April 30, 2020

How to make Kodo Millet Pongal | வரகு அரிசி பொங்கல்| Millet Recipes

Pongal is a favourite breakfast at home. Apart from Ven pongal (the classic rice-dal combo), we also enjoy a variety with millets and other grains in both savoury and sweet variants. The brown rice chakkara pongal (sweet variant) is one of our favourite made on festive occasions,  while the Oats pongal, thinai pongal (foxtail millet pongal) , samai pongal (little millet) , Rava Pongal are also repeated  during the menu rotation. 

Varagu (Kodo Millet) is one pseudo-grain that I alternate along with Foxtail Millet (Thinai), Samai to use in place of rice for everyday meals or in Pongal (savoury porridge). Pongal is mostly our go-to dish for Sunday breakfast

Whatever the dish, whatever the reason, Millets in pongal form is yummy, light. The kids don’t even need to know it’s not made of rice. You can also moderate the ghee (clarified butter) used in pongal, but we prefer it on the lower side . Asafoetida is a must in most of our savoury pongal and that combined with kodo millet (called varagu in tamil) was a yummy dish. We love pongal with Avial. But kids love it  coconut chutney or even veg peel chutney. 

Anu - my paired blogger for this month’s theme of millets (Sshh Cooking Challenge theme by Aruna) brought a new dish at home. Anu has made a delicious Ragi Rotti with ragi flour and chillies that I gave her..  

Other millet dishes on the blog include:

Varagu Upma - Kodo Millet Upma

and many more...

Let’s see how to make today's pongal 

Prep time - 5 Mins, soak time - 10 Mins ; Cook time - 15 Mins, Serves : 3 generously.

What you need:
Varagu / Kodo Millet - 1 cup (240 ml)
Moong dal - 1/4 cup (soaked for 10 mins)
Salt - to taste
Pinch of turmeric

Tempering :
Ghee - 2 tsp 
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp 
Black Pepper and ginger crushed - 1 tsp combined 
Cashews bits - few (optional)
Curry leaves - few
Asafoetida - a generous pinch.


How to:
  • Wash millets twice or thrice well. Soak in water for 10 mins. Similarly dry roast moong for 1-2 mins till aromatic and also soak it for 10 mins.
  • In a pressure cooker, add the soaked millet and dal along with 5-6 cups of water , a pinch of turmeric and half the salt . Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles .Let the pressure come down on its own. Mash the dal-millet mixture with a ladle while it’s hot and add the remaining salt. 
  • Adjust the pongal gooeyness at this stage - if Its too runny , simmer the mixture on the stove for a few mins till it reaches the right consistency. If it’s too dry, add upto 3-4 tbsp of HOT water, mix well and adjust consistency. Some people like pongal runny and some like it a Tad dry. We prefer something midway. It’s totally personal. 
  • Prepare tempering with ghee. Splutter cumin seeds, asafoetida , cashews and curry leaves till cashews turn golden brown. Switch off the flame and add pepper-ginger mixture. Mix well and pour this tempering  into the pongal. Mix well, adjust salt if needed and serve pongal steaming hot. 


  1. Kodo millet Pongal looks super tempting. A perfect alternative to rice Pongal. I love khara Pongal and will try your version sometime .

    1. THank u preethi- do try this- its an awesome rice-free version of Khara Pongal

  2. This looks like a comforting one pot meal with kodo millet and dal. Looks yum and so creamy

    1. very creamy indeed, Renu ! do try if you like pongal...

  3. Pongal is always comfort food for us and with all those sides it looks so delicious

    1. yes Narmadha - pongal is the ultimate comfort food for us too :)

  4. The Pongal looks fabulous, especially with the tempering on top! Would love to have this deliciousness with some onion raita.

    Love the idea of substituting the rice in Pongal with millet.

    1. THanks Priya ! we love rice-free Pongal at home :) so always looking for ways to sub the rice ...

  5. Love this version of pongal, so healthy and filling too. Whenever I'm in Bangalore I make full use of kodo millet as its available in abundance there. Is that a chutney or pickle that you're topped it with? Makes it even more tempting.

    1. THanks Mayuri- thats a tempering with simply grated ginger, curry leaves and cumin seeds with a broken red chilli - all sauted in Ghee :)

  6. Kodo millet pongal looks so inviting Kalyani ! A very healthy treat for sure. Loved the delicious ghee yemperring !

  7. I stayed in Chennai for 5 months for work and I remember I literally had pongal every other day. Its so filling and easy to make dish. This version of replacing rice with millet is so healthy.

  8. Pongal is such a comfort food, you made it more healthy by adding kodo millet instead of rice. Yes no need to tell any that millets are used ;), it will go smoothly. I want extra ghee on pongal.

  9. Kodo millet pongal is quite new to me, I need to try this. I often make pongal of different kind, must try this one. Loved it.

  10. Kodo millet pongal looks so creamy and absolutely delicious. Loved this healthy and yummy pongal. Never used kodo millet. Now I will try it for sure.

  11. Kodod millet pongal looks so inviting and delicious comfort treat!!Loved the use of millet..so good for people on restricted diets.

  12. Kodod millet pongal looks so deliciously comfort food :)
    Use of kodo millet is something interesting here for me to make pongal ... lovely share !

  13. Am ready to have this Pongal anytime, healthy breakfast. Love it

  14. There is nothing more comforting than pongal, both for the eater and the maker. I am so glad you made it with millets, looks so inviting.


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