Pongal is an Indian dish made with rice and lentils. This recipe is a modified, healthier version which replaces rice with millet and with added soybeans and carrots, which make it a nutrient-dense meal in itself with all the protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Millets contain uniquely high content of nutrients that provide a host of health benefits-
- Protects heart health – millets are rich in heart-friendly minerals, magnesium and potassium.
- Controls cholesterol levels – the high fiber content in millet lowers the bad cholesterol and promotes good cholesterol.
- Lowers risk of type-2 diabetes – low glycemic index, high level of soluble dietary fiber and magnesium in millets boost insulin sensitivity.
- Is gluten-free – serves as an excellent, healthy alternative to wheat for those who wish to avoid gluten, like those suffering from celiac disease.
- Aids digestion – Fibre- rich millets can reduce bloating, constipation and improve nutrient retention.
- Fights aging and improves skin – millets help in detoxification as they are rich in antioxidants such as quercetin, curcumin and various other beneficial catechins.
- Improves mood and helps you sleep better – millets contain the amino acid tryptophan that helps regulate mood, prevent depression and improve memory.
A word of caution – Millet is fine in moderation. However, research suggests that a millet-heavy diet may adversely affect glandular and thyroid health. Millets contain goitrogens that suppress thyroid activity and lead to goiter.
I’ve also used purple carrots in this recipe; they not only have the vitamin A and beta-carotene of their orange counterparts but are also rich in anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds that give blueberries their distinctive color and superfood health benefits. Studies have found that these blue and purple pigments in purple carrots can improve memory, enhance vision, protect against heart attacks, act as anti-inflammatories, and even help control weight.
Now for the recipe
- Barnyard millet – 1 cup
- yellow moong dal (deskinned and split mung beans) – 1/4 cup
- water – 4 cups
- carrot – 1, diced
- purple carrot – 1, diced
- frozen soybeans – 1/4 cup
- ginger- 1/2 inch piece, minced
- green chili – 1, minced
- mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
- peppercorns – 1 teaspoon
- cumin seeds – 2 teaspoons
- roasted cashews and curry leaves for garnishing
- Oil – 4 teaspoons
- Heat 3 teaspoons of oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, green chili and ginger and saute until browned. Set aside.
- Dry roast the lentils (moong dal) until you get an aroma and wash along with the millets.
- Place the millets and lentils in a pressure cooker along with the chili-ginger tempering, pepper, cumin, carrots, soybeans, water, and salt.
- Lock the lid in place and wait for 3 whistles.
- Let it simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
- Roast the curry leaves and cashews in 1 teaspoon of oil.
- Once the pressure is released, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with roasted cashews and curry leaves.
- More vegetables of your choice can be added: french beans, cauliflower, potato, corn or peas.
- This recipe can be cooked on the instant pot also.
- The mung lentils add the required flavor and nutrition to the dish, so don’t try to skip or replace it.
Like this recipe? Please share/ comment before leaving! Thank you!!