In a heavy bottom pan, dry roast rice and dal separately until it gives out a nice aroma. Take care not to burn, keep the flame simmer while roasting.
Take the roasted ingredients in a pan/bowl/vessel that fits inside your pressure cooker. Add water and milk to this, mix well and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
If vegan or allergic to milk or milk products, skip the milk and cook it entirely in water.
Heat a kadai with ghee, when hot, splutter mustard seeds, add ginger, curry leaves and cashew-nuts. When the cashew-nuts turn golden, tip in the cumin seeds.
Immediately tip in the cooked rice and dal mix to this tempering. Add 1/4 cup of water to the vessel in which the rice and dal was cooked, wash it and add it back to the pan. Add salt and pepper to this and mix well.
Let this mix cook until the liquid is absorbed. Let this sit on the stove until it becomes saucy. Do not cook it until dry. It will take 10 minutes for it becomes saucy
Pongal tends to become dry as it rests. So make sure you remove the pongal when it is saucy, not watery, not dry, just saucy.
Remove it from heat and serve it warm with chutney and sambar