Spicy Pongal (Khara Pongal /Moogachi khichidi)


Isn’t it true that simple, uncomplicated things are the ones that provide the most warmth and comfort? We had been to an Indian Restaurant last weekend in lieu of a mini-celebration and we had their lunch buffet. You know, how these Indian restaurants are with their buffets; they have a lavish spread of at least 20-25 different variety of dishes to offer, ranging from Naans/Rotis, curries, noodles, chaats, 2 deep fried stuff, 2-3 desserts, idlis/dosas, rice, biryani and what have you. All pleasing to the taste pallets but none to the heartJ.
It is hard to resist the temptation (especially for Foodies like me) and the next thing we know, we over stuff ourselves with food. Way beyond than our normal intake.  We enjoy while eating it, however once we sit in the car to leave that is when we start feeling stuffed, bloated and finally guilty. Of course, we promise ourselves that we will never go to any buffets or indulge that way again, but that never happens and that my friends is another story altogether.
Moving on, so toward the later part of the evening, and when it is about dinner time, we prefer to eat something light yet comforting. Seasoned Yogurt Rice does the trick or sometimes I make this quick and easy Spicy Pongal. It is warm and comforting and best of all does not make one feel guilty. It is indulging and I have mine with a bowl of yogurt and some lemon pickle.








Pongal: Rice is cooked along with moong daal in a pressure cooker with appropriate seasonings. I add Masoor Daal also as I feel that enhances the flavor. This is optional though.
There are two varieties of Pongal, sweet pongal and khara pongal (Huggi in Kannada), also called ven pongal in Tamil. This is typically eaten during breakfast This is specially prepared during the festival of Pongal/Sankranthi. .  I have already posted the recipe for the sweet Pongal here.





  • 1 cup rice
  • ½ cup moong daal
  • ¼ cup masoor daal (optional)
  • 2-3 chillies (red/green)
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • ½ cup shredded coconut [ add more depending on preference]
  • 5-10 pepper corns
  • 1 tsp powdered pepper 


  • Asafetida (hing)
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard seeds
  • Jeera (cumin seeds)
  • Oil 



  • Soak the moong daal, masoor daal in enough water for about 45 minutes. Soak the Rice separately in water as well.
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafetida, chillies and whole pepper corns.
  • Drain the water from the daal and rice completely and add it to the above. Mix well.
  • Add salt, 5 cups of water (more if you prefer this mushy) and mix well. Make sure that the rice does not stick to the bottom. Add the grated ginger, powdered pepper. Check the water for seasonings. The salt, spice should be of higher level.
  • Close the cooker and allow cooking until 4-5 whistles.
  • After the cooker is cooled down, add the ghee and shredded coconut when still hot. Ghee imparts a wonderful aroma to the dish. Serve Hot!
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  1. Asha says:

    Haha!! That’s the reason I hate the buffets when kids insist we should go, usually to Pizza Buffets. Once I eat there, I can’t eat stand food for a whole one and half days!

    I love savory Pongal, looks so good there. Do you know you can add cooked Huruli/Kulith to it? I made Jayasree’s Kollu Pongal and it was so delicious, try it. I have posted it at FH on the bottom in last week’s Tried and tasted list I think.

  2. Cham says:

    Slightly different with coconut ur pongal.
    Buffet I usually don’t prefer because it is boring to see the sambar, paneer, naan, ect.. I usually pull something from the menu card. Buffet we pay more and really eat nothing!

  3. SuperChef says:

    LOL so true! what you said about eating at buffets!! 😀 i was never a fan of pongal as long as i was in india..but after coming here to the US i have started liking it (maybe just cos it makes me nostalgic!)

  4. Soma says:

    If we have buffet in Desi joints for lunch, we always skip dinner. We stuff ourselves without thinking, as we land up there when we are starving.. & then we are done eating for the next 24 hrs:-)

    That looks like khichri.. a bit dry. tho with better seasoning. We make khichri ever so often

  5. Laavanya says:

    I end up with the same feeling after buffets too 🙂 Pongal looks awesome and I like the spicy twist.. have never had it with masoor dhal & g. chillies before. We are big pongal fans at home.

  6. Nithya says:

    I agree with you,simple things are the ones which provide most warmth and comfort.This is one of my fav dish…yummy.I dont add masoor dal,mustard & coconut,will surely try this method of yours.Good recipe:)

  7. Maya says:

    How true about the buffet, when you are there, everything makes you tempt and get stuffed, but we don’t learn, do we? Keep goin to get stuffed :D. I love khara pongal too, will try next time with coconut. Btw, your lemon pickle is just droolworthy, I will make this soon.

  8. Alka says:

    Utter SPICY and you have all my ears lady……i love everything edible with a prefix “spicy”….lolz
    Loved the simple comfort food,ideal for me on the lazy Sunday afternoons

  9. Ashwini says:

    Ha..so true about the buffet..Everytime we go,after eating we will decide we will not come next time as it is bad to eat so much..but we will end up going there..:-)
    Kichidi is hit at my house. When it is hot and with little ghee on top, it will be over in no time..Temting Kichidi

  10. CurryLeaf says:

    Love this version.I was not a fan of pongal,but after tring bengali khicdi,started a liking for it.But still cannot have it for bfast.will be filling and comforting as dinner.The pic is too good.

  11. Usha says:

    I completely empathize, the same thing happens to me too. Normally I do fruits and milk for dinner and will be done. Pongal looks lovely and it is the perfect comfort food. I tried your eggless banana bread last week and loved it,just posted it on my blog 🙂

  12. Ujwal says:

    Buffets are something I prefer not to go for as I feel over stuffed so usually avoid it.. But Everytime we go to Indian restaurant I get stuffed and it feels so full! I make this regularly and it is a hit with my hubby and me. I never added masoor dal to this. Will try next time 🙂

  13. Spartan says:

    Had Indian buffet today- over cooked everything. Not bad, but all due taste was taken away by re-heating. I sort of agree with the buffet idea. The only exception was a sushi buffet.Never really liked khicdi/pongal. Any way this site has lots of tasty meals and i have more to explore.

  14. Ashwini.S.Acharya says:

    Its too good if you add tomato’s along with coconut while grinding, try it yummy……

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