sweet pongal

Sakkarai Pongal

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Happy Pongal Everyone ! Here is a favorite pongal meal in our house – Sakkarai pongal(sweet pongal), Medhu Vadai & Coconut chutney!

Pongal is a Harvest Festival celebrated predominantly in South India. According to tradition, the festival marks the end of winter solstice, and the start of the sun’s six-month-long journey northwards. The festival is named after the ceremonial “Pongal”, which means “to boil and overflow” and refers to the traditional dish prepared from the new harvest of rice boiled in milk and jaggery (raw sugar). In Tamil Nadu, the celebrations are tremendous and many rituals like decorating cows, exchanging gifts and drawing folk patterns on the floor using colored rice, flower petals and white lime powder is practiced. The celebration goes on four days and each day has a certain ritual and custom.

Back home, my mom made us sweet and savory pongal with chutney and sambar every year and my dad always brings home sugarcane for us to relish. So now being married I try to follow the same tradition we practiced and I make this sakkarai pongal every year no matter where life takes us! Upholding customs like these just brings us a step closer to home.

Ingredients:

  • Raw rice – 1 cup 
  • Yellow moong dal – ½ cup 
  • Water – 3 cups + ½ cup 
  • Dark brown jaggery – 1 cup 
  • Ghee – 4 tablespoons 
  • Cashew nuts – ½ cup 
  • Golden raisins – ¼ cup 
  • Cardamom – 4 

Instructions:

  1. Wash the rice and moong dal well and add it to the pressure cook. Pour 3 cups of water and add a generous pinch of salt. Close and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles. Release the pressure and mash the rice and moong dal well using a wooden spoon or a potato masher.  
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the jaggery with ¼ cup of water. Once melted and smooth, strain the jaggery and add it to the rice. Mix well. Turn on the stove and let the mixture cook over low heat. You can adjust the level of sweetness by adding extra melted jaggery if you want it sweeter. 
  3. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the cardamom pods until lightly powdered and add it to the pongal.  
  4. Finally, in a small frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of ghee and saute the cashew nuts and raisins until the nuts are golden and the raisins fluff up. Add it to the pongal and finally drizzle one tablespoon of ghee over the pongal. Mix well, turn off the stove and serve hot! Garnish with more nuts, raisins & enjoy this sweet delicacy!
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