March 25, 2010

Sakkarai Pongal / Chakkara Pongal Recipe / Sweet Pongal Recipe

We don't celebrate pongal festival back in Kerala. This should explain why I am posting this traditional pongal festival recipe in March. I mean, how off the mark can you get? About 2 months, that's how much.

But like I said, we don't celebrate pongal, and by that I mean my family. TH's family definitely does, but nothing elaborate. Mostly it involves making ven pongal the savory kind and this sweet version, sakkarai pongal.

My mom makes sweet pongal as and when she feels like it.  Usually, when we need a quick dessert for guests, sakkarai pongal gets made. Admittedly, its not my favourite sweet but recently I had this tremendous craving that was quite inexplicable so I made a teeny weeny bit (TH hates it) and had it all by myself at around 10pm in the night, which explains the very not-nice picture.

It came out pretty nice though. I'd never realised sakkarai pongal was this easy to make!

Sakkarai / Chakkara Pongal Recipe (Sweet Pongal Recipe)
Recipe source: scribbled on a piece of paper that was lying around in an old diary. 
Amma's recipe, I'd guess

What I Used:

1 cup raw rice
1/4 cup moong dal / cherupayar
3/4 cup grated jaggery / vellam / sharkkara (this is on the sweeter side so adjust to taste)
1 cup full fat milk + 1/2 cup water (or 1.5 cups low fat milk)
A few cashewnuts (I used almonds)
A few raisins (if you like them, I added very few)
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp ghee
3 cardamom pods, crushed well
A pinch of nutmeg (optional, I didn't add this)

How to make Sakkarai Pongal (Sweet Pongal) Recipe:

1. Traditionally, the rice and dal is simmered in the milk until soft but who has that kind of time these days? Definitely not me. So bring out your pressure cooker if you are anything like me. Wash the rice and dal together. Add the milk + water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. We want this nice and mushy.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp ghee and roast the cashewnuts / almonds and the raisins until golden brown (the raisins will become plump). Remove from fire and sprinkle cardamom powder and nutmeg, if using, on top. Give it a mix and set aside.

3. Once the pressure leaves the cooker, while still hot, mix in the grated jaggery, roasted almonds and raisins. If the pongal is too thick, add some boiled milk by the tablespoons. If the mixture is too loose, keep on a low fire and mix continuously until desired consistency is achieved.

4. Mix in one more tbsp of ghee and serve warm. I also like it cold from the fridge the next day.

PS: I have a feeling amma adds coconut to this, let me check with her.

PPS: The reason why my sakkarai pongal is a darker shade of brown than what you may have seen is, I used the super unrefined dark brown jaggery from Kerala. Its also unsalted so I mixed in a pinch of salt with the mixture but since you'd all be mostly likely using the salted version, don't bother. The colour of your sakkarai pongal may be lighter but don't worry. Will taste yummy!