Sweet Pongal is a delicious south Indian dish made with rice, moong lentils, ghee, jaggery or sugar, cardamom, and nuts. In fact, it is a traditional dish mostly made as an offering to Indian deities on special occasions & festivals. Sweet pongee is known as Chakkara Pongal in Telugu and Sakkarai Pongal in Tamil.
My Army Life:
We currently live in Hyderabad. This was our first posting in the south. During the past year, I have learned a lot about south Indian culture and cuisine. The four major states famous for their south Indian cuisine are Tamil Nadu, Kerela, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Intriguing and diverse, these regional cuisines reflect the natural resources of each area, as well as the rich ethnic mixture of its people.
South Indian festivals are a lot of fun and celebrated with a lot of zeal. During festivals, they offer different types of sweets and savouries to deities.
After my marriage, I made a south-Indian friend in our neighbourhood. Her mom-in-law was a very good cook and called us home for lunch/ dinner on special occasions. In fact, It was my first exposure to traditional south-Indian food. Being a north-Indian Punjabi, dosa idli and sambhar are the only considerably south-Indian foods for us. After meeting Padma and aunty I got to know the vast cuisine of south India.
After leaving Pune, Padma and I always missed that super delicious food. Despite my love for that amazing cuisine, I never tried it at home and forgot about it after three-four postings. However, when we shifted to Hyderabad I went down memory lane and recalled Padma and aunty. I remember aunty used to make Sweet Pongal during the Makarsakranti festival and we used to relish that. Sweet Pongal is one of my husband’s favourite south Indian dishes too.
What is Sweet Pongal ?
Sweet Pongal is made in many traditional south Indian homes on the day of the Makar Sankranti or Pongal festival. After preparing sweet Pongal it is offered as naivedyam to the Sun God.
It is mostly made on Fridays or Tuesdays in Goddess Lakshmi & Durga Temples as a bhog. During poojas or on auspicious days, I make sweets to offer to the gods and goddesses. Whenever I offer anything to the deities, I always add a pinch of edible camphor in these delicacies, which I also learned from my south Indian aunt. Adding edible camphor is entirely optional and you can skip it. However, this time I offered it to Lord Ganesha as a nevedhayam. And distributed among all the devotees.
Can I use Sweet Pongal as dessert?
Yes of course!! In fact, my husband and daughters liked it so much that I make it on a regular basis too. However, If you read my posts regularly, you’ll know very well why I make lots of sweets! Yes, because of my husband. He loves sweets and I love to cook for him. Hence, Sweet Pongal is one of those easy to make sweet recipes that I love to make.
Furthermore, You will find it easier to make sweet recipes in my blog category Indian Sweets. I love sweets and I would like to suggest a few of my favourites like…
- And so on..
How to make Sweet Pongal with jaggery:
I have divided the entire step by step sweet Pongal recipe into 5 steps for ease of understanding and making it.
- 1 – roasting rice and moong dal
- 2 – cooking rice & moong dal for sweet Pongal
- 3 – preparing jaggery syrup for sweet Pongal
- 4 – making sweet Pongal
- 5- frying dry fruits for Sweet Pongal
Sweet Pongal || Sakkarai Pongal
- pressure cooker
- Tadka pan
- ½ cup rice
- ½ cup moong dal
- 2 piece cardamom
- 1 inch cinamom
- ¼ tsp sauf
- 1 tsp ghee for tempering
- 3 cups water for pressure cooking
- 120 grams jaggery or ½ cup tightly packed grated or chopped jaggery or ½ cup tightly packed jaggery powder
- ½ cup water for the jaggery solution
- a small pinch of edible camphor optional
- 5 green cardamoms optional – crushed in mortar-pestle or ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- **For Frying Dry Fruits**
- 4 to 5 tablespoon ghee
- 15 to 18 cashews and almonds
- 1 tablespoon golden raisins
- 2 tablespoon coconut sliced
- Roasting Rice & Moong Dal
- Pick ½ cup rice and ½ cup moong dal first to get rid of stones if any. Rinse both the roasted rice and moong dal a couple of times with water. Drain well
- Then heat a small pan or a small kadai and add both the rice and moong lentils. with 1tbsp of ghee.
- On a low flame stirring often roast both the rice and moong lentils, till they become aromatic.
- You only need to roast till the moong lentils become aromatic. No need to brown them.
- in a small pan heat ghee and add cinnamon, cardemom, and sauf, stir and add to rice and daal.
- Now put them in presure cooker and add water.
- Cooking Rice & Moong Dal
- Pour 3 cups water. The amount of water to be added depends on the consistency you want and also on the quality of moong dal.
- Pressure cook on medium flame for 12 to 14 minutes or for 4 to 5 whistles.
