AGATHI KEERAI PONGAL / AUGUST TREE LEAVES PONGAL - Dwadasi Special- Learn how to make Agathi Keerai Pongal - 2 versions included

Agathi Keerai known as August tree leaves or Humming bird tree leaves in English, Avisi in Telugu, Agathi in Malayalam and Agasthi in Hindi, has numerous health benefits. As a practice, people consume  the cooked leaves on Dwadasi day after observing total fast for Ekadasi. It helps to remove toxins from the body but has to be consumed sparingly. Ayurvedic scriptures recommend consuming  Agathi twice a month. 

The recipe assumes significance on the above mentioned Dwadasi day -- when this Agathi is considered holy and appropriate to consume. Feeding these leaves to cows on this day is also considered pious and is a common for many to feed to cows on roads, temples or cattle sheds. 

Pongal is a very common South Indian breakfast at home and at restaurants. Nutritionally,  Pongal is one of the dishes that balances the Cereal- Pulse ratio supply to our bodies. A simple, healthy (of course, those who fear Ghee - I cannot say so !!) diet. This  recipe is a slightly modified, rather improvised version with Agathi leaves. Gives a different flavour, taste and well suited for the occasion. 

Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 10 min
Cuisine: South Indian
Category: Breakfast
Spice Level : Medium
Serves: 4
Level: Easy
Source: MIL
Nutritional Information: approx
Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 421
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4 g6 %
Saturated Fat 1 g5 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 3 mg1 %
Sodium 162 mg7 %
Potassium 497 mg14 %
Total Carbohydrate 82 g27 %
Dietary Fiber 8 g30 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 19 g38 %
Vitamin A1 %
Vitamin C4 %
Calcium6 %
Iron22 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
  •  1 big bunch Agathi Keerai
  • 2 1/4 cup raw rice
  • 1/2 cup Moong dhal/ Paasi Paruppu
  • 1 tbsp Toor dhal
  • 1 tbsp Pepper corns
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • A generous sprinkle of Asafoetida / use 3-4 small compounded flakes
  • A fistful Cashew nuts
  • 5 -6 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp ginger pieces, chopped fine
  • 3 sprig curry leaves
  •  a pinch of turmeric ( optional)
  • Crystal Salt to taste
  • Wash, clean and peel off Agathi leaves. Chop them coarsely and set aside.
  • Heat a Kadai and dry roast rice and dhal together for few minutes until warm. Transfer and wash well. Drain and set aside.
  • Pulse pepper corns and cumin seeds to small bits and flakes. Halve the cashew nuts.
  • Heat 3 tbsp ghee in a pressure cooker . When hot add the pepper and cumin powder. When it crackles add ginger, curry leaves , asafoetida and cashew nuts and fry well.  To this, add the chopped greens Agathi leaves and saute for 2 min.
  • Add 6 cups of water, salt to taste and turmeric. When it starts to steam, add washed rice and dhal.
  • Close with the lid and pressure cook up-to 4 whistles or until done. Once the pressure releases, open and stir the contents well. Mash lightly with a laddle and  add the remaining ghee.
  • Serve hot with any of the following mentioned below.
  •  Tiffin Sambhar 
  • Tomato Thokku
  • Sweet Mango Pickle
  • Dry roast rice and dhal. Wash well and pressure cook with 5-6 cups of water along with chopped Agathi leaves, turmeric, salt and asafoetida up- to 4 whistles or until done.
  • When the pressure releases, remove the lid and lightly mash with a laddle.
  • Heat 3 tbsp of ghee in a Kadai. When hot, fry cashew nuts and drain. In the same Kadai, fry pepper and cumin mixture, ginger and curry leaves. Add 1 cup of water.
  • When it starts to boil, add the cooked rice,dhal and greens mixture in small quantities and blend well. Continue until you have mixed all of it. The additional 1 cup water is to prevent it from drying out.
  • Add more ghee if desired and mix well. Turn off the heat and serve with accompaniment of your choice.


  1. I love agathi keerai for its astringent taste ❤️❤️

  2. Thanks for sharing the traditional recipe

  3. I am in love with the pictures specially the steam one

    1. Alka , you made my day. Its an honour for me to get an appreciation from a lovely photographer like you. Thank you. I ll work more to improve.

  4. Spectacular classic dish and with the keerai, taste is elevated further.

  5. Traditional with a twist...Love it!

  6. Too good Sowmya dear
    . Loved it


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