Sweet Pongal is a delicious, yummy dish made by cooking rice & moong dal in jaggery syrup, milk, water and then flavored with ghee and cashews. Sweet Pongal is also called Sakkarai Pongal commonly made during Pongal Festival. How to make Sweet Pongal is explained in this post with step by step pictures and video.
Sakkarai Pongal is made along with Paal Pongal or Ven Pongal & Special 5 Vegetable Kuzhambu on Pongal festival. Sakkarai Pongal is a sweet treat for the family and is shared with family & friends on the festival day.
About Sweet Pongal
Pongal means overflowing or bubbling up by boiling and Sakkarai or Chakkara means jaggery / country sugar in Tamil. Water and milk is boiled and then raw rice, jaggery, dal, dry fruits, ghee are added to make Sakkarai Pongal.
Sakkarai Pongal is made traditionally during Pongal festival or Makar Sankaranti as the first meal with the first harvested rice of the year. Pongal is made in the east direction facing Sun which symbolizes thanks giving & dedication of the first meal from the harvest to Sun God for a bountiful harvest.
The significance of using raw rice instead of boiled rice for making Pongal is that first cooking with the harvest is celebrated & dedicated to Sun God.
Sweet Pongal in cooker
Sakkarai Pongal in Pot – Traditional method
Sakkarai Pongal Ingredients
- Rice : Use raw rice for making Pongal. At stores it is available as Pongal Raw Rice / Pongal Pacharisi.
- Dal : Use moong dal half the quantity as that of rice.
- Jaggery: If you have access get paaguvellam or achuvellam which is slightly darker, else you can use mold jaggery.
- Milk : The temple style sweet pongal doesn’t use milk however we add milk to give it a rich taste. Use full cream milk if possible else you can use regular toned milk.
- Flavors : Use bountiful cashews, raisins, cardamom powder and ghee for Pongal.
Sweet Pongal – 2 methods
Traditionally Pongal is slow cooked in pots with firewood and as times changed we are cooking in pressure cooker nowadays. I have presented the cooking of Sweet Pongal here in both these methods.
Other recipes for Pongal
Sweet Pongal Step by Step
Roasting rice and moong dal
1.Crush cardamom and edible camphor together and set aside. Dry roast 1/4 cup moong dal until nice aroma comes.
Preparing jaggery syrup
2.Add 1/3 cup water to 3/4 cup jaggery and heat it up for few minutes until jaggery melts completely.
Cook rice and dal
3.Rinse 1/2 cup rice and dal well and add it to pressure cooker.
3.Measure and 3 cups add water to it.
4.Pressure cook for 5 whistles in low medium flame. Let the pressure release by itself.
5.Once pressure releases, open and mash it well. Strain and add jaggery syrup.
Add jaggery syrup to rice, dal
6.Strain and add jaggery syrup to it.
7.The syrup should be slightly thick but no consistency needs to be checked.
8.Mix well and let it boil in sim to thicken. Of adding milk add 1/2 cup milk at this stage
9.Add 2 tablespoon ghee. Mix well and cook in low flame.
10.Add cardamom powder made from 2 cardamom and a tiny pinch of crushed edible camphor.
Frying nuts and raisins
11.Heat 2 teaspoon ghee in a pan – add 10 cashews broken first fry until golden then add 1 tablespoon raisins and let it bubble up. Fry until golden brown.
Making sweet pongal
12.Add it to pongal, mix well.Switch off. Sweet pongal ready!
Sakkarai Pongal in Pot
Sakkarai pongal is traditionally made in pot. Sakkarai pongal is not only made for Pongal festival but can be made for various other small occasions at home. We make sweet pongal or sakkarai pongal for aadi velli, auspicious days, or even for small pooja at home.
Sakkarai Pongal is made traditionally on Pongal festival or Makar Sankaranthi with the first harvested rice of the year and offered as a thanks giving dish to Sun God before consuming.
Sakkarai Pongal Step by Step
- Add 1/2 cup water to 1 heaped cup jaggery.
2.Let it dissolve completely then set aside.
3.Add 1/2 cup milk to a traditional bronze pot.
4.Add 7 cups water to it.
5.Let it boil.
6.Keep in medium high. Let it overflow.
8.Rinse 1 cup raw rice, 1/4 cup moong dal and add it to the pot.
9.Cook in medium high until rice is 3/4th cooked and water is almost absorbed.
10.Now strain and add jaggery syrup.
11.Mix well and cook until it becomes thick. Now add ghee fried cashews,raisins.
12.Heat ghee in tadka pan – fry 2 tablespoon cashews then add 1 tablespoon raisins fry until golden.
13.Add ghee fried nuts, raisins, remaining 3 tablespoon ghee and cardamom powder made from 2 small cardamom. Mix well , cook for a minute then switch off. When it cools down it gets thick so switch off when it is still goey.
- Always use less water for making jaggery syrup, just half the measure of jaggery would be just right.
- Use paagu vellam or dark colored jaggery for best results, it enahnces the taste and color of the pongal.
- Make sure to switch it off when it is still goey as it thickens with time.
- Always serve hot with a dollop of ghee.
- Edible camphor can be skipped if you don’t have it but it gives a divine taste just like in temples.
- Add milk too for a richer taste.
- If you like saffron flavour soak saffron in milk and add it.
- You can add jaggery as such too in powdered form (without making it as syrup). Make sure it is free from impurities.