- Let the pressure settle down on its own and then you remove the lid to check the doneness and consistency. If the pongal has a consistency like that of a pulao, then add ½ to 1 cup hot water and mix very well.
- Both the rice and the moong dal should be cooked very well. With a spoon, slightly mash the cooked rice and moong lentils. If cooked well, then cover with the lid and keep aside. The consistency of a pongal is like khichdi.
- Preparing Jaggery Syrup:
- Meanwhile when the rice is cooking, crush seeds of 5 green cardamoms in a mortar-pestle. If using cardamom powder alone, then you can add ½ teaspoon of it.
- Also chop 115 to 120 grams jaggery. You should get about½ cup tightly packed, chopped or grated jaggery. This much amount of jaggery makes the pongal just sweet.
- Now take ½ cup water in a pan. Add the jaggery.
- On a low to medium flame, heat this jaggery solution till the jaggery melts completely.
- Do stir and break the jaggery chunks or pieces with a spatula so that they melt easily.
- You will get an amber colored syrup when all the jaggery is melted, if you have used dark jaggery. If you have light colored jaggery, then the color will be pale yellow to yellow.
- Making Sweet Pongal:
- Straining the jaggery syrup through a seive, directly add it in the cooked rice+lentils mixture. If using jaggery powder, you can add directly.
- Now add the crushed cardamom powder and a pinch of edible camphor.
- Mix everything very well. Pongal will thicken as it cools down. So if the mixture looks thick, then you can add ¼ to ⅓ cup hot water.
- Frying Dry Fruits:
- Heat 5 tablespoons ghee. You can add less ghee if you want.
- Add the 12 to 15 cashews. Saute the cashews till they become light golden.
- Then add 1 tablespoons raisins. Begin to stir & fry.
- Stirring often fry till the raisins swell and become plump.
- Then immediately remove the pan from the stovetop and add the fried cashews,almonds and coconut, raisins and ghee to the pongal mixture. Mix very well.
- Offer to the goddess or you can serve sweet pongal hot or warm to your family members
- Usually, I cook the moong lentils for 4 to 5 whistles. So I add 3 cups of water. If you get moong dal, which cooks quickly in 2 to 3 whistles, then add 2 to 2.5 cups water.
- For more sweetness, you can add ¼ cup more. At times I also use jaggery powder and add it directly to the cooked rice+moong lentils.
- This sweet Pongal recipe can be doubled or tripled.
- You can add less or more ghee as required.
- Also, clove and edible camphor can be skipped.
Step By Step Recipe :
- Add half cup moong dal to a heavy bottom pot or cooker. Dry roast them on a medium flame till you get an aroma & the dal turns slightly golden. Keep stirring for even roasting. This takes around 3 to 4 mins.
- Now put them in a pressure cooker and add water. Pour 3 cups of water. The amount of water to be added depends on the consistency you want and also on the quality of moong dal. heat ghee and add cinnamon stick, cardamom, and sauf add this to the rice mixture and Pressure cook on a medium flame for 12 to 14 minutes or for 4 to 5 whistles. Let the pressure settle down on its own and then you remove the lid to check the doneness and consistency. If the Pongal has a consistency like that of a pulao, then add ½ to 1 cup hot water and mix very well.
- Both the rice and the moong dal should be cooked very well. With a spoon, slightly mash the cooked rice and moong lentils. If cooked well, then cover with the lid and keep aside. The consistency of a Pongal is like khichdi.
- FOR JAGGERY SYRUP:
- Now take ½ cup water in a pan. Add the jaggery. On a low to medium flame, heat this jaggery solution till the jaggery melts completely.
Do stir and break the jaggery chunks or pieces with a spatula so that they melt easily.
You will get an amber-coloured syrup when all the jaggery is melted if you have used dark jaggery. If you have light-coloured jaggery, then the colour will be pale yellow to yellow
- Making Sweet Pongal :
- Straining the jaggery syrup through a sieve, directly add it to the cooked rice+lentils mixture. If using jaggery powder, you can add it directly.
Now add the crushed cardamom powder and a pinch of edible camphor.
Mix everything very well. Pongal will thicken as it cools down. So if the mixture looks thick, then you can add ¼ to ⅓ cup hot water.
- Heat 5 tablespoons ghee. You can add less ghee if you want.
Add the 12 to 15 cashews, 6-7 almonds, and sliced coconut. Saute the cashews till they become light golden.
Then add 1 tablespoons raisins. Begin to stir & fry.
Stirring often fries till the raisins swell and become plump.
- Then immediately remove the pan from the stovetop and add the fried cashews, raisins and ghee to the Pongal mixture. Mix very well.
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