Sunday, July 19, 2009

Khara Pongal For Lunch

Last Sunday's lunch of Khara Pongal, crushed fried papad and mango pickle.

Well unlike always first here is the recipe.


1/2 cup rice
1/4 cup toor dal
1 chopped green chili
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
a pinch turmeric
salt to taste

For the tempering:
2 teaspoons Oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
few curry leaves
handful of coconut bits

In a pressure cooker. Wash both dal and rice. Add the other items and top up with 3 glasses of water. Allow a good 5 whistles. It has to make the rice and dal really mushy. Cool and open after steam subsides. Open the cooker and mash the dal and rice with a spoon to bring them together.

Next heat a pot. Add oil and heat till smoky. Quickly add the mustard seed. Once the mustard crackles, add asafoetida, curry leaves and coconut bits in that order. Add the mashed dal and rice. Mix well and add more water if need be. Keep stirring to avoid burning.

Serve in a plate or bowl with fried papads and pickle. It is mushy comfort for the soul.

This Khara pongal is from Karnataka and is had for breakfast here. Me a Maharashtrian especially a Mumbaiite cannot imagine having rice for breakfast so I make it for lunch or dinner. The consistency is of a khichdi but the color and taste typically Karnataka.

Now that my need for some comfort food is met lets move on to a discussion, I hope to involve you in. Let me upfront say that this got me thinking so this post and I thank Chitra for igniting the thought.

Just yesterday she commented here about need, human need. We all agree that the need for food is the most basest need.

However it also got me thinking. In the world of loneliness and misery, people have all the money in the world but no love, companion and laughter. Are these not needs?

Shree Gondavalekar Maharaj says,
"Hunger is the only need that can be satisfied because even a starved man will ask you to stop feeding him once he is full. All other needs are endless."
All this started beacuse on my profile, I say,

"I am grateful for the Life I have. My day is done if I can touch someone's life in a special way."
Well yes I am grateful for the life I have with all its imperfectness. It may not be an ideal one and many may not find it interesting at all.

Yet I remember Osho's words "I am the savior of the rich, because the world is unsympathetic towards them."

Now I am not Osho but I am surrounded by people just like me, with regular needs of love, compassion and even sympathy. Remember at the bottom of all this there is a selfishness that I acknowledge. I need that so I give. It makes me feel happy so I try to make someone happy. How much I succeed I don't know but I am not looking at that. I love the process though.

At my workplace we have a support group for employees in need of emotional support. I think it is a fantastic initiative for an industry having young people uprooted from their comfort zones regularly and have all the insecurities in work and personal life. Those who have had a safe emotional haven will not know this side of the world. It does not show tangible symptoms like starving does on a man but impact if not the same is still destructive to a life.

While feeding hungry people is easy. You have the money, you know to cook or not you can feed. However try providing emotional support to people. It takes a toll on the giver. The giver is so involved it is difficult even for clinical psychologists to keep themselves impact free.

How many of you think emotions is a need that we are unsympathetic towards?

Hope to see a discussion going here.


  1. Comfort food rite...pongal, papaad and pickle is yummy combo

  2. I just love... pappad is a new combination for me!! Lovely presentation

  3. Hema papad and any soft rice is a combo I love. The rice could be khichadi or anything else. Yes but since pongal is eaten here more for breakfast, papad is not a standard combo here in Blr. But then that is how food and culture evolves isn't it? with external influences.

    Recently my friends were discussing how we have started cooking so differently unlike our mothers and aunts. Even the everyday food is fusion.


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