Healthy Brown Rice Pongal

(from 1 review)
Brown Rice Pongal

We have started using brown rice quite often these days. The first dish I ever tried with brown rice was pongal and I have to agree that I did not get it right.

Only after 2 failed attempts I figured out the ratio of water and brown rice. Cooking brown rice in a pressure cooker is a breeze. The brown rice, water ratio is 2 and 1/2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice, if you are preparing dishes like pongal, bisi bele bath etc.

For these dishes the rice has to be cooked well, so leave the cooker on for 5-6 whistles. If you are going to make fried rice or any other dish which doesn't require sticky rice, the ratio of water is 2 and 1/4 cups of water and leave it just for 1 or 2 whistles and remove the cooker from the stove.

These days I prefer brown rice pongal to the traditional white rice pongal. This is healthy and definitely very filling. The only one negative thing I observed with brown rice is, it may give stomach cramps initially. Let me stress here again on "may". My husband did not have any problems at all. On the other hand I developed severe stomach cramps on the second day after eating brown rice consecutively for two days.

I spoke with my nurse to find out the reason and she explained that since brown rice is whole grain, drinking more water would help with easy digestion of the fiber. Now don't make this an excuse to avoid using brown rice because it's not the case with everybody. Since our(my) body is used to white flour and rice, it may take some time to tolerate the extra effort it has to put to digest whole grains. So increase your consumption of brown rice gradually and also drink a lot of water.


Healthy Brown Rice Pongal Recipe

Prep time
30 Mins
Cook time
30 Mins
2-3 Servings
Healthy Brown Rice Pongal
5.0 from 1 reviews
Give a healthy spin to the traditional Pongal recipe by using brown rice instead of white rice.
  • 3/4 cup Brown Rice
  • 1/2 cup Moong Daal
  • 3 and 1/4 cups Water
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Grated Ginger
  • as per taste Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee
  • 5 to 6 Curry Leaves
  • As Needed Cashews Broken Into Small Pieces (Optional)
  1. Wash the rice and daal together a couple of times. Add the rice, daal, water, pepper powder, cumin and grated ginger in a pressure cooker directly and let it stand for at least 30 minutes. Soaking brown rice in water before cooking is suggested for added health benefits. You need not do this if using white rice.
  2. Cook it in low-medium heat and leave it for 6 whistles. Switch of the stove and remove the cooker from the stove.
  3. Meanwhile in a small frying pan heat the ghee, add the curry leaves and fry the cashew pieces (if using) until golden brown.
  4. Once you are able to open the cooker add required amount of salt and pour the heated ghee and mix well.
  5. Eat it hot with chutney, sambar or the traditional accompaniment Eggplant Gojju or Gothsu.
My Notes:
  1. Pongal is made with white rice (preferably ponni raw rice or even sona masuri). To adopt a healthy lifestyle I have used brown rice instead.
  2. Traditionally rice and daal are cooked first. Then ghee is heated, to fry cumin, pepper, ginger and cashews, which is added to the cooked rice. You could do it either way.
  3. Also whole peppercorns are used for pongal. In our house we don't like biting full peppers, so I use black pepper powder.
Tried this recipe? Give your feedback below
Brown Rice Pongal


  1. Great healthy recipe. Please google about the need to soak whole grains and discard soak water. That might solve your stomach cramps.

  2. Healthy recipe. Never thought of using brown rice in pongal. Also, you could use split moong daal with husk than regular moong daal. It makes healthier recipe…..

    Yes, that’s a good idea Sujatha.

  3. hi, thanks for the recipe,may i know that the brown rice and kerala rice r the same and can u please provide me the procedure to cook kerala rice in pressure cooker for regular meal.

    thanks in advance.

    Hi Divya, I’m not sure if both are one and the same. I’ve heard about roematta rice in Kerala and one of my friend used to tell that it takes about 12-15 whistles to cook.

  4. Hi Madhuram,

    I have started trying brown rice recently. I made Pongal using it but it din’t turn out well. There are lot of brown rice varities in the market. I am using a short grain (kind of round) variety from wholefoodsmarket (bulk section). Which variety do you using for making your recipes?

    Jayanthi, until recently I had been using only long grain brown rice. The brown rice pongal and brown rice bisibele bath were prepared using long grain rice. Recently I started using short grain and I also found that the water ratio I had used for long grain did not work for this. I had to try a couple of times before finding the correct ratio. Short grain rice (at least the brand I’m using) needs only 1 and 1/4 cup water for 1 cup rice, as against 2 and 1/2 cups for long grain rice. Also soaking the rice overnight and cooking it in hot water makes it better. Hope this helps.

  5. hi, i would like to know how many does this recipe serves?…it look real good but i dont want to make too much! thanks.

    It serves 2 people.


Tried this recipe? Click on stars to rate: