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Healthy Eating and Picky Eaters : Do the ends meet? June 4, 2008

Posted by live2cook in Breakfast, Rice preperations, slow cooker recipes.

The clock is ticking 4 PM. I am running to catch the commuter rail. oof! I made it on time and got a seat near window. Here! the train started moving and my thoughts too…..

What to cook for dinner? How to sneak some veggies in to my sons dinner plate? I know most of the moms out there are wondering the same too and figuring out all the possible ways to feed the family healthy food.

Yesterday, I mashed some steamed spinach along with rice and my son cried that some one put grass on his food! The other day, I served him carrots and said “Thomas (the engine) will love those who ate carrots”. After couple of bites, he returned the carrots to my plate and claimed “Mommy! thomas wants to love you too!!”.

Like all of you, I managed to find a way or two to add veggies and whole grains to my kid’s diet. But these cute little people are so clever that they will get tired of same food and challenge moms always. So I am up to find recipes that are not too hot or spicy for my son, not too bland for my DH and healthy for my satisfaction. Couple of recipes came handy so far and one such recipe is “Venn Pongal” (Savoury Rice Pudding). Yeah! the same Pongal recipe that you all know. But I have my own twists added to it. So read ahead please 🙂 .

The first twist is to replace the white rice with brown rice. The second twist is preparing it in a slow cooker. I am exploring the possibilities of using slow cooker for Indian recipes, recently. Venn pongal recipe suits very well for slow cooker. In slow cooker, rice and dhal will turn mushy because of long cooking time. But for pongal mushy consistency is what we need. Pongal tastes better when you cook the rice and dhal in the spiced water than pressure cooking the rice and adding the seasonings later. Slow cooking process helps in the flavor enhancement very well. So, I thought of preparing pongal in slow cooker. It turned out very well. I set the slow cooker before leaving for work and in the evening we were welcome with warm pongal with lots of flavor.


3 Cups Water
2 Cups Brown rice
1/2 Cup Mung dhal
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Ghee or Clarified Butter
1 tsp Black pepper corns
1 tsp Cumin seeds
10 -15 Cashew nuts (chopped)
3-4 Green chillies (chopped. If you don’t like hot food, replace with other less mild or sweet peppers)
3-4 Curry leaves
Pinch of Asafetida
Cilantro for garnishing


1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan and dry roast dhal and rice until slightly browned (This step is optional. But roasting the brown rice helps reduces the cooking time). Set aside.
2. Add the Ghee to the pan and add pepper corns, cumin and asafetida.
3. When the Pepper corns and cumin splutters, add the curry leaves,cashews and green chillies. Cook till cashews turn golden brown.
4. Pour the water carefully, add salt and bring to a rolling boil.
5. Add the water and rice mixture to a 5 quart slow cooker insert.
6. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
7. Mix well and serve garnished with cilantro.

Slow Cooker Venn Pongal

I served pongal smothered with yogurt to my son and for us I made “Chidhambaram Gothsu” in another slow cooker to go with pongal. I will post the recipe soon. So, stay tuned!

This is my entry for the event “Eat healthy – Fiber rich” hosted by Sangeeth.




1. Trupti - June 5, 2008

My youngest son adores Thomas…and I use ‘thomas’ a LOT as an excuse for him to eat and drink some new foods…it works, most of the times but the kids nowadays are so smart, they can pick out the sneaky stuff from the veggies and rice.
Your recipe with brown rice is such a healthy twist. I’ll try this one too.

2. Srivalli - June 5, 2008

thats fantastic priya…I have not used slow cooker..and my cooker gets done in 10 – 15 mins..so use that mostly..the recipe sounds interesting and yes don’t we have our share of picky eating habits…wish kids get what we give them!..:)

3. ranji - June 5, 2008

this looks good..never tried it b4..lovely entry.

4. JZ @Tasty treats - June 5, 2008

hehe, loved ur mention abt spinach-grass and carrot-love 🙂 my lil one is also very “selective”. theres a cookbook called the sneaky chef which has recipes tailored to sneak veggies and healthy stuff into regular foods…i have not experimented with that, but i hear its good!! just thot u wud like to know….

5. sangeeth - June 8, 2008

lovely post and very healthy recipe….thanks for the entry

6. live2cook - June 10, 2008

Hi Trupti,

Oh yeah! Thomas is my life saver! 🙂

Hi Srivalli,

I wish the same too. 🙂

Yes. Pressure cooker is the best. But with slow cooker, if we set up the ingredients the previous night, we can wake up for warm and delicious meal. For my current life style, slow cooker suits well.

Hi ranji,

Thank you. Please do try the recipe and leave your feedback.

Hi JZ,

Thank you. I will check for the book in local library and Amazon.com.

Hi Sangeeth,

Thank you.

7. Madhuram - December 19, 2008

How have you been Priya? I have wanted to make brown rice pongal for long time now. Today I googled and made my way here. I’m going to try this today.

8. Healthy Eating Plan - Healthy Women Blog's - September 29, 2009

[…]If you able to always stay on your healthy eating plan you’ll feel that eating healthy foods isn’t a diet but it’ll become your living habit[…]

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