Sakkarai / Sweet Pongal - Happy Pongal

Wish You All A Very Happy Pongal

Pongal is an important festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu. It is the harvest festival and Tamilians prepare pongal on the day and give it as an offering to Sun God. Today is the second day of the festival. This is called as Surya Pongal and usually pongal is prepared in a new mud pot in front of the house and when it is prepared all the members along with the kids shout Pongalo Pongal. But nowadays pongal is prepared on stove top in a pressure cooker. Even I prepare pongal on stove top but following tradition I make it in a mud pot/ Man chatti. The proportion of rice, jaggery and moong dhal remains the same but there are so many variations in flavour as per personal tastes. Coconut, milk, coconut milk are added to give rich flavour to the pongal. There is no such rule in the addition of ghee and cashew. The more you add the tastier the pongal. I have given the recipe which I usually follow while preparing pongal at home.The jaggery syrup is added at last because once you add jaggery the rice will not cook any further. So we first cook rice until mushy and soft and then add jaggery at the end. The pongal will be very thin and runny while hot but when it cools down it will come to the correct consistency. So if you are making it for the first time don't panic. Mom prepares pongal with Ponni Pacharisi. As I was out of stock I used Basmati rice and it came out very nice. I also prepared ellu bella which is a Karnataka special. More about Ellu bella in my next post.

Raw Rice/ Ponni Pacharisi/ Basmati Rice-1 cup/ 200 gm
Jaggery / Vellam-2 cups/ 400 gm
Moong Dhal/ Paasi Paruppu-1/4 cup/ 50 gm
Milk-2 cups or 1 cup Milk + 1 cup Coconut Milk
Grated Coconut-1/2 cup (can avoid if adding coconut milk)
Ghee- 1/4 cup
Cashew Nuts-15
Golden Raisin-15
Cardamom Powder-1 tsp

1. Wash and soak rice and dhal for 10 minutes.
2. In a mud pot add water and bring it to boil.
3. Add the rice and dhal mixture to boiling water.
4. Remove water to another bowl to be used later. If the water content is high then the extra water will boil over the pot.
5. Keep on stirring until all the water is absorbed.
6. Add the reserved water by ladle and cook the rice.
7. When the rice is 75% cooked, add milk and cardamom powder.
8. Keep on stirring until the milk is fully absorbed. If the rice has become mushy then stop adding water but is it needs to be cooked further then add some more of the reserved water.
9. Add 3/4 cup of water to grated jaggery in a separate bowl.
10. Heat it and bring to boil. Stir until the jaggery is completely dissolved.
11. Remove from flame and let it sit on counter for 10 minutes. This way the impurities settle at the bottom.
12. Now strain the syrup to get rid of impurities. Keep it aside.
13. Heat ghee and add broken cashew and raisins. Fry until golden. Keep it aside.
14. When the rice is cooked and all the milk and water is absorbed, add the ghee along with cashew and raisins. Mix it well.
15. Add the syrup and bring it to boil.
16. Let pongal boil for 10 minutes on medium flame.
17. Remove from flame and offer it to God and enjoy the prashadam.

P.S: The mud pot you are using must be able to hold double the capacity of the given quantity of rice. If you are using a cup of rice then the mud pot must be capable of cooking 2 cups of rice. Because the pongal when cooked longer will double in volume and so a mud pot which can cook only 1 cup of rice will not be enough. So plan it accordingly.

Wash and soak rice and dhal.

Prepare syrup with jaggery.

Heat water in a mud pot.

When it boil add soaked rice and dhal.

Transfer some water to a separate bowl.

Keep on cooking the rice until it is 75% done.

Add milk and cardamom powder.

Keep on stirring the pongal.

When it is fully cooked and it turns mushy it is time to add cashew.

Add ghee along with fried cashew and raisins.

Add the prepared syrup.

The pongal will be very runny. Boil it for 10 minutes. IT splutters a lot at this stage. So keep a plate between you and the pot to avoid injuries.

Remove from flame when done.

Decorate the pot with Sandal wood paste and Kumkum and offer it to God along with sugar cane and fresh turmeric.

Enjoy the Prashadam.

Linking it to WTML going on at my space this month.

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