Thinai Pongal is a Pongal made with foxtail millet and moong lentils. This is a healthier version of the traditional Ven Pongal that is usually made with rice and moong lentils. This savory foxtail millet Ven Pongal is a great breakfast and makes for a great lunchbox too.
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Like i mentioned in my Thinai Sweet Pongal post, Pongal is a ubiquitous part of Margazhi, the Tamil month dedicated to Andal. If there was Sakkarai Pongal, then Ven Pongal had to follow, right?
I cooked two batches of millet+ dal in my Instant Pot using the pot in pot method to make this Ven Pongal. While I did not make the Sakkarai Pongal completely using the Instant Pot, I did make the Thinai ven pongal fully using the IP.
Instant Pot Millet Pongal
Making Pongal in an electric pressure cooker is such a breeze. Because Pongal is a dish where over cooking the carbs won’t mess up the end result, its such a forgiving dish to whip up in the IP or Mealthy.
Which is why, if you are a beginner, you should begin with this easy recipe in your electric pressure cookers.
I have used the pot in pot method to make both versions of Pongal. You can also just make the Ven Pongal in the Instant Pot on its own.
In terms of prep work, this worked out best for me. Do give it a shot and let me know if these prep work steps helped you.
Break the cashews- Crush the pepper- Chop ginger and curry leaves- Dry roast the dal- Wash the millet and dal- Proceed to pressure cook the Pongal in Mealthy.
While the Pongal is being cooked- prep the side dish.
I have not soaked the millet before making this Pongal. You can soak it for 30 mins to reduce cooking time and if you have difficulty digesting Millet in general.
This Thinai Pongal can be made in the Instant Pot/ Mealthy/ other electric pressure cookers. Please follow the same timings and procedure.
Cooking time for foxtail millet will vary if you are using unpolished millet. Also, its highly recommended that you wash the unpolished millet at least 3 times before using it. I also insist that you soak unpolished Foxtail millet at least for 2 hours before cooking it.
You can make the same Thinai Arisi Pongal in a regular pressure cooker too. Pressure cooking the millet+dal mixture with the other ingredients for 4 to 5 whistles will give you the perfectly gooey Thinai Ven Pongal. Please check the recipe card for the detailed instructions.
Ingredients- Substitutes and Replacements
Thinai– This is the main ingredient in this Pongal. Thinai is known as Kangni in Hindi, Korra in Telugu and Navane in Kannada.
Moong Dal– We are going to use Moong lentils to make. We are going to dry roast moong dal for a few mins before making the pongal.
Whole Spices- Spicy Pongal is a thing for many people. As such, Ven Pongal is bland. So we add whole black pepper and cumin seeds to make this interesting. Not only do these whole spices add flavor but they also help easy digestion.
Ghee- Clarified butter or ghee is the lifeline of any Pongal. If you are making Ven Pongal, i suggest adding 1 tablespoon oil plus ghee while cooking the millet and dal. Adding oil will ensure that the Pongal doesn’t become cakey and solid even after it cools down.
Curry leaves and Ginger– Both these ingredients are crucial. Ginger not only adds flavor but also aids in easy digestion. Curry leaves add a fantastic earthy flavor to the Pongal.
Hing/ Perungayam/ Asafetida– This again is an important flavor component in any Khara Pongal or Ven Pongal recipe. Perungayam not only adds flavor but also helps control flatulence.
Instant Pot Millet Pongal- Method
Roasting Moong Dal for Ven Pongal
Heat a pan. Add the Moong dal and dry roast on low flame till aromatic. The moong dal need not become golden or change color. Dal burns very quickly. So please do not leave it unattended while roasting. This takes around 4 mins on low flame.
Turn on Saute mode in Mealthy/Instant Pot for 11 mins. Add ghee and oil.
When the mixture is hot, add the broken cashews and fry till golden brown. Once done, drain and set aside. I add the fried cashews after the Pongal is cooked. This way, they don’t lose their crunch.
Tempering for the Pongal
Add the crushed pepper, cumin, ginger, hing and curry leaves to the oil. Mix well. Saute till the spices begin to crackle.
Adding millet & dal for pressure cooking
When done, wash the millet and dal well under running water. Drain the water used for washing. Now add 2 cups water to this. Mix well. Add this mixture to the Instant Pot.
Add salt to the pongal and mix well. Continue to cook this on saute mode till the mixture begins to gently bubble up on the surface.
Instant Pot Mode and Timings
Once done, switch off the Saute mode in your Instant Pot. Now, close the lid of the cooker. Turn the valve to sealing mode. Turn on the Pressure cook mode or Manual mode. Set the timer to 11 mins and the pressure to high. Wait for the pressure to be release naturally.
