Sweet pongal recipe for Sankranti

Indian festival - Pongal - Sweet rice recipe

This sweet pongal recipe is a South Indian sweet rice recipe.

Sweet pongal as well as khara pongal is made as part of Sankranti or Pongal festival food which is a harvest festival celebrated in the month of January.

Pongal is the name of a festival as well as the sweet rice made for that festival.

Ready to eat sweet pongalReady to eat sweet pongal

Sweet pongal is a popular festival sweet made at other festivals too in many south Indian kitchens. Sweet pongal is also served as a 'prasadam' in temples of South India.

Pongal or Sankranti festival has astronomical significance and is celebrated usually on 14th of January every year by many Indians.

It marks the movement of the Sun god towards north and refers to it as 'Uttarayana'.

Makara Sankranthi refers to the event of the Sun entering the zodiac sign of Makara or Capricorn.

Sankranti or pongal is also harvest festival and and newly harvested rice, moong dal (split mung bean) is used in cooking on that day.

There are a few variations of this sweet pongal.

Dry roasting the moong dal or not roasting is your choice. Roasting adds a little more flavor to the dal. I make it sometimes without roasting and that tastes good too.

The consistency of pongal is generally soft. The amount of water will depend on the type of rice and how old or new the rice is. New rice will need less water.

Adding some milk along with water adds to the taste of sweet pongal.

You may use any white rice, brown rice for this pongal recipe. Basmati rice is not required. But using basmati will add to the flavor.

How to make sweet pongal with jaggery / gud / vellam 

Main ingredients for sweet pongal

Green gram - Moong dal

Ingredients for sweet pongal to serve 2-3 persons

  • Rice - 1 cup
  • Moong dal (split mung beans) - 1/2 cup
  • Grated or powdered Gud / Jaggery - 1 1/4 cup (more or less according to taste
  • Fresh grated coconut (optional) - 1/2 cup
  • Broken cashew nut pieces - 1 tbsp
  • Water - 3 to 4 cups depending on the consistency you want.
  • Raisins - 1 tbsp
  • Ghee (clarified butter) / Oil - 1 or 2 tablespoon according to taste
  • Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp

Step by step instructions for making sweet pongal

Preparation for sweet pongal

  1. Wash rice and keep aside for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Heat a pan, add moong dal and roast for 4-5 minutes till you get the aroma (this step is optional).

 Cooking sweet pongal

  1. Heat a deep pan.
  2. Add 2 cups water, moong dal and washed rice.
  3. Bring to boil. Cook for 10 minute on low flame till just done and most of the water is absorbed.
  4. In another pan, mix jaggery and 1 cup water.
  5. Stir and let the jaggery dissolve in water. Boil for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Strain the jaggery mixture over the cooked rice.
  7.  Cook further till done to your desired consistency.
  8. Add more water if necessary. (the mixture thickens on cooling)
  9. Add fresh grated coconut. Mix well.
  10. Heat 1 tsp ghee in a small pan. Add cashew nut pieces and raisins and fry lightly.
  11. Add to the cooked rice. Mix well.

Sweet pongal is ready to serve. Keep covered till serving time. Serve it hot with a spoonful of ghee.

If leftover, this sweet pongal keeps good in fridge for 3-4 days. Just reheat and serve.

You may serve it cold as rice pudding but I think it tastes better when hot.

 Tips and variations

  • You may add more moong dal if you wish. Sometimes I add equal amount of rice and moong dal.
  • A mixture of milk and water can be used instead of only water for added taste.
  • If you are pressure cooking, cook as you cook plain steamed rice. The moong dal does not need any extra time to cook.Make jaggery syrup as given above and then add to the rice mix. I find cooking rice and moong dal first in the pressure cooker easier method.
  • You may use dessicated coconut instead of fresh grated coconut.
  • This sweet pongal recipe can also be made with white sugar instead of jaggery. I prefer to make it with jaggery.

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