- You can replace jaggery with sugar or sugar candy (kalkandu) or brown sugar or karupatti or sugar cane juice.
- You can add little grated coconut too.
- You can add clove powder for more flavour.
- You can use, Quinoa, Sooji / Rava, Millet, Poha, Wheat Rava as an alternative or when you want to experiment sweet pongal with different ingredients.
Serving & Storage
Tastes great when consumed hot! Pongal tends to become solid as the starch is not drained. So add little water or milk and heat it in stovetop or microwave when you are consuming after say 3-4 Hrs.
Generally sweet pongal keeps well for 2 days in room temperature. However if refrigerated you can consume next day.
1.What is Sakkarai Pongal?
Sweet Pongal is a delicious, yummy rice meal made by cooking rice &moong dal in jaggery syrup, milk, water and then flavoured with ghee and cashews.
2.How to make Sweet Pongal?
- Add jaggery and water to a pan, boil till jaggery is dissolved completely.
- Dry roast moong dal and add it to rice.
- Add water and pressure cook for 5 whistles in low medium flame.Let the pressure release by itself.
- Strain and add jaggery syrup. Mix well and let it boil in sim to thicken.
- Add cardamom powder and dry fruits sauteed in ghee.
- Serve hot with ghee drizzled.
3.Can I make jaggery syrup the previous night and store in fridge?
Yes very well – That saves quite some time on the festival day!
4.I do not have raw rice – Can I cook with boiled rice or brown rice?
Raw rice is preferred when it is offered as Neivaidhyam. However you can cook Sweet Pongal with all types of rice given that taste may slightly vary based on the type of rice. For Brown rice cook extra for 20-30 minutes.
5.At what step I need to add milk and will milk get curdled?
In traditional method, milk is boiled with water and then rice, dal & other ingredients are added. In the pressure cook method, add boiled milk before jaggery syrup is added.
6.Can I add coconut to Pongal, edible camphor?
Yes very much – Add grated coconuts, edible camphor and other flavours along with dry fruits.
7.What is the ratio of rice to dal? Can I use toor dal?
Use half the quantity of moong dal to the amount of rice! Do not use toor dal and if you do not have mong dal, you can skip it.
8.Why does rice gets stuck to pot?
You have to stir well and quite often to prevent a layer of rice getting stuck to pot.
Tried this Sweet Pongal Recipe ? Do let me know how you liked it. Also tag us on Instagram @sharmispassions and hash tag it on #sharmispassions.
📖 Recipe Card
Sweet Pongal | Sakkarai Pongal
- 1/2 cup raw rice
- 1/4 cup moong dal
- 3 cups water
- 10 nos whole cashews broken
- 2 nos cardamom
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- 3/4 heaped cup jaggery
- 1/3 cup water for jaggery syrup
- 1 tiny pinch edible camphor
- 2 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon ghee
With milk version:
TRADITIONAL POT METHOD
- 1 cup raw rice
- 1/4 cup moong dal
- 7 cups water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoon cashews
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- 2 small cardamom
- 4 tablespoon ghee
For jaggery syrup
- 1 heaped cup jaggery
- 1/2 cup water
SWEET PONGAL METHOD
- Crush cardamom and edible camphor together and set aside. Dry roast moong dal until nice aroma comes.
- Add water to jaggery and heat it up for few mins until jaggery melts completely.
- Rinse rice and dal well and add it to pressure cooker.
- Measure and add water to it.
- Pressure cook for 5 whistles in low medium flame. Let the pressure release by itself.
- Once pressure releases, open and mash it well.
- Strain and add jaggery syrup to it.
- The syrup should be slightly thick but no consistency needs to be checked.
- Mix well and let it boil in sim to thicken.
- Add ghee. Mix well and cook in low flame.
- Add cardamom powder and edible camphor.
- Heat ghee in a pan – add cashews first fry until golden then add raisins and let it bubble up. Fry until golden brown.
- Add it to pongal, mix well. Switch off. Sweet pongal ready!
TRADITIONAL POT SAKKARAI PONGAL METHOD
- Add water to jaggery.
- Let it dissolve completely then set aside.
- Add milk to a traditional bronze pot.
- Add water to it.
- Let it boil.
- Keep in medium high. Let it overflow.
- Stir well.
- Rinse rice, dal and add it to the pot.
- Cook in medium high until rice is 3/4th cooked and water is almost absorbed.
- Now strain and add jaggery syrup.
- Mix well and cook until it becomes thick. Now add ghee fried cashews,raisins.
- Heat ghee in tadka pan – fry cashews then add raisins fry until golden.
- Add ghee fried nuts, raisins, remaining 3 tablespoon ghee and cardamom powder. Mix well , cook for a minute then switch off. When it cools down it gets thick so switch off when it is still goey.
- I used paagu velam to get the dark brown color. You can use normal jaggery too.
- Roasting dal gives good flavour so don’t skip this step.
- Add good quality aromatic ghee for best flavour and taste.
- Pressure cooking time of rice depends on the variety of rice so adjust accordingly. New rice needs little lesser water whereas old rice requires more.
- Pongal gets thicker in consistency after cooling down so switch off accordingly. If it gets dry, while serving add little ghee and milk.
- If the pongal is thick while switching off then it will become very dry after cooling down therefore switch off when it is little goey itself.
- Edible camphor is the main ingredient which gives it a temple taste so don’t skip it.