Mung bean & grits polenta

By • March 21, 2011 7 Comments

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Author Notes: 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 recipe probably 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!
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). The toasted lentils gives the 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.
This fusion offering combines comfort foods from 2 southern regions of the world, The US of A & India.

Serves 4

Venn Polenta

  • 1/4 cup dehusked mung beans
  • 1/2 cup white cornmeal grits
  • 2 cups water
  • pinches turmeric powder


  • 8-10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin coarsely powdered
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, finely grated
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (torn & stem discarded)
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 5-6 Cashew nuts, broken up + some extra for garnish
  • Salt to taste
  1. In a skillet, toast the mung beans till they turn a golden brown & begin emitting a nutty aroma. add water to the skillet and partially cook the mung beans. remove from heat & set aside
  2. Combine the grits,partially cooked mung beans, water & turmeric cook till the water is absorbed & the consistency is that of a thick yet ever so slightly runny porridge.
  3. In a small skillet heat 1 tbsp of ghee and add the whole peppercorns. Stir for a minute before adding the other ingredients, except the remaining ghee.
  4. Stir well for a minute until the spices give off their characteristic aroma. Add to the polenta mixture and mix well till thoroughly combined. Finish with a tablespoon of ghee,
  5. Stir well & pour out into a greased pan. Leave to cool & set.
  6. Heat the remaining tablespoon of ghee & toast the cashew nuts till golden. Garnish with these prior to serving.
  7. When the polenta sets, cut into triangles & garnish with the toasted cashews.
  8. This dish is traditionally paired with a smoked eggplant relish known as 'gothsu'

Tags: bulk bin, Easy, mung beans, Vegetarian

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Comments (7) Questions (0)


over 3 years ago susan g

Finally! I saved this when you posted it, had it for dinner just last night (with yogurt and cilantro chutney). Now another slice for breakfast (at 11:50? oh, well), room temp. It has bloomed with all the parts coming together in daylight.


over 3 years ago Panfusine

Thanks Susan g. yep, the dish actually tastes better a few hrs later, The pepper tones down & blends instead if spiking the dish with heat as it does in the beginning.! So glad you liked it!


over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you for the lovely cultural lesson here. This looks magnificent, and I can practically smell your spices right now. I agree, a poached egg on top would be heavenly, and I love the eggplant relish idea. Wow, thank you, Panfusine!


over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This is great, I know you don't eat eggs but I would love with a poached egg on top. The smoked eggplant relish would go beautifully.


over 3 years ago Panfusine

I think that would be great!! ( & nope, I've no problem eating eggs at all, in fact, i LOVE eggs in fried rice & egg drop soup, not to mention the plethora of desserts that call for it) , its the process of cracking & prepping them that scares the daylights out of me!!


over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I can totally understand that, I have a thing about grit in veggies or an egg shell in the egg makes my skin crawl.


over 4 years ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

oh my! can't wait to try this. i love grits and love dal.