and turn off the gas.

Recipe for Coconut-Mint Chutney


  • Frozen/fresh grated coconut - 1/2 cup

  • Handful of mint leaves

  • 1 green chilli (optional)

  • 1/4 inch ginger

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/2 lemon


  1. Blend all ingredients except the lemon.

  2. Squeeze lemon juice on top and mix before serving.

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