Mashing the mixture.
When the cooking is complete and the pressure has fallen, open the lid. Now, lightly mix and mash the mixture.
Adding the cashews
Add the roasted cashews to the Pongal. Now mix it up well, add a tablespoon of ghee and serve the Pongal hot.
How to prepare Spicy Pongal using millet in a regular pressure cooker?
Heat a 3 l deep pressure cooker/ pan. Add the moong dal and dry roast it for 2 to 3 mins on low flame till aromatic. Now, transfer the roasted moong dal to a colander along with the foxtail millet. Wash the dal and millet under running water till water runs clear.
Heat the same pressure cooker with ghee and oil. Add the roasted cashews and fry them on medium flame till they turn golden brown. Drain and set aside. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting possible. Now, add the cumin seeds, pepper, ginger and curry leaves. Immediately add the Hing/ Perungayam.
Add the washed dal and millet to this along with water and salt. Mix well. Ensure that the gasket is fitted properly into the pressure cooker lid. Now, close the pressure cooker and put the weight on. Pressure cook on medium flame for 4 to 5 whistles or until the dal and millet have cooked to a mush. Allow the pressure to release naturally. When the pressure releases, open and mix well.
Add the roasted cashews. Stir to combine. Serve hot.
More south Indian breakfast recipes
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Thinai Ven Pongal
- Instant Pot/ Mealthy/ Stove top pressure cooker
- ¼ c Moong Dal
- 3 tablespoon Broken cashews
- 2 tablespoon Ghee
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 2 teaspoon Crushed Whole black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon Minced ginger
- 10 Curry leaves
- ½ c Foxtail Millet
- 2 c Water
- 1 teaspoon Salt or to taste
Roasting the Dal
- Heat a pan.
- Add the moong dal and dry roast this on low flame until fragrant. Takes 3 to 4 mins.
- Once done, combine this with the millet.
- Wash the millet and dal thoroughly. Set aside.
Frying the cashews
- Turn on Saute mode in your Instant Pot/ Mealthy
- Add ghee and oil.
- When hot, add broken cashews and fry till they turn golden. Takes 2 to 3 mins.
- When done, drain the cashews and set aside.
- Now, add the cumin seeds, crushed peppercorn, ginger and curry leaves.
- Mix well and fry till the spices begin to crackle. This takes 1 min approx.
- Now add the washed and drained millet and dal mixture along with 2 c water.
- Add salt to taste.
- Mix well. Continue to cook this on Saute mode for 2 to 3 mins until tiny bubbles begin to appear on the surface.
- When done, Switch off the Saute mode by pressing cancel. Now, close the Mealthy. Turn the valve to sealing.
- Switch to pressure cook mode. Choose low pressure and set the timer to 11 mins.
- Once cooking is complete, allow for the pressure to be released naturally.
- When done, open the lid and mix and mash the pongal lightly.
- Now add fried cashews and mix well.
- Drizzle some ghee over the pongal and serve hot.
Stove top pressure cooker method
- Heat a 3 l deep pressure cooker/ pan.
- Add the moong dal and dry roast it for 2 to 3 mins on low flame till aromatic.
- Now, transfer the roasted moong dal to a colander along with the foxtail millet.
- Wash the dal and millet under running water till water runs clear.
- Heat the same pressure cooker with ghee and oil.
- Add the roasted cashews and fry them on medium flame till they turn golden brown.
- Drain and set aside.
- Turn down the heat to the lowest setting possible.
- Now, add the cumin seeds, pepper, ginger and curry leaves.
- Immediately add the hing/ perungayam.
- Add the washed dal and millet to this along with water and salt.
- Mix well.
- Ensure that the gasket is fitted properly into the pressure cooker lid.
- Now, close the pressure cooker and put the weight on.
- Pressure cook on medium flame for 4 to 5 whistles or until the dal and millet have cooked to a mush.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally.
- When the pressure releases, open and mix well.
- Add the roasted cashews.
- Stir to combine.
- Serve hot.
- In the video of this post, I have made the millet pongal in Mealthy. You can use the same settings and mode to make millet ven pongal in Instant pot. I have tested both ways and both work well.
- If your millet is old, then it may take longer to cook.
- The ratio of millet and Dal is a personal preference. You can also use equal quantities of moong dal and millet.
More Thinai recipes
I always try to include as much variety of millet in our diet on a regular basis. Sometimes, I prepare mixed millet pongal too, using a combination of Kuthiraivali (Barnyard millet) and Thinai Rice( foxtail millet). If you like foxtail millet, then also check out