The harvest season is a time for joy, thanksgiving, togetherness, and the sweet pongal recipe. It is marked by various celebrations and festivities across India. One such occasion is the festival of Pongal, celebrated with great enthusiasm, mainly in the southern states. Sweet Pongal, also known as Sakkarai Pongal or Chakkara Pongal, is an integral part of these festivities, symbolizing prosperity and abundance. This delicious, rich, and creamy dish and the ingredients for Pongal usually include rice, lentils, jaggery, and ghee and is flavoured with cardamom, dry fruits, and nuts.

It holds a special place in the hearts of those who celebrate this festival. There are many Sweet Pongal recipes, each with its uniqueness, handed down by grandmothers to mothers with the process of how to make sweet pongal. If it is homemade, Sweet Pongal is extra special. If you're looking to add this scrumptious dish to your festive spread, we bring you an easy and delightful Sweet Pongal recipe to prepare at home. This recipe is sure to impress your friends and family and make your celebrations even more memorable.

Before we delve into the recipe, let's gather the ingredients for Pongal so you can create this mouth-watering delicacy as intended.

Ingredients for Sweet Pongal Recipe

To prepare delectable Sweet Pongal, you will need:

  • 1 cup rice (preferably short-grain rice like Sona Masoori)
  • 1/4 cup split yellow moong dal (pasi paruppu)
  • 2 cups jaggery (gur), grated or crushed
  • 1/2 cup ghee or clarified butter
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder (elaichi)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • A pinch of edible camphor (optional)
  • A pinch of saffron strands (optional)
  • 4 cups water (for cooking the rice and lentils)

Here are more details on how to make Sweet Pongal recipe and other instructions.

How to Make Sweet Pongal 

Follow these simple steps to create your own batch of delectable Sweet Pongal.

Step 1: Preparing the Rice and Lentils

  • Wash the rice and moong dal together in a bowl under running water until the water runs clear. This removes any dust or impurities. This is a must for all Sweet Pongal recipes.
  • Soak the rice and lentils in water for about 30 minutes. This helps to soften them and ensures even cooking.
  • After 30 minutes, drain the water and set the rice and lentils aside.

Step 2: Cooking the Rice and Lentils

  • In a large, heavy-bottomed pan or pressure cooker, add the soaked rice and lentils.
  • Pour in 4 cups of water and cook the mixture on medium heat.
  • If using a pressure cooker, cook for 3-4 whistles and then let the pressure release naturally before opening the lid. 
  • If using a pan, cook the rice and lentils until they become soft and mushy. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, and add more water if needed.
  • Once the rice and lentils are cooked, turn off the heat and set the mixture aside.

Step 3: Preparing the Jaggery Syrup

  • In a separate pan, add the grated or crushed jaggery and 1/4 cup of water.
  • Cook the jaggery on low heat, stirring occasionally, until it melts and forms a thick syrup. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  • Once the jaggery has melted, turn off the heat and strain the syrup to remove any impurities. Set the strained syrup aside.

Step 4: Roasting the Nuts and Raisins

  • In a large, heavy-bottomed pan or kadai, heat 1/4 cup of ghee on medium heat.
  • Add cashews, almonds, pistachios, and raisins. Sauté till the nuts turn golden brown and the raisins puff up. 
  • These are essential ingredients for a Pongal recipe, and hence, be careful not to burn the nuts and raisins, as they can turn bitter and affect the taste.
  • Once the nuts and raisins are sautéed, remove them from the pan and set them aside on a plate.

Step 5: Combining the Ingredients for Pongal

  • In the same pan or kadai, add the cooked rice and lentil mixture.
  • Pour in the strained jaggery syrup and mix well, ensuring the rice and lentils are evenly coated with the syrup.
  • Cook the mixture on low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. The Sweet Pongal should become thick and creamy in consistency.
  • At this stage, add the remaining 1/4 cup of ghee, cardamom powder, and saffron strands (if using) to the mixture. Mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.

Step 6: Adding the Nuts and Raisins

  • Add the sautéed nuts and raisins to the Sweet Pongal mixture and stir gently to combine.
  • If using edible camphor, add a pinch at this stage and mix well. Edible camphor adds a unique aroma and flavour to the Sweet Pongal, but it is optional and can be skipped if not available or preferred.

Step 7: Serving the Sweet Pongal

  • Once the Sweet Pongal has reached the desired consistency, turn off the heat.
  • You can serve the Sweet Pongal hot or warm, depending on your choice.
  • Garnish the Sweet Pongal with additional nuts and raisins if desired. 

How to Make Perfect Sweet Pongal

While you have the above Sweet Pongal Recipe to guide you, here are a few tips to help you achieve perfection.

  1. Be sure to use short-grain rice for Sweet Pongal, as it imparts a creamy and rich texture to the dish. Sona Masoori rice is preferred, but you can also use other short-grain varieties.
  2. When cooking the rice and lentils, ensure they become soft and mushy, as this helps to create a smooth and creamy dessert.
  3. Always cook the jaggery on low heat to prevent it from burning or becoming too thick. The right consistency is crucial for a perfect Sweet Pongal.
  4. Ghee is one of the ingredients for Pongal as it adds richness and enhances the flavour. Do not skip it! However, you can tweak the Sweet Pongal recipe to adjust the quantity as per your taste and dietary preferences.
  5. Be mindful of the edible camphor quantity, as using too much can overpower the dish. If you're unsure, it's best to skip it. 

With this easy and delightful Sweet Pongal recipe, you can now enjoy the warm and comforting taste of this traditional South Indian dessert at home. Whether you're celebrating the festival of Pongal or simply craving a delicious and satisfying treat, Sweet Pongal is sure to impress your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

Share this recipe with friends and family so they can also learn how to make Sweet Pongal and add this delectable dish to their festive spread.
 

Sweet Pongal FAQs: 

  • Can you use sugar instead of jaggery as one of the ingredients for Pongal? 

While jaggery is used in the traditional Sweet Pongal recipe, you can substitute sugar if jaggery is unavailable or if you prefer a milder sweetness. However, using jaggery imparts a distinct flavour and colour to the dish, which may be lost if sugar is used. 

  • Is the Sweet Pongal recipe vegan? 

Traditional Sweet Pongal is not vegan, as it contains ghee (clarified butter) as one of the main ingredients. However, you can make a vegan version of Sweet Pongal by substituting ghee with a plant-based oil or a vegan butter alternative. Keep in mind that the flavour profile may change when using a different fat source. 

  • Can you use brown rice or other grains in the Sweet Pongal recipe? 

Yes, you can use brown rice or other grains like quinoa, millet, or barley as ingredients for Pongal. However, the cooking time, texture, and flavour may vary depending on the grain used. Adjust the cooking time and water quantity accordingly, and ensure the grains are cooked to a soft and mushy consistency for a creamy, Sweet Pongal. 

  • Can you make Sweet Pongal sugar-free? 

If you're looking to make a sugar-free version of Sweet Pongal, you can use sugar-free substitutes. Be sure to adjust the quantity in the Sweet Pongal recipe to maintain the level of sweetness. Keep in mind that using a sugar substitute may alter the taste, texture, and colour of the Sweet Pongal to some extent. 

  • How long can Sweet Pongal be stored? 

If you follow the above Sweet Pongal recipe properly, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, you can use a microwave or a pan on low heat, adding a little water or milk if needed to adjust the consistency.

  • Food

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