Last night I attended a BIG b'day bash complete with brilliant music, flowing drinks and all the dancing to fill your heart. The event was @ Le Baroque, Chijmes and was chock-a-block with fellow Indians, and expat Bangaloreans in particular. Swapping stories, finding common acquaintances, and picking up some hot gossip (hehehe), it felt like I'd never been away.
Shagies, the fount of all that wonderful music are top notch. Apart from being talented singers and players, they are great performers - drawing in the crowd, getting everyone singing along, grooving and eventually even on the floor dancing (what to say, we are shy lah).
Of course, being desis (and very happy to be so, thank you), we head to Rupee Room, to finish off the night. There was the usual Bhangra hour (an hour too many IMO) followed by the more popular (at least with me) Bollywood music (no, Not "HINDI" film music but dhinn-chhik Bollywood music). Ah perfection.
So after all that halla-gulla of last night, and being perfumed by the stench BO (need I explain?) and malt in the air (JD and beer being the religion of the majority of last night's masses), this morning I needed a reprieve. Or was it just a longing for momma and daddy and home? To replicate the parental household, this morning I made venn-Pongal.
And what connection, those of you not acquainted with my parental stamping ground might ask, does this have with that?
Simple. Sundays was always, but always venn pongal brekafast day at the parent's. Picture this: Saturday night party scene in Bangalore. All the beer in the world, all the hard rock and metal, followed by a spot of dancing somewhere (there is always someplace). You totter home minutes before the milkman (ah the good ol' blr days), worn out with all the chilli vodkas, the G&Ts, and whatever else have you's, more usually than not, followed by the lousiest-oiliest-spiciest-nastiest (it only tastes that way the next morning) post drinking trash that passes for food. You wake up feeling like the aforementioned food and REEKING of smoke and malt that seems to have fermented in your clothes. At that moment, salvation is served in the form of, thats right - Venn Pongal!
Here's my simple-dimple recipe for venn pongal. It's not the same as the homestead's (I don't have Puchka to do the chopping and grating and cleaning and korumbu making.)
1/2 cup moong dal
1 cup rice
1 tsp jeera
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1. Wash rice and moong dal in a cooker, add appropriate amount of water (2 and a 1/2 in this case or thereabouts), salt to taste and plonk it on the gas for 3-4 whistles (I like my venn pongal mashy.) After the 5 whistles, wait till you can open the cooker lid.
2. In a small sauce pan/takda pan/tadka spoon take ghee (can use oil but the taste of ghee does the trick here). Once the ghee is hot, add jeera, peppercorns, haldi, asafetida, chopped ginger, sizzle it all up till you can smell the ghee fried jeera smell, and the peppercorns start popping (1 min or 2) and pour this tadka into the cooker atop the rice and dal.
3. Mix it, mash it and eat hot.
The parents would never serve this without mendiya korumbu or at the very least tomato gotsu/gojju. In Tamil Nadu, restaurants serve it with coconut and other chutnies. In Karnataka, restaurants serve it with cucumber and onion raita. Feel free to eat it with whatever you like, only remember to EAT WHILE ITS HOT.