This festive season, let’s offer something healthier to the Gods and to our bodies, shall we? How about some millet sweet pongal?
This sweet pongal contains absolutely no rice, which has been substituted with proso millet. You can even use a mix of different types of millet, really. The pongal also uses jaggery and not sugar, which is commonly used in festival sweetmeats. It tastes absolutely delish, just like the regular sweet pongal, but a much healthier alternative. The hint of edible camphor that is added to it takes the fragrance and taste of the pongal to new heights. What’s more, this dish is a breeze to prepare too!
Now, let’s check out how to make this millet sweet pongal, shall we?
Ingredients (serves 6):
- 1 cup proso millet
- 1/2 cup moong daal
- 3 cups powdered jaggery
- 2 cups milk (boiled and cooled)
- 2 pinches of edible camphor
- 2 pinches of cardamom (elaichi) powder
- 1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons ghee
- 5-6 unsalted cashewnuts
- 5-6 unsalted almonds
- 5-6 pieces of unsalted pistachios
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- Wash the proso millet in running water a couple of times, draining out the excess water every time. Make sure all the impurities are washed out.
- Take the washed and drained proso millet in a large vessel, and add in enough water to completely cover it. Let the millets soak for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, drain out all the excess water from the soaked millets.
- Mix the moong daal and the soaked millets together, and add in the 2 cups of milk + 2-1/2 cups of water. Pressure cook this for 7-8 whistles. Let the pressure release entirely.
- Once the pressure has completely gone down, open the cooker and remove the container with the cooked millets and moong daal. Now, we will set about making the jaggery syrup for the pongal.
- Pour 2 cups of water in a heavy-bottomed pan, and add in the 3 cups of powdered jaggery. Set on high flame. Cook till the jaggery has entirely dissolved in the water.
- When the jaggery has completely dissolved, add in the cooked millets and moong daal to the pan. Turn the flame down to medium.
- Add in 1 tablespoon of ghee.
- Keep cooking on medium flame for 5-7 minutes, stirring intermittently, or till the mixture starts thickening.
- Roughly chop the almonds, pistachios and cashewnuts. Keep aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee in another pan. Add in the raisins and chopped almonds, pistachios and cashewnuts. Let them stay in for a minute. Add the fried nuts, raisins and ghee to the pongal in the pan.
- Add in the edible camphor and cardamom powder to the pongal too.
- Let the pongal cook on low-medium flame, for about 2 minutes more, stirring intermittently. Switch off the gas when the pongal is considerably thick, but still quite runny. It will thicken further on cooling.
- Serve the pongal warm, or at room temperature.
- You could dry roast the moong daal before making the pongal. This gives the pongal a nice fragrance. I skipped this step.
- Don’t miss out on soaking the millets for a period of at least 2 hours. This ensures that the pongal turns out soft and well cooked, rather than grainy.
- The quantity of jaggery powder that you will need depends upon its quality and level of sweetness. We commonly use twice the jaggery powder as the quantity of moong daal + millet. Here, I have used 3 cups of jaggery powder for 1.5 cups of moong daal + millet (1 cup millet + 1/2 cup moong daal).
- Feel free to increase the quantity of ghee you use in the pongal. I know some households who love their pongal dripping with ghee. We are comfortable with just about 3 tablespoons in our sweet pongal.
- Do ensure that the pistachios, raisins, cashewnuts and almonds do not burn while frying them.
- Increase or decrease the quantity of milk you use to cook the pongal, depending upon personal preferences. If you don’t want to use milk, you can skip it entirely and pressure cook the moong daal + millets in 4-1/2 cups of water instead.
- Do not cook the pongal too much after adding the edible camphor and cardamom powder in, as this might lead to a slight bitterness.
- Edible camphor is different from the camphor that is lit in temples and in poojas, as an offering to God. Please do not confuse between the two.
- Ensure that you do not add more than two pinches of edible camphor to the pongal. The smell can be quite overpowering, and overdoing it can cause the pongal to acquire a slight bitterness as well. If you don’t have edible camphor, it is okay to skip it entirely.
- I have used proso millet to make this sweet pongal, in place of rice. You can even use a mix of millets – like barnyard millet, foxtail millet, little millet, kodo millet – for the same.
Do try out this millet sweet pongal too. I hope you like it as much as we do!
Check out the other millet-based recipes on my blog!