Po(at)ngal 

Hi, everyone! How are you all? I haven’t been on WordPress for almost a year now! So much has happened in the meanwhile. I became a doctor (Ph. D. yay! ) and moved to New York. Another thing that has changed is I suddenly found some free time on my hand (not literally! I am looking for jobs right now! But you know my old friend, procrastination!)  I was continuously working for last few years and wanted to take a break before I start working again.

The first thing I started doing is cooking, my another neglected love! I was eating outside for a few years now, and it was taking a toll on me. I am a vegetarian, and it was always a struggle to find healthy lunch options around the campus. Most of the time I would end up eating the same stuff over and over! And when I was at home, I would always worry about my work and the time I will waste cooking and go for quick meals; that is a lot of rice! As a result, I gained so much weight! Now that I have some free time, I started cooking on the regular basis.

At home, I make roti, daal, and some vegetable curry. I love rice! I mean it is one of the important parts of Indian food.  I can make (and love!!!) variety of rice dishes, such as lemon rice, curd rice, tamarind rice, dill rice and of course Biryanis! But I was eating so much rice during my study days that I wanted to cut down on my rice( carbs) intake. One of my favorite dishes is Pongal or Khichadi. It’s a dish prepared with rice and lentil dish with a consistency of risotto. One day, I was looking for alternate grain options and came across quinoa, buckwheat grits, and it just hit me what if I use oats instead of rice? I love oats, and they are healthy, but I always made sweet things with oats. I love making fusion food, and it seemed like a great idea, so I went ahead and made oat Pongal, and it was lip smacking!

img_6320For making Pongal with oats, I used steel cut oats instead of rolled oats. They give a unique texture to this dish. I used traditional Pongal recipe. In a pan, take one cup of steel cut oats and half a cup moong daal. Roast on a medium flame until you get the nutty aroma from the mixture. In a saucepan heat some oil or ghee, add curry leaves( If you haven’t given a try to it, please do!), whole black pepper and some chopped green chilies. Add three and a half cup of water (you can add as much as you want. I like smoother Pongal so I add more water. ) to the pan and add salt to taste. When the water comes to a boil, add oats and daal mixture. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes and simmer it for around 20 minutes. You can always cook it in a pressure cooker too! Serve it hot with a lot of ghee on it.

I think the best part of cooking is to be able to mix and match ingredient and make it as you like. You can always modify this recipe by adding vegetables to it. One time I added leftover mushroom curry and other time I made the same recipe with sprouted moong!

If you are looking for something comforting yet healthy, give it a try!

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