Sweet Pongal is a delicious, sweet dish traditionally prepared in South India for Makar Sankranti/ Pongal.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India by different names and by preparing different dishes. In Maharashtra, til laddoos signify Makar Sankranti. In Gujarat, Makar Sankranti is known as Uttarayan. Undhiyu and chikkis are the special festive recipes that are savoured on this day. In Southern India, the festival is known as Pongal and sweet Pongal is prepared on this day.
Sweet Pongal is prepared with rice, split green gram (moong dal), jaggery, ghee and dry fruits. In Tamil Nadu, sweet Pongal is made for many festivals as naivedyam (offering) to God. There are two types of Pongal – Khara Pongal and Chakkara Pongal. Khara Pongal is a breakfast dish whereas sweet Pongal or Chakkara Pongal is more like a dessert and is prepared in temples as prasad. On Makar Sankranti or Pongal, sweet Pongal is made and offered to God as naivedyam and then shared among family members. Here is the recipe for Sweet Pongal:
½ cup rice (chawal)
¼ cup split green gram (moong dal)
1 tsp + 2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
3 ½ cups water (paani)
1 cup of jaggery (gud)
15 to 20 cashew nuts (kaju)
2 cloves (laung/ lavang)
2 to 3 tsp raisins (kishmish)
1 tsp cardamom powder (elaichi powder)
- Wash the rice and soak in water for 15 minutes.
- Wash moong dal and soak in water for 15 minutes.
- Heat a pressure cooker. Add soaked rice, soaked moong dal, a teaspoon of ghee and 3 cups of water.
- Pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles.
- In the meanwhile, heat ½ cup water in a pan.
- Add jaggery. Heat this till the jaggery melts completely to form a syrup.
- Open the pressure cooker after the heat escapes completely.
- Add the jaggery syrup through a strainer to the cooked rice-dal mixture.
- Mix well and mash the rice dal mixture with the back of the spoon.
- Simmer on a low flame for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Now heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pan.
- Add cashew nuts and cloves.
- Fry them till the cashews turn golden.
- After few seconds add the raisins and saute for couple of seconds.
- Transfer the roasted dry fruits to sweet Pongal and give a stir.
- Now add the cardamom powder and mix. Sweet Pongal is ready for naivedyam/ to serve.
- The quantity of jaggery can be adjusted as per your taste.
- After opening the pressure cooker, if the dal rice mixture is dry, you can add little water to it.
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