Breakfast, Millets, One Pot Meals, Pongal

Little Millet Pongal | Samai Pongal Recipe | GF Dishes

Another Millet after Foxtail (Thinai) that lends itself beautifully in place of Rice for Pongal is Samai or Little Millet. Samai is different from Sama (or Barnyard Millet that’s used for fasting recipes during Navratri / Shivratri). 

Samai is a versatile grain that we loved making Upma with too.  Much to my surprise (and welcome relief!) , the husband has also started liking millets in place of rice, and so like the Dalia Bisibelebhath featured earlier, this Samai Pongal was our Sunday brunch for just the two of us. 

Mom who had a bit of this, also appreciated how soft and light this pongal was. Considering my unyielding love for perfectly made Pongal, I think this dish will be made very often even on weekday mornings as its so perfect and light   

I was surprised to find how much pongal it yielded, so the leftovers warmed up beautifully for  my Monday breakfast too ! This pongal can be served with Chettinad Khara Chutney/ Coconut Coriander Chutney or even Hotel Sambhar

But considering the kitchen was like a furnace, we had this with Daangri Pachadi (Urad dal – roasted ground and the spicy paste mixed with yoghurt and tempered – Recipe soon! ).


Other Savoury Pongal Varieties on the blog:


Samai Pongal – Gluten Free One Pot meal | Can be vegan too ! 

Cuisine : South Indian ; Course : Breakfast / brunch/ dinner ; Difficulty level : Easy

Prep time – 5 mins, Cook time – 15 mins, Serves : 2 ~3 adults generously

What you need:

Little Millet / Samai – 1 cup (240 ml)

Moong dal / Pasiparuppu / split green gram – 1/3 cup (or even as less than 3 tsp with varying results)

Ghee – 1 TBSP (split use) – skip for vegan version or use vegan butter

Turmeric – 1/8 tsp

Salt – to taste

Jeera / Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Black pepper – 1/2 tsp

Hing / Asafoetida – a generous pinch (skip for GF)

Tempering : Few Curry leaves, grated ginger 1/2 TBSP, Broken red chillies – 1 or 2 (opt.)


How to:

In a bowl, wash and rinse the Samai several times. In a pressure cooker, add half of the 1 TBSP ghee, roast moong dal for a min or two, then add the samai, turmeric, half of the jeera + pepper mix, 3.5 cups of water and bring to a simmer.

Close and pressure cook for 2 whistles (Samai cooks very quickly, you don’t want it too mushy). 

Once the pressure is released, mash it up a bit. Add water if you want a really runny consistency. Add salt and mix once. 

Prepare a tempering with the tempering ingredients + remaining half of the jeera+pepper mixure in the rest of the ghee. Pour on top of the cooked pongal. Adjust for salt and spice. Mix well and serve hot with any Chutney or Sambhar. 




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  1. Suma Gandlur

    Even small quantities of quinoa and millets are quite filling compared to rice and the pongal looks very inviting. I am sure that it was quite delicious.

  2. Gayathri Kumar

    I am literally drooling here Kalyani. The pongal looks fantastic and the pachadi sounds awesome. Waiting for your recipe for that.

  3. Millets are quite filling .. looks so tempting.. I really like how you adapt the traditional recipes with healthy grains.

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