Monday, October 31, 2022

Brown Butter Pumpkin Sage Pongal

Brown butter pumpkin sage Pongal, as the name suggests is a delicious meal with tons of flavor from the nutty brown butter, hints of sage perfectly balanced with pumpkin and the black pepper. The added pecan in the bite makes it special for the holidays.

Pongal is a classic and festive food in South India. This can be called a South Indian risotto but without any wine. There is a sweet and savory version of Pongal. I grew up having a fair amount of Pongal and I make it often in our home. Though I like both the versions, the savory Pongal ranks a teeny tiny bit higher, as this can be a meal by itself and could be a side. 

It is made with rice, yellow split moong dal and flavored with cumin, black pepper, ginger, asafetida, curry leaves and a lavish amount of ghee. And of course with cashew nuts. This is made for special occasions as well as for a quick meal. This is divine!!! If you like the sound of the flavors, be sure to check here for different Pongal recipes.

Coming back, this particular recipe uses the amazing, delicious, and nutritious pumpkin. Though I love to use pumpkins in sweeter form like in these loaves, muffins, or cookies, I love to use them in savory and spicy recipes. Do not forget that pumpkin is delicious in breads, flatbreads, and rolls too! The sweet pumpkin works perfectly well with the spicy heat and tastes yum! 

The yellow split moong dal is easier to digest, cooks faster, and is one of the common dals we use most of the days. This dal has an amazing protein profile adding to the nutrition. It also doesn’t require any soaking. This is also the dal we use in our traditional Pongal recipe.

Sage has a bitter flavor like Methi and it tastes yummy with pumpkin. I have used sage instead of curry leaves, as it pairs well with the ingredients used. Also using locally available herbs and produce are budget friendly too. Sage with potatoes, pumpkins, rice, or pasta creates a wonderful medley of flavors, and if you haven’t tried it, better try now! 

 Brown butter…. Smells heavenly! During my younger days, I have never tasted brown butter and when I tried it two decades back, I loved it! On and off I make brown butter pasta for a quick and tasty meal, and sometimes with pumpkin. 

Pecans are used in this recipe. This Pongal screams the flavors of the fall season. Pecans and pumpkins par well like in these delicious loaves. Feel free to swap with cashews or any other nuts if you prefer. 

Pumpkin and brown butter are best buddies and when used in this Pongal recipe instead of regular ghee, gives top notch flavors!! Who can deny the bowl of divine flavors combined together. 

This brown butter  pumpkin sage Pongal can be served as a delicious side or as a comforting meal. This is easy to prepare and is best to serve hot or warm. Just reheat and serve if you made it ahead, but it is easier to make this in a lesser time making it a great option. This serves 8-10 as a side, and four as a main meal. If you are serving this as the meal, pair with this Instant Pot Tiffin Sambhar or this cranberry coconut almond chutney, pecan chutney, or plain coconut chutney. Leftovers, if any, can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Microwave the pongal and serve.

Welcome to Holiday Side Dish Week 2022 hosted by Heather from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks. This year we have over 45 side dishes to help you plan your holiday meals. Make sure to scroll down this page to check the delicious sides we shared today. Thanks, Heather!

If you are looking for some delicious sides, here are a few that would become your favorites.

Serves 4 - 10

Rice - 3/4 cup
Split yellow moong dal - 1/4 cup
Shredded pumpkin - 1 and 1/4 cup
Salt - 1 and 1/4 tsp
Butter - 6 to 7 tbsp
Pecan - 1/3 cup
Sage - 8 to 10 leaves
Whole black pepper - 3/4 tsp
Cumin - 1 tsp
Black pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafetida - 1/4 tsp
Ginger - 1 tsp, finely chopped


Add the rice, dal, water and shredded pumpkin to the Instant Pot bowl. Switch it on in rice mode. Once it is done, after a few minutes, the pressure can be released manually or if you have time, wait for natural release.

When the rice is almost done, heat a heavy-bottomed pan with butter over medium flame. It would melt and in about 5-7 minutes, the milk solids would begin to separate and turn into brown color at the bottom. Do not let it burn.

Add the cumin, whole black pepper, and let it bloom for 40-50 seconds. Next add the pecans, ginger, black pepper powder, asafetida, and sage, and fry for 20-30 seconds.

Pour this on to the rice, add salt, and combine thoroughly.

Serve hot or warm with chutney or sambhar.

Monday Holiday Side Dish Recipes:


  1. I happen to have sage growing in my yard!

  2. How can you go wrong with pumpkin and brown butter???

  3. I wanted to come back and say....This sounds delicious Radha....I accidentally called you Sneha in my previous comment. You both serve up such great traditional recipes from your culture.

  4. What fantastic Fall flavors in this Pongal. Pumpkin, sage and pecans really make it a great Holiday side dish.

  5. I love sage in fall recipes! Count me in!

  6. Such delicious flavors combined in this dish!

  7. I love all of these flavors and this would be delicious with any meal! Perfect side for Fall!

  8. You have an amazing combination of flavors in this dish! It really looks and sounds delicious!!