Sakkarai Pongal is one of the common and popular dish in Tamil Nadu and South India. We make this for many festivals and auspicious days for an offering to god (naivedhyam). There are different variations being followed in making of the Sakkarai pongal based on the family tradition, customs, taste and regions. One of the most common method in our tradition and in our home is given below
- 1 cup Raw Rice 1 cup = 250 ml
- ¼ cup Moong dal
- 2.5 cups Grated Jaggery
- ¼ tsp Cardamom Powder
- 1 tbsp Cashews
- 1 pinch Pachai Karpooram Optional
- 1 tbsp Raisins Optional
- 5 tbsp Ghee (Clarified butter)
- 4½ cups Water
- ½ cup Milk (optional)
COOKING THE RICE & DAL
- Heat a pan, dry roast moong dal till it gives a nice aroma. Take this roasted moong dal aside
- In a strainer, take 1 cup of rice and roasted moong dal. Rinse twice or thrice.
- Add 4.5 Cups water and mix well. Pressure cook the rice+dal allowing for 5-6 whistles. We need nicely mashed up rice and water. In temples and also in marriages, conventionally they cook the rice and dal mixture on the stove without using pressure cooker, so that way we feel a nice smoky aroma. But as we are going to do for our family, its a good option to cook in pressure cooker. Take the cooked rice+dal mixture and mash it well and set it aside
PREPARING THE JAGGERY SYRUP
- Keep a sauce pan on the stove, add jaggery along with 1/4 cup water and allow the jaggery to melt and dissolve completely.
- When the jaggery is dissolved, strain it in another pan. Keep the strained jaggery syrup on the stove. Add 2 tablespoon of ghee and stir well. Bring the jaggery syrup to boil
- When the jaggery syrup comes to rolling boil, add the mashed up dal+rice mixture. Now, add 1/2 Cup of milk. Adding milk is optional but it adds a nice flavor. But if we add milk then shelf life of the dish is only 1 day. So, if you plan to make sakkarai pongal in advance, then skip adding the milk. Do not add milk to the jaggery syrup it will become curdled. Add milk only after adding rice+dal mixture.
- Stir well so that the rice+dal mixture gets incorporated well with jaggery syrup. Add remaining ghee along with cardamom powder and stir well. Keep in low flame and allow the pongal to become little thick.
- Meanwhile, in another pan, add a teaspoon of ghee and roast the cashews and raisins till they turn golden brown. Add the roasted cashews and raisins to the sakkarai pongal and give a final stir and switch off the flame
- The scrumptious Sakarai Pongal is ready for neivedhyam or to serve!