Hola, guys and girls!
Warm wishes from our family to you for Pongal, Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Magh Bihu! I hope all of you are enjoying the festivities in your part of the world.
We are getting ready to celebrate Pongal tomorrow, January 15. The bub has Pongal celebrations in her school today, and a holiday tomorrow. I’m all stocked up, with respect to special groceries, all set to make some Pongal-special dishes tomorrow. The husband will be working, but I hope we’ll be able to catch up on at least a bit of the festive fun!
I recently realised I have never posted a Classic Sakkarai Pongal recipe on my blog, the traditional sweet pongal that is a must-have on the festival day. We can’t have that happening, so I decided to share the recipe today for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. I made Sakkarai Pongal a few days back to shoot pics for the blog. We thoroughly enjoyed our Pongal-treat-a-little-ahead-of-Pongal! 🙂
For the uninitiated, Sakkarai Pongal is a sweet dish made with rice and moong daal. Sweetened with jaggery, with loads of dry fruits and ghee added in, it surely is a lovely treat for kids and adults alike. We add some milk to the sweet pongal too, which makes it all the more rich and delectable. Typically, in our family, Sakkarai Pongal is served with Ezhu Thaan Kootu, a traditional Tamilnadu savoury preparation that uses at least seven types of vegetables.
The traditional Sakkarai Pongal, served with Ezhu Thaan Kootu
Sakkarai Pongal is not a very complicated dish to prepare. We make it in a pressure cooker, and not in a pan as is done traditionally, which ensures that it gets done in a jiffy and is still every bit just as delicious! Check out our family recipe below!
Ingredients (serves 4-5):
- 1 cup rice
- 1/2 cup moong daal
- 2 cups full-fat milk
- 3 cups jaggery powder
- 3-4 tablespoons ghee
- 10-15 cashewnuts
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- 2 generous pinches of cardamom powder
- Chop the cashewnuts roughly, into large-ish pieces. Keep aside.
- Wash the rice and moong daal together under running water, a couple of times. Drain out all the excess water.
- Pressure cook the rice and moong daal together with 2 cups of milk + 2-1/2 cups of water, for 4 whistles or till they are well-cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.
- When the pressure has gone down completely, mash the cooked rice and moong daal well, using a masher. Keep aside.
- Now, take the 3 cups of jaggery powder and 2 cups of water in a pan, and place it on high flame. Cook till the jaggery is completely dissolved in the water. Turn the flame down to medium when the jaggery syrup comes to a boil.
- At this stage, add the cooked rice and moong daal to the jaggery syrup. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes, or till all the ingredients are well integrated together. Stir intermittently, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- While the sweet pongal is cooking, heat the ghee in another pan. Add in the raisins and the chopped cashewnuts. Wait for the cashewnuts to turn slightly brown and the raisins to plump up. Ensure that they do not burn. Switch off gas and transfer the fried cashewnuts and raisins to the sweet pongal cooking in the other pan.
- Add the cardamom powder to the sweet pongal. Mix well.
- Let the Classic Sakkarai Pongal cook on medium flame for a minute or two after adding the cardamom powder, cashewnuts and raisins. Keep stirring intermittently. That’s it!
- Serve the sweet pongal hot, warm or at room temperature.
1. I use Nandini full-cream milk that has been boiled and cooled, in this recipe.
2. The quantity of jaggery you will need depends upon its quality and sweetness. For us, double the quantity of jaggery : (the quantity of rice + moong daal) works perfectly.
3. I have used Sona Masoori raw rice to make this Classic Sakkarai Pongal. You may use any other variety of rice you prefer, instead.
4. I have used organic jaggery powder here, which had a deep, brown colour. That accounts for the dark brown colour of the Classic Sakkarai Pongal. The colour of your sweet pongal will, naturally, depend upon the type of jaggery you use.
5. Adjust the quantity of ghee, cashewnuts and raisins you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
6. The jaggery I use doesn’t have any impurities, so I haven’t filtered the jaggery syrup. However, you might want to filter in case you suspect the presence of impurities in the jaggery you have.
7. Make sure you cook the rice and moong daal till they are well done, and can be mashed well. For us, 4 whistles in the pressure cooker works perfectly.
8. If you are using a block of jaggery, pound it to make powder before proceeding to make this sweet pongal.
9. Edible camphor and/or clove powder are sometimes added to Sakkarai Pongal, to stop the sweetness from becoming overpowering. I haven’t used them here.
10. If you don’t want to use milk, use 4-1/2 cups of water to pressure cook the rice, in the above recipe. The rest of the steps remain exactly the same.
11. I have used a 5-litre pressure cooker to prepare this Sakkarai Pongal.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!
This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme this week is #HarvestHarmony, wherein the participants are cooking special dishes for the Indian harvest festivals of Pongal, Makar Sankranti and Lohri.
Check out the other (not-so-traditional) Sakkarai Pongal recipes on my blog: