Its been 3 years since I started this blog! Sakkarai Pongal was my first post from Anu’s Kitchen. Last year, I had made kalkandu pongal and this year I tried my hands at making “paal pongal” (sweet pongal with milk and jaggery).
For those who wonder what “pongal” is – It is a traditional dish prepared from new harvested rice for the festival of Thai Pongal/Makara Sankranthi (Indian harvest festival). There are both sweet and spicy versions of pongal. Sweet pongal is prepared with rice, milk, jaggery/sugar. Spicy pongal (also known as kara pongal/ ven pongal) has good amount of spices like black pepper, cumin seeds and red chillies. There are many versions of sweet pongal too!!
- Sakkarai Pongal – Prepared with rice, moong dal and jaggery.
- Kalkandu Pongal – Prepared with rice, milk, rock sugar (kalkandu) and saffron.
- Paal Pongal – Prepared with rice, milk and ghee (clarified butter).
This recipe is from my aunt. She cooks paal pongal every year for Sankranthi. This time I had asked her to send me the recipe so that I could try out. Needless to say it was amazing!
We do not add “moong dal” in this recipe. Rice cooked in milk and ghee is what is called Paal pongal. Some add sugar to this recipe. But my aunt uses jaggery (Gul/Gud/vellam) and I have followed the same. There are different varieties of jaggery. Few would have strong orange-ish brown color while some would be in pale yellow! The jaggery you use decides the sweetness and color of the final dish.
Time Taken: 25-30 mins
Serves: 3-4 people
Basmati Rice: 1 cup (for ordinary rice need 1-1.5 cups of extra milk)
Milk: 3 cups + 1 tbsp (2% milk will do!)
Water: 1.5 cups
Ghee: 1/4 cup (not a weight watcher? add more!)
Grated Jaggery: 2.5 cups (not sweet-toothed? make it 2 cups!)
Cardamom powder: 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg powder: 1/8 tsp
Saffron: few strands (optional)
Note: I have used basmati rice in this recipe. If you use regular rice (pacharisi), then you need 4-5 cups of milk. (i.e 1 to 2 cups of milk more than specified in this recipe). You can also add raisins if you prefer. My aunt adds 1/2 cup of ghee for 1 cup of rice! Well its just 15 days into the new year and I didn’t want to break my (ever repeating) resolution of avoiding fatty foods!! I reduced the amount of ghee to 1/4 cup (4 tbsp). Still it tasted delicious 🙂
FYI: 1 cup = 16 tbsp, 1/4 cup = 4 tbsp
- Heat 1 tsp of ghee in a pan, fry cashews and keep it aside.
- Again heat 1 tsp of ghee and fry rice for 1-2 minutes. Do not over fry.
- Add 1.5 cups of water and allow it to cook for 5-10 minutes or until rice gets half cooked.
- Heat 1 tbsp milk and add saffron strands and keep it aside.
- Add remaining milk to rice and allow it to cook well.
- When rice is almost done, slowly add jaggery & ghee in small amounts and keep stirring.
- Do not dump ghee and jaggery at once.
- Add them one at a time and in small quantity and keep stirring.
- Add saffron soaked milk and mix thoroughly.
- Allow the mixture to cook for 2-3 minutes stirring intermittently.
- Remove from the stove top and add cardamom and nutmeg powder.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Garnish with cashews and serve hot.
Share & Enjoy! -