I can't say that I've cooked a lot of Indian food before but when I came across this recipe on www.thekitchn.com I couldn't resist trying it out. It's basically an Indian porridge. I did however make a few adjustments to the recipe. First off, I've started using more whole grains in my cooking ever since I started taking this class on nutrition and health, so that meant substituting the white rice for brown rice. Brown rice has about 100x more flavor than white rice (and is obviously way better for you). Brown rice does take longer to cook than white rice though, so I omitted the initial lentil soaking in the recipe. Also, the recipe only called for a 1:4 ratio of lentils to rice so I decided to increase that ratio to about 1:3.
I also caramelized some onions as a topping for the porridge. To the spice mix, I added a little minced ginger and a finely diced chili. I cooked the spices quickly in butter and vegetable oil (I had no ghee and didn't feel like making any). Next time, I would probably increase the amounts of each spice by about 1.5 times more than what is called for in the recipe. The recipe also doesn't specify this, but I finely chopped up the curry leaves before cooking them. Also, if you plan on making this recipe, do not omit the fresh curry leaves! They should be easy to find at a local Indian market and I found that they were a really integral part of the dish.
I roasted a little broccoli to go with the pongal but any other vegetable would do. Finally, I served it with a little plain yogurt. Wish I had some of my mom's favorite mango pickle to go with the pongal. Anyways, this recipe was sooo easy and sooo delicious. I would highly recommend it to anyone!