Sweet Pongal Recipe: Sweet Pongal is a creamy, sweet porridge made with rice, mung lentils, and spices like cardamom and dried fruits. Sweet Pongal, also known in South Indian languages as sakkarai pongal and chakkara pongal, is a festive dish traditionally made during the Pongal Festival in South India.
There are several types of pongal dishes, the most common of which is the savoury ven pongal, which is typically served for breakfast. However, sweet pongal or chakkara pongal is made especially for the Sankranthi festival and served as prasadam in many south Indian temples.
Sweet pongal is made with cooked rice and yellow moong lentils, as well as jaggery. Jaggery is unrefined cane sugar from India with a molasses-like flavour and taste. So you can imagine how delicious this sweet pongal tastes.
Cardamom powder, cashews, and raisins are among the flavourings used in sakkarai pongal.
I make sweets and offer them to the Mother Goddess during pooja or on auspicious days. When I make offerings to the gods, I always include a pinch of edible camphor in these delicacies.
However, adding edible camphor to your sweet pongal is entirely optional.
I also use clove powder or clove in any savoury or sweet dish I serve to the Devi. This is something that my mother and mother-in-law practise in our family.
So I powdered one clove and added it to this chakkara pongal. The addition of clove is optional.
Basically, the pongal or makara sankrati festival is celebrated every year from January 13th to 16th. The occasion is to commemorate the harvest season and to express gratitude to nature by preparing new rice or freshly harvested grains. The term ponga literally means “overflowing” and refers to an overflow cooking style in an earthen pot with a wood fire. Furthermore, while Sankranti is widely celebrated on January 14th, each day of this four-day festival has significance and is celebrated with unique recipes. However, sakkarai pongal or chakkara pongal is a common recipe that is prepared every day and served with other desserts and savouries.
Some important tips and points to remember when making sweet pongal. To begin with, traditional sweet pongal is always made with jaggery, which adds flavour. If you don’t have any jaggery, you can substitute white crystal sugar or brown sugar. Second, I used regular sona masuri rice in this recipe, and I recommend doing the same. Also, make sure it is thoroughly cooked before adding the jaggery syrup; otherwise, it may not mix well. Finally, camphor is usually added in small amounts to temple style chakkara pongal recipes. If you want to make an authentic one, add a crushed small portion of it at the end of the recipe.
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Sweet Pongal Recipe Card:
Sweet Pongal Recipe
For pressure cooking:
- 1/2 cup rice (soaked 15 minutes)
- 1/4 cup moong dal l (soaked 15 minutes)
- 2¼ cup water
To make jaggery water:
- 3/4 cup jaggery (gud)
- 1/4 cup water
To fry dry fruits:
- 2 tsp ghee
- 10 whole cashew / kaju
- 2 tbsp raisins / kishmish
- 1 clove / lavang
- 1/4 cup water (to adjust consistency)
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder / elachi powder
- small piece edible camphor / pacha karpooram
Step-by-step instructions for making chakkara pongal:
- First, combine 1/2 cup rice and 14 cup moong dal in a pressure cooker (both soaked for 15 minutes)
- Cook for 4-5 whistles after adding 2¼ cup water.
- Make sure the dal and rice are completely cooked.
- In a separate pan, combine 3/4 cup jaggery and 1/4 cup water.
- Continue to stir until the jaggery has completely melted.
- Filter the jaggery water through the cooked rice-dal mixture.
- Add 1/4 cup water or more, adjusting consistency as needed
- Simmer for 2 minutes, or until the jaggery is well combined with the rice-dal mixture.
- Add 2 tbsp ghee and mix well until the sakkarai pongal becomes glossy.
- Heat 2 tsp ghee in a small kadai and fry 10 whole cashews, 2 tbsp raisins, and 1 clove.
- Pour the sweet pongal over the fried cashews and kishmish.
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder and a small piece edible camphor are also recommended. Combine thoroughly.
- Finally, the sweet pongal / sakkarai pongal is ready to be presented to the goddess.
With milk: Some sweet pongal recipes include milk. So you can definitely substitute milk for water in this recipe. The addition of milk will make the chakkara pongal richer and creamier.
With sugar: Although jaggery is traditionally used in the preparation of sakkarai pongal, raw sugar or white sugar can be substituted. Sweeteners like coconut sugar or palm sugar are also good substitutes.
Healthy ingredients include: In a sweet pongal, rice and moong lentils are the norm. Of course, you can make sakkarai pongal with cracked wheat (dalia), millets, or oats.
- First, adjust the jaggery to achieve the desired sweetness.
- Filtering the jaggery water is optional; if the jaggery is clean, you can skip this step.
- In addition, for added flavour and aroma, use homemade fresh ghee.
- Additionally, while adding milk while cooking dal – rice is optional, it improves the flavour of pongal.
- Finally, adjust the consistency of the sweet pongal / sakkarai pongal as it cools.
Is sweet pongal nutritious?
Is Sweet Pongal nutritious? No, it is not healthy for the majority of people. Rice, yellow moong dal, jaggery, cashewnuts, ghee, and cardamom are used to make this dish.
What exactly does Sakkarai Pongal mean?
Sakkarai or Chakkara means “jaggery.” Pongal means to boil or bubble. Sweet pongal is traditionally made by boiling milk/water in a bronze pot (matka shaped) and allowing it to overflow. Rice and moong dal are then added and cooked until soft and mushy.
Can I consume sweet Pongal while pregnant?
Sweet pongal can be eaten in 10 weeks of pregnancy, but not in large quantities; eating in small amounts will not cause any problems.
How many different kinds of Pongal are there?
Pongal is a four-day festival celebrated with great zeal. The four festive days are Bhogi Pongal, Thai Pongal (also known as Surya Pongal), Mattu Pongal, and Kaanum Pongal. Farmers express their gratitude to the Sun god and Lord Indra during the festival, which is essentially a celebration of a golden harvest.
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