Skip to main content

Venn Polenta


If Yogurt rice occupies the # 1 spot in a South Indian's list of food faves, then 'Venn Pongal' is usually with in the top five list of comfort foods. Almost every South Indian reading this post has some story about a weekend brunch comprising of a large dollop of steaming hot & thick  porridge of rice & tasted moong dal, with a side of crisp Medu Vada with an almost unlimited supply of tangy piquant Coconut chutney to go with it. the added bonus was licking the plate clean!
 I had been toying with the idea of bringing out a series of dishes using grits & Yellow corn meal for sometime, but the push to get going never came until Shaila Ballal Nigam posted her delish recipe for Cornmeal Dhokhla a week ago. I promise that I'll recreate that recipe & post it.... as soon as I finish up this batch of hominy grits that I have on hand!
Back to Venn Pongal, as I said, Its a mix of well (even slightly overcooked) rice & moong dal ( which is the quickest cooking of all the lentils in the typical South indian pantry).  Precooking the lentils  makes sure that the cornmeal can cook to perfection without under cooking the lentils. the toasted lentils give final dish a subtle nutty flavor and that complements the rich aroma of melted ghee (clarified butter) that is used to finish the polenta. The dish is spiced with Cumin & black peppercorn and ginger & curry leaves round off the flavor profile.

 Cornmeal or Grits is a staple used widely in Africa & the Americas. for details, check out (yeah yeah, you know where!!) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornmeal. Polenta is a classic Italian dish made from yellow cornmeal.

Necessity being the mother of invention never applied more than using corn maize as a substitute for rice. My first recollection of this was in the 70's when South Indian housewives living in Kenya used maize meal as a rice substitute for making Idli/ Dosa batter, & they probably still do even today. Just soak the same amount of cornmeal as rice  in water & add to the Urad dal batter.

For the Venn Polenta you need: (4 servings)

1/2 cup cornmeal grits (the white variety)
1/4 cup cooked Moong dal, slightly toasted
a pinch of turmeric
 2 cups water

Seasoning:
8-10 whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp cumin coarsely powdered
1/4 tsp Pepper coarsely powdered
6-8 curry leaves, torn
Salt to taste
1inch piece fresh ginger root, finely grated
5-6 cashew nuts, broken
3 tsp ghee.

Combine the dal, grits & the turmeric to the water & set to cook on the stove top. cook till the water is absorbed & the consistency is that of a tick yet ever so slightly runny porridge.

In a small skillet heat 1 tsp of ghee and add the whole peppercorns. stir for a minute before adding the other ingredients (except the remaining ghee)Stir well for a minute until the spices give off their characteristic aroma. Add to the polenta and mix well till thoroughly combined. Finish with the remaining ghee,

Stir well & pour out into a greased pan. Leave to cool & set.
When the polenta sets, cut into triangles & serve with a chutney or Sambhar of your choice. I've paired this with Eggplant 'Gothsu' which will be posted immediately after this recipe.

Pair with a steaming hot cup of Filter coffee for a perfect weekend brunch! Bon Appetit!

Comments

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear feedback from you, your thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

Popular posts from this blog

Product Review: Ninja Mega Kitchen system and a recipe for Masala Dosa

One of the biggest reasons for attending conferences is the priceless experience of meeting fellow bloggers and get an invaluable exposure to all things  culinary. This includes vendors with new products to savor and get inspiration from.

I had no complaints about whatever appliances I had for making traditional Dosa (Traditional South Indian rice & lentil crepes) batter, a sturdy tabletop stone grinder that you could add the Urad dal, turn the timer on , and 30  minutes later, come back to a container full of fluffy, batter with the consistency of whipped egg whites. The
The cons of this is the cleaning up, of the various parts, the roller, the grinding bin, the multiple trays on which the rollers need to be placed while transferring the rice & lentil batter, the invariable drips of thick batter on the counter.... you get the point, It takes quite a bit of time.

I was pleasantly surprised when the appliance company, Ninja asked me if I'd like to try any of their appli…

Khandvi deconstructed.. Chickpea flour Spaghetti & Pappardelle Pasta

Khandvi may well be my all time favorite noshing 'tiffin' tea time snack & quite possibly  because it can be pretty intimidating at first sight. a beautiful, almost impossible vision to behold, gossamer thin, jellied strips of chickpea flour & sour yogurt, tiny miniature savory Swiss rolls that delightfully wobble in your mouth before delicately disintegrating & gliding  down your throat, making way for... the next little morsel!


Unusual Ingredients - Unripe Blueberry Achar

T'was just another Summer afternoon, The kids were home for the summer holidays, getting bored, there's only so much summer reading you can force them to do, and the Indian mommy in me could no longer caution them against going out in the afternoon  (I've solemnly refused to use that horrid excuse of 'You'll get a dark tan if you stay out in the mid day sun'), and so we decided to head out to Terhune orchards for the blueberry picking. The kids never say no to outings to the orchard, they LOVE the trip there, the cute yellow dogs and the cats,  the chocolate crinkle and Snickerdoodle cookies, and they positively trip over grabbing buckets and heading joyfully towards the berry bushes...



... And there it ends, the younger one loses herself in her delightful imaginary worlds where she probably thinks she's hacking her way through virgin Amazon jungle, sighing at every branch that brushes against her legs, picks 2 or 3 berries as if they were a new as yet und…