Little Millet Pongal Recipe | Samai Pongal | Millet Pongal

post modified on October 10

Written by Puja

Little Millet Pongal Recipe is a special and tasty South Indian Dish. This recipe is made from a unique grain called ‘little millet,’ also called samai. It’s like a flavorful and healthy twist on regular rice pongal.

Little Millet Pongal

About Little Millet Pongal Recipe:

“Pongal is a dish from South India that’s a bit like moong dal khichdi. It’s light on your tummy and not hard to cook. Usually, Pongal is made with rice, but today, I’ll tell you about a healthier version made with millet, especially Little Millet.”

“If you don’t have Little millet (samai), you can try using other millets like Foxtail millet, Kodo millet, or Barnyard millet. They all taste just as delicious!”

It’s a favorite dish in the southern parts of India, like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.

Imagine having a bowl of warm, comforting food that also gives you lots of energy. That’s what Little Millet Pongal does! It’s like a cozy hug for your taste buds, and it helps you grow big and strong. So, if you ever want a delicious and nutritious meal, give Little Millet Pongal a try!”

Recently I tried Little Millet Upma, and it turned out really well. I think you should also try, if you are bored of regular upma recipe.

Millet Pongal

What are Millets?

Millets are tiny plants that people have grown for a very long time in different places like Asia and Africa. They’re strong, can grow in many climates, and are good for you. Some kinds of millets are:

  1. Pearl Millet (Bajra): Grown in Africa and the Indian subcontinent, pearl millet is a drought-tolerant crop and a significant food source in arid regions.
  2. Finger Millet (Ragi): Popular in India and Africa, finger millet is rich in calcium and is often used to make porridge, roti, and other dishes.
  3. Sorghum (Jowar): Sorghum is widely cultivated and used for various purposes, including as a grain for human consumption and fodder for livestock.
  4. Foxtail Millet: This millet is a common ingredient in South Indian cuisine and is used to make dishes like upma and idli.
  5. Little Millet: As the name suggests, it has small grains and is commonly used in South India to prepare upma, pongal, and other dishes.
  6. Proso Millet: Often grown in dry regions, proso millet is used in various culinary applications, including as a cereal grain and in baked goods.
  7. Kodo Millet: This millet is a good source of fiber and is used in dishes like dosa, idli, and porridge.

Millets are becoming famous all around the world because they’re healthy, don’t have gluten, and can grow in tough places. They have good things like fiber, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs. Also, growing millet is good for the environment because it uses less water and grows faster than some other grains like rice and wheat.

Benefits of Millets:

“Millet is a special grain that gives us energy slowly, not too fast like rice and wheat. It’s full of good stuff like calcium, protein, and fiber. And guess what? It doesn’t have gluten, unlike rice and wheat.”

Keep away diabetes
Keep your heart healthy
Help prevent cancer
Keep you looking young
Balance your cholesterol
Make your bones strong
Help your tummy work well

Serving Suggestion:

“Millet Pongal tastes great with spicy coconut chutney or sambar. You can also enjoy it with papad/appalam and pickle for a fast and delicious meal.” I also tried this along with some plain curd, pickle,s, and some potato chips. And it tastes heavenly.

Little Millet Pongal is best enjoyed when it’s warm and freshly made, so dig in while it’s still hot! 🙂

Storage Suggestion:

After you’ve had your Millet Pongal, if there’s any left, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. To keep it fresh, seal the container tightly. When you’re ready to eat it again, you can reheat it in the microwave or on the stove.

If you choose to reheat it on the stove, you can add a bit of hot water to get the right consistency. However, it’s best to make just enough Pongal to enjoy it fresh whenever possible.”

Pro Tips:

Rinse the Millet: Before cooking, rinse the little millet thoroughly under running water. This helps remove dirt and also any excess starch and ensures the Pongal turns out fluffy.

Roast the Millet: For extra flavor, you can dry roast the millet in a pan for a few minutes before cooking. It enhances the nutty taste of the millet.

Use Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh spices and herbs like ginger, curry leaves, and black peppercorns for the best flavor.

Tempering: The tempering (tadka) with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and cashew nuts adds a delightful crunch and aroma. Fry these ingredients in ghee or oil(to make it vegan) until they turn golden brown before adding to the Pongal.

Proper Ratios: Follow the right water-to-millet ratio. Usually, it’s around 1:3 or 1:4 (1 part millet to 3 or 4 parts water) for a creamy consistency.

Simmer and Stir: After adding millet and water, simmer on low heat and stir occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking. (In case you are not cooking in a pressure cooker)

Add Ghee: A little ghee not only adds a rich flavor but also enhances the texture of the Pongal. You can also add some at the end before serving.

Customize the Veggies: You can add finely chopped vegetables like carrots or peas to make your Pongal more nutritious and colorful.

Adjust Spices: Adjust the level of spiciness and salt to suit your taste.

Serve Hot: Little Millet Pongal is best enjoyed when it’s hot and fresh, so serve it immediately after cooking.

Why You Should Make this Recipe?

