Wash rice and dal well separately and keep aside.
Heat 1 tsp of ghee in a pressure pan or cooker, add chopped ginger and saute for few seconds in low flame.
Turn stove to high, add 3 cups of water, rice, dal, asafoetida, salt and cook for 4 whistles.
Once the pressure is released, open the cooker and check the consistency.
Pongal should be soft and smooth, like oatmeal or porridge would be. When you scoop a ladle of Pongal into a bowl or plate, it should not stick to the ladle. That’s when you know you’ve done it right!
If Pongal is dry or thick, add hot water or milk, about ½ a cup, cook on low flame until it gets soft and smooth. Stir occasionally and gently. We do not want a gooey, sticky Pongal here.
Heat 1 tsp of ghee* in a small fry pan, add black pepper, cover the pan with a lid and lower the flame. When the pepper begins to splutter, add cumin. Cumin will immediately begin to splutter, add curry leaves and pour the sizzling spices onto Pongal and mix well.
Fry cashews in 1 tsp of ghee in low flame until light golden.*
Garnish Pongal with the cashews and 1 or 2 tsp of melted ghee on top for that yummy, extra rich flavor!