Wheat Pongal

Pongal, a harvest festival, is celebrated here to thank the Sun God. Sun is regarded as the creator and sustainer of life on earth, and worshipping the Sun is an age-old practice still followed in India. We could find several hymns praising the Sun god in our scriptures and also several temples enshrining the Sun god (Surya) as the primary deity across India. Suryanaar temple is one of the Sun temples in south India (Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu) where wheat pongal is offered to the deity. So we can also prepare wheat pongal instead of rice pongal on this Pongal festival and offer to the Sun God.

sakkarai-pongal-using-samba-gothumai-rava Wheat Pongal
                             Sakkarai pongal using samba godhumai rava

Now I have prepared both the savoury pongal (venn pongal) and sweet pongal (sakkarai pongal) using broken wheat. I used fresh turmeric root instead of turmeric powder for savoury pongal, and also used banana & dates as natural sweeteners along with little jaggery for sweet pongal.

venn-pongal Wheat Pongal
Venn pongal using samba godhumai rava

Generally we serve savoury pongal with sambar but my grand mother used to prepare mildly-spiced kathrikai gothsu (eggplant curry) or peerkangai gothsu (ridge gourd curry) and serve with venn pongal.

peerk-gothsu Wheat Pongal
Peerkangai gothsu,
a perfect side dish for venn pongal

Now the recipes for sweet pongal & savoury pongal using wheat rava.


Broken wheat1 cup
Green gram lentils (paasi paruppu)1/2 cup
Venn Pongal: 
Neutral oil (I used sunflower oil)25 ml
Ghee1 tbsp
Cumin seeds1/2 tbsp
Peppercorns1/2 tsp
Crushed pepper1/2 tsp
Asafoetida powder1/8 tsp
Fresh turmeric root2″
Ginger root2″
Cashew nutsas desired
Curry leaves1 sprig
Salt1 tsp
Sakkarai Pongal: 
Fully ripe banana (I used nendram pazham)1
Jaggeryas needed
Ghee2 tbsp
Cashew nutsas desired
Raisinsas desired


  • First we need to dry roast both the wheat & lentils until hot & aromatic.
  • Wash them and then add into hot boiling water.
  • Cook in medium flame until soft & mushy.
  • Remove from heat and keep aside.
  • I used 3/4 of pongal for making venn pongal and the remaining for sakkarai pongal.
wheat-pongal Wheat Pongal

Savoury Pongal:

  • Heat a large pan with neutral oil in medium flame.
  • Add cumin seeds, pepper, grated turmeric & ginger into the pan.
  • Saute until the raw smell of turmeric & ginger disappeared.
  • Add cashew nuts & curry leaves and fry for few seconds.
  • Add pongal into the pan and mix well.
  • Add crushed pepper, asafoetida powder & salt and stir until combined.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Serve hot venn pongal after adding little ghee.
venn-pongal-using-wheat Wheat Pongal
Savory pongal using fresh turmeric root

Sweet Pongal:

  • First prepare a puree of banana & dates using a food processor (or a mixer) and keep aside.
  • Heat a sauce pan with water (50 ml) and add powdered jaggery to prepare the jaggery syrup as below.
  • Pour jaggery syrup over pongal and cook in medium flame.
  • Add banana & dates puree and stir until combined.
  • Add cardamom powder into the pan.
  • Meanwhile fry cashew nuts and raisins in ghee and add them to pongal.
  • Serve hot sakkarai pongal as a dessert for breakfast or lunch.
sakkarai-pongal-using-wheat Wheat Pongal
Sweet pongal using banana, dates & jaggery

I served both the savory and sweet pongal for breakfast along with red rice (red kavuni arisi) idli & vadai and also with peerkangai gothsu & coconut chutney as the sides.

pongal-platter Wheat Pongal
Pongal platter consisting of
godhumai pongal, vadai, kavuni arisi idli, peerkangai gothsu & coconut chutney

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