As part of substituting rice in recipes with millets, this is one of my experiments which was a huge success. I used saamai / little millet instead of rice in this savoury pongal/ ven pongal as we call it in Tamil. Ven pongal is usually made with rice and moong dhal cooked together and then tempered with ghee, pepper corns and cashew nuts. This is a very flavourful rice variety served with sambar, urad dhal vada and coconut chutney. You can see my Breakfast Thali about the combination served.
When I substituted rice with saamai, my only concern was the amount of water to be used. For rice we use three or four times water but, as the saamai are very small grains, using that much liquid will surely result in a gooey mess. So I reduced the water to 2 1/2 cups and the result was perfect. Not so mushy and not grainy and perfect. If you are pressure cooking then you need to reduce it even more to 2 cups. I made it in an open pan and so 2 1/2 cups of water.
For The Pongal:
Saamai/ Little Millet-1 cup
Moong Dhal-1/4 cup
Water-2 1/2 cups
Broken Cashew Nuts-2-3 tbs
Black Peppercorns-1 tbs
Curry Leaves-2 sprigs
Cumin Seeds-1 tsp
Wash and soak millet and dhal for 30 minutes.
In a pan heat water.
When it comes to boil, add the millet dhal mix and add salt to taste.
Keep on stirring at regular intervals until 90% of the water is absorbed by the millet.
In a separate pan, heat ghee and add pepper and cashew.
When they turn slightly brown, add in cumin.
And then add curry leaves and pour it on the pongal.
Give a nice stir and cover with an aluminium foil.
Cover with lid on top and reduce flame to low.
Cook for 10 more minutes and remove from flame.
Let the pongal set for 10 more minutes.
Remove foil and sere it hot with sambar, chutney and vada.
This is an extensive breakfast Thali I made for an event. Click on image to view all the recipes.