Sakkarai pongal, Another authentic south-Indian sweet. As i mentioned in my earlier post, Ven pongal, since the Pongal festival is right around the corner (Jan 14), we thought this would be the best time to post this recipe too which is a must on Pongal.
Traditionally, rice and lentil (dhal) is cooked by simmering in the milk and stirring very often. This recipe is using a pressure cooker. Making the sakkara pongal in the pressure cooker is indeed a great time-saver. The pressure cooker way makes it Perfect for Navrathri or any festival when many other preparations are there.
Rice and lenthil cooked in milk and then cooked along with jaggery and ghee makes this an aromatic creamy-gooey sweet and like the savory version of this pongal, Ven pongal, Ghee is a key ingredient and the extra dollop of ghee before serving does wonders to the taste.
Ingredients you will need:
1 Cup Raw rice
1/4 cup moong dhal/Pasi paruppu
3 cups Milk (I used 2% milk)
1 cup water
4 cardamom pods (Crushed it using a mortar and pestle)
4 tbsp ghee (I used homemade ghee)
1/2 cup grated jaggery/vellam ( Jaggery I used is on sweeter side, differs from place to place so has variation in sweetness, adjust to taste)
Sakkarai pongal preparation:
Roast Moong dhal/Pasi paruppu for 2-3 minutes.
Add roasted moong dhal, rice, milk and water to the pressure cooker and let it cook for about 5 whistles on medium flame. Do not cook on high flame as it might get brunt at the bottom or form a charred layer of rice.
Meanwhile using a mortar and pestle, crush cardamom pods. Also Grate the jaggery and mix in the grated jaggery with 1/4 cup of water. Set aside.
Once the pressure releases, while the rice-dhal mixture is still hot, mash it with back of a ladle.
In a large, thick bottom pan add 2 tbsp ghee and roast cashews and raising. Mix in the jaggery-water mixture and bring it to a boil. Sprinkle cardamom powder and add mashed rice-dhal. Mix well and add the remaining ghee.
A small note: My amma cooks the jaggery, adds the mashed rice and then adds the cashews and raisins roasted separately. I know most of them do the same way. But when I made this dish first, I roasted cashews, raisins and in the same pan added jaggery and ever since following this way cause I have a feeling that melted ghee avoids jaggery sticking to the pan.
If the pongal is too thick, add some boiled milk (warm/medium hot) little by little. If the mixture becomes too loose, keep on a low fire and continue stirring until desired consistency.
The color of your Sakkarai pongal may be lighter or darker as it depends on the color of jaggery.
Edible camphor and fresh grated nutmeg are Optional Ingredients.
We had an Italian friend (who also loves to cook) home when I was making this. There was some knowledge transfer going on and came to know that a similar dish is made in Italy using Arborio rice, sugar, vanilla and dark rum which taste like sakkarai pongal!