Turn on the Instant Pot in Saute mode. Add ghee to the pot. Temper cumin seeds. When they splutter, add ginger paste, and crushed peppercorns. Saute for 30 seconds.
Add the moong dal.
Add the raw rice grains.
Add milk, water and salt. Give it a stir and hit cancel. Close the lid. Select Manual/Pressure mode and cook for 8 minutes. Release pressure naturally.
Open the lid and do a taste test. Add another cup of water mixed with milk along with salt (if needed) and mash it all well when it's still hot. Add more water if needed.
Fry cashews and whole peppercorns in ghee till they turn light golden and pour it over the Pongal.
As a thumb-rule, the rice to dal ratio is 1:0.5. We like to add 3/4 cup of dal because it gives the Pongal a nice texture and that's the way my mom made it.Do not add the cashews along with the other ingredients in the Instant Pot. They will lose their crispiness. Always add them after the Pongal is cooked.Roasting the lentils and rice is not required to do when making Pongal. Roasting them will not yield a soft porridge-like consistency. There is no need to even soak them.Only add crushed peppercorns rather than the whole ones if you hate biting into them when eating.Keep in mind that Ven Pongal will thicken as it cools. So even if it appears a bit soggy when you open the Instant Pot, it's fine.What I have shared is the basic traditional recipe, however, you can also add green chillies, curry leaves, and cilantro to give it more flavor.You can use regular milk and ghee to make the Ven Pongal if you are not following a vegan lifestyle.If you don't want to use ghee, you can skip it and use any vegetable oil instead. But it tastes the best with ghee. Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder for color.To make it more wholesome, feel free to add more veggies like finely chopped carrots, beans, green peas, corn, and even onions.If you feel the salt is less, mix the required salt with hot water. Add the salted water to the Pongal instead of directly adding salt. It will mix more evenly.Another way of doing this is to cook the lentils and rice together in the Instant Pot, but without the other ingredients. Then separately prepare the tempering and mix it in.If you want to make both sweet and savory Pongal, then just cook the rice and lentils without the other ingredients.To get the perfect textureThis is key to making Khara Pongal. Adding the right amount of water + milk is important.If you feel the Pongal is too liquidy after it's cooked, cook it on Saute mode for additional 1-2 minutes and let the excess water evaporate.If it's too thick, add some water or milk till you get the desired consistency. Even the quality of rice dictates the texture.What to do with leftoversVen Pongal stays well in the fridge for 4-5 days. Pack it in an airtight container. When you want to eat it, reheat it in the microwave.Add a few tablespoons of warm water/milk to it to thin it a bit. Garnish with a dollop of ghee on top and serve. You can also freeze the Pongal if needed.Don't have an Instant PotPut moong dal and rice together in the pressure cooker with salt and cook it for 4-5 whistles. Turn off the flame allow it to cool.Then prepare a tempering in oil or ghee by adding crushed black pepper, cumin seeds, curry leaves, ginger paste, and cashews.How to make sweet and savory pongal togetherDouble the proportion of rice and lentils. Cook it without any tempering (not even salt). Once cooked, divide the mixture in half.Prepare the savory tadka and add it to one half of the mixture along with salt. Ven Pongal is ready.Similarly, add the jaggery to the other half to make Sakkarai Pongal. This is what my mom would do during the Pongal festival.How to make it healthyThis recipe for Ven Pongal can also be made healthy by skipping rice. I soak half a cup of quinoa, brown rice, and moong dal for two hours. You can also use oats instead of quinoa.Then I follow this Instant Pot Pongal recipe. For this measurement, I add 4 cups of water. I also add some green peas and green chillies. Cooking time remains the same.