Sweet pongal with jaggery / Sihi pongal recipe

Sankranti/Pongal festival - Sweet rice pudding

This Sweet pongal with jaggery / Sihi pongal recipe is a South Indian sweet rice pudding recipe. It is made with rice, moong dal / split mung bean and jaggery / gud.

Sweet 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.

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

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  / bella

Ingredients for sweet pongal to serve 4-5 people

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

Step by step instructions for making sweet pongal

Step 1: Wash rice and keep aside for 10-15 minutes.

Washed riceWashed rice

Step 2: Heat a pan, add moong dal and roast for 4-5 minutes till you get the aroma (this step, roasting moong dal is optional).

Roasted moong dalRoasted moong dal

Step 3: Add 2 cups water and moong dal to the washed rice. Keep in in the pressure cooker and cook as you usually cook your rice.

Step 4: Cook in pressure cooker for 2 whistles. Let the cooker cool naturally. The cooked rice/dal mixture will look as below.

Cooked moong dal and riceCooked moong dal and rice

Step 5: In another pan, mix jaggery and 1 cup water.

Step 6: Stir and let the jaggery dissolve in water. Boil for 2-3 minutes.

Step 7: Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a thick bottom kadhai/ pan. Add cashew nut pieces and raisins.

Step 8: Fry till raisins plump up as shown in the image. By that time, cashew pieces are also roasted just right.

Step 9: Strain the jaggery mixture over the fried cashew and raisins..

Step 10: Add the cooked moong dal and rice mixture to the jaggery syrup.

Step 11: Add fresh grated coconut. Mix well. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes or till all the jaggery syrup gets absorbed.

Step 12: Add cardamom powder and mix. Pongal thickens as it cools.

Ready sweet pongal with jaggery

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

Ready sweet pongal with jaggery

 Tips and variations

  • Your pongal color will depend on the color of the jaggery you are using. Organic jaggery is usually darker.
  • You may add more or less moong dal if you wish. I like to 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 desiccated 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.
  • 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.

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