“Little Millet, known as ‘Samai’ in Tamil, ‘Kutki’ in Hindi, ‘Saame Akki’ in Kannada, ‘Chama’ in Malayalam, and ‘Sama’ in Telugu, is a highly nutritious type of millet.” You should make Little Millet Pongal because:

  1. Healthy Choice: Little millet is packed with nutrients, making it a wholesome and nutritious meal choice. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  2. Gluten-Free: It’s a great option if you’re sensitive to gluten since millets are naturally gluten-free.
  3. Balanced Energy: Little Millet Pongal provides a slow and steady release of energy, helping you stay full and energized throughout the day.
  4. Good for Your Heart: It can help in managing cholesterol levels and promoting heart health.
  5. Versatile: Little Millet Pongal is versatile and can be customized with various spices and vegetables to suit your taste.
  6. Easy to Prepare: It’s relatively easy to make, making it a quick and convenient meal option.
  7. Delicious: Above all, it’s incredibly tasty, offering a delightful blend of flavors and textures.

So, making Little Millet Pongal is not only a flavorful choice but also a healthy one that can benefit your well-being.

Little Millet Pongal Recipe

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Basic Ingredients Used To Make this Recipe:

To make the Little Millet Pongal Recipe, you would need the same ingredients you use to make rice pongal, the only different ingredient you would need is little millet.

Millet: I’ve used Little Millet, but you can try Foxtail millet, Kodo Millet, Proso, or any variety for this recipe.

Yellow Moong Dal: Use split yellow moong dal without the skin.

Black Pepper: I’ve used whole black peppercorns, but you can also use crushed black pepper if you prefer.

Spices & herbs: Don’t leave out any spices & herbs like cumin seeds, hing, ginger, curry leaves, and green chilies for this recipe. They make the dish tasty.

Nuts: I added cashews, but you can skip them if you have a nut allergy.

Ghee: Using ghee gives the dish a wonderful taste and aroma. If you’re vegan, you can use oil as a substitute.”

Little Millet Pongal

Little Millet Pongal

Little Millet Pongal is a special and tasty South Indian Recipe. This recipe is made from a unique grain called ‘little millet,’ also called samai. It’s like a flavorful and healthy twist on regular rice pongal.
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Course: Breakfast, dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: little millet pongal
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 277kcal
Author: Puja


  • 1/2 cup Little Millet
  • 1/2 cup Yellow Moong Dal
  • 4 cups Water plus 1 cup extra to adjust consistency
  • 2 tbsp Ghee/Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Whole Black Pepper/Peppercorns slightly crushed
  • 2-3 Green chilies
  • 1 tsp Ginger grated
  • 1 Curry leaves 1 stalk
  • 8-10 Cashew nuts
  • Asafoetida 2 pinch
  • Coriander Leaves handful,finely chopped
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pressure cooker and add the washed dal, Saute well for 1-2 minutes till the dal turns light brown or aromatic. Then add millets to it.
  • Add 4 cups of water, and mix well.
  • Close the lid and put the whistle weight on. Cook for 4-5 whistles on medium flame and turn off the gas.
  • Once the pressure has been released, open the lid and Mix the mixture well.
  • Now in a pan add the remaining ghee, once it’s hot add jeera, and crushed black pepper and sauté for a few seconds.
  • Next add the green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, cashew nuts, and asafotida. Saute for another 30 seconds till cashews turn light golden brown.
  • Add this tempering to the Pongal and boil. (If pongal is not mushy then add 1 cup of water and adjust consistency).
  • Millet Pongal is ready to serve with curd/ yogurt, raita, sambhar, or coconut chutney.


Nutrition Facts
Little Millet Pongal
Amount Per Serving
Calories 277 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 19mg6%
Sodium 97mg4%
Potassium 87mg2%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 69IU1%
Vitamin C 8mg10%
Calcium 28mg3%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Frequently Asked Questions about this Recipe:

What is Little Millet Pongal?

Little Millet Pongal is a delicious and nutritious South Indian dish made from little millet, a tiny and healthy grain. It’s often cooked with spices, lentils, and sometimes vegetables, resulting in a flavorful and wholesome meal.

How Does Little Millet Pongal Taste?

Little Millet Pongal has a nutty and slightly earthy flavor. It’s savory, and aromatic, and often has a pleasant spiciness from ingredients like black pepper and green chilies.

Is Little Millet Pongal gluten-free?

Yes, it’s gluten-free! Little Millet Pongal is a great choice for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease because millets are naturally gluten-free grains.

Can I customize Little Millet Pongal with vegetables?

Absolutely! You can add chopped vegetables like carrots, peas, or beans to make it even more nutritious and colorful.

Can I make Little Millet Pongal vegan?

Yes, you can! Simply replace ghee with your favorite cooking oil to make it vegan-friendly.

What are the health benefits of Little Millet Pongal?

Little Millet Pongal is rich in nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It provides steady energy, promotes heart health, and aids in digestion.

Can I use other types of millet for this recipe?

Yes, it can be a nutritious and tasty meal for kids, especially if you adjust the spiciness to their liking and include their favorite vegetables.

My Recommended Product:

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Please note that this recommendation is based on my personal experience and preferences, I encourage you to do your own research and choose a product that best suits your needs and budget.”

You can even check out my PAGE on Amazon, where you will find my favorite kitchen tools, Appliances, Accessories, and more HERE.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a small commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission

I receive from your purchases. I am an independent blogger and the reviews are done based on my own opinions. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

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A self-proclaimed Champion Cook, who gets the confidence from the love and praises showered upon me by my family consisting of a Cute little Daughter and a husband who loves the Internet more than me (LoL..) and who incidentally happens to be the man behind the technical aspects of this blog.
I love working from home and the benefits that come from it and that is why I started this blog where I document all my adventures with cooking.
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