Monday, November 14, 2022

Cranberry Pulipongal

Cranberry Pulipongal is a vegan, easy to make dish that is tastier too! This comforting meal is easy to make and is great for any weeknight meal, and can be a great holiday side too! 

Cranberry Pulipongal is a fusion of two comforting foods puli nendal and Pongal. Puli nendal is a tangy dish made with tamarind and broken rice. Broken rice is inexpensive and is used in peasant meals. But some comforting meals also use it. My mom grew up in an agricultural household and they used to mill rice too along with cultivating grains, pulses, and vegetables! She is versatile in using many ingredients in a unique manner. Most of my cooking have her methods as the foundation and the puli nendal is a favorite of mine that she used makes for us in a jiffy. Puli means tangy, and using the tamarind water, the nendal can be made quickly. It doesn't have any dal and so cooks quicker. Pongal is a risotto of rice and dals minus wine. This Pulipongal uses cranberry in the place of tamarind, and is made with broken rice like the puli nendal and uses the dal, cumin, and pepper, similar to pongal. In fact this also tastes like this arisi upma but with cranberries. The ginger, heat from pepper, Thai chili, red chili pepper, the cranberry, peanuts, rice and dal give the amazing balance in flavors and textures in this dish. 

Broken rice is available in stores but it may be too fine. This should have a little bigger size than semolina. It is easier to make in a jiffy. Rinse the rice and dal, drain it in a colander for 10 minutes. Pulse in your food processor to get uniform coarse grains. I follow this foolproof procedure every time with rice to make arisi upma.

Sesame oil brings out the flavors in this dish, and if possible try to use the same. Peanuts or pecans are my favorite in this recipe. For a variation, broken wheat can also be used instead of rice. When the rice and dal sits in the colander, pulse the cranberries and prep the ginger and Thai chili. This way it is easier to cook the dish quicker. There is more inactive cooking time, and hence it is easier to fix a salad while this cooks. In about 35 minutes, this will be ready at the table for the whole family to enjoy. This can be served as such. There is no need for an accompaniment, but a papad would be great. I like to serve these with spicy sweet potatoes and make a wonderful meal with the seasonal produce.

Cranberries are bright tart beauties and I love to use the fresh ones in many possible ways in savory as well as sweet recipes. The tartness of these cranberries make it a great substitute for tamarind, and I try to use it in our traditional recipes. This cranberry Rasam is a great choice for the season.

Welcome to #CranberryWeek where we celebrate all things cranberry! We have 11 bloggers sharing over 25 recipes this week. There are sweets, savories, and even a few beverages this week. Make sure to follow #CranberryWeek on social media to see all the delicious recipes we’re sharing this week. Thanks Christie for hosting this event.

Here are some delicious cranberry recipes from the blog.

Spicy Cranberry Soup/Cranberry Rasam

Vegan Almond 
Coconut and Cranberry Chutney

Serves 4-8

Sesame oil - 5-6 tbsp
Cranberries - 1 cup
Rice - 1 cup
Split yellow moong dal - 1/4 cup
Water - 4  cups
Salt - 1.5 tsp
Thai chili - 2
Dried red chili - 4, torn
Cumin - 3/4 tsp
Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds  - 3/4 tsp
Split urad dal - 3/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Asafetida - 1/4 tsp
Ginger - 1 tsp
Peanuts - 1/3 cup


Rinse the rice and dal. Drain in a colander for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, pulse the cranberries.

After 10 min, pulse the rice and dal in the food processor to a coarse texture.

Heat the sesame oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium flame. Add the dried red chilies, mustard seeds, and when the mustard seeds splutter, add the split urad dal, cumin, whole black pepper, and peanuts. Fry for 40-50 seconds. Add the ginger, slit Thai green chili, curry leaves, followed by asafetida. Fry for 20-30 seconds.

Add the coarse rice-dal mixture and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add the water, followed by cranberries and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and cook.

After 7 to eight minutes, the rice and dal would have absorbed most of the liquid. Lower the flame, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Switch off the flame, let it rest for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork.

Serve warm.

Monday’s Cranberry Recipes


  1. How cool to use cranberries in this dish.

  2. I love learning of your culture through your posts, memories and recipes.

  3. I love finding new recipes to try! This is so creative. Can't wait to try it!

  4. I am always looking for a new unique side dish!

  5. That sounds so delicious. All those flavors with the cracked rice and dal. One flavor packed side dish!