Wednesday, January 21, 2015

SARKARAI PONGAL | Sweet Rice from Tamil Nadu | How to make Sarkarai Pongal | Festival Special Recipe


As a South Indian who grew up in Chennai...come JANUARY and I am reminded of  our very own PONGAL festival . It is the biggest festival in TamilNadu. I  just love the sweet aroma of SARKARAI PONGAL and the pepper flavoured VENPONGAL.....YUM!!!!

Traditionally this dish is prepared in large Mud Pots or Caldrons and the rice is cooked in Milk by continously stirring. The cooking is done using firewood and all the women folk in the villagers cook together. It is considered auspicious for the rice and milk to spill over from the pot.  The words "Pongalo Pongal"echos whenever the milk spills over. 

 The Villages in Tamilnadu brighten up with festive cheer and is a visual treat for the eyes. 
Colourful Rangolis adorn the entrance to each house!! 

  I love to cook for this festival as the menu is simple and the cooking methods that I have adapted from my mom is even simpler.  Venpongal,Sarkarai Pongal, ParuppuVadai are 'must have healthy and delicious dishes that I make on the occasion of Pongal.


Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking Time : 20 minutes
Serves : 4
1 Cup = 250 ml

Ingredients :

1 Cup Uncooked SONA MASOORI rice 
1/4 Cup  Moong dal 
1 Cup Jaggery 
 Water ( adjust)
2 tablespoon Ghee/Clarified butter
4 Freshly crushed Green Cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon Kalkandu ( Sugar crystals)
1 teaspoon milk powder ( optional)

For Garnish :

5 to 6 Cashews/Raisins


1. In a heavy bottom wide  pan/wok, dry roast rice and moong together till the raw smell goes. This will take around 5 minutes. Do not brown the rice or dal. 
2. Wash and cook this rice-dal with adequate water so  that they are cooked soft and mushy.
TIP: Adding a teaspoon of milk powder to the rice improves the flavour.
3. Heat pan with  one teaspoon ghee. Lightly roast the cashews and raisins. Transfer it to a bowl.
4. In the same pan, add the remaining ghee. When the ghee heats up, add the freshly crushed cardamom. 
5. Now add the jaggery melted and filtered in a cup of water.
TIP: I use Jaggery:Water proportion 1:1. Melt and filter for impurities.
6. Let the jaggery mixture boil till it thickens. Now add the cooked rice and keep mixing. Add the kalkandu and keep mixing. If it becomes too dry, you can add little ghee, water or milk. Switch off.

Garnish with the dry fruits and serve steaming hot.

Delicious traditional Sarkarai Pongal is ready!!!

Pongalo Pongal !!!

Wishing you all a Joyous festival and Happy Cooking!

With love,


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