Sweet Pongal (Sakkarai Pongal)

How do you decide whether to try a new recipe or not? What’s your process? Do you have a checklist and see whether the recipe ticks all the required boxes? Or are you a fan of freestyle, no checklists, no processes, come what may….

I’ve seen both sets of people, those who are very particular about what they want to cook and plan ahead, and others who cook on a whim.

I think I’m somewhere in the middle. That’s the problem with me always, I’m neither there, nor here, always on the middle ground. Well, you can say am adaptive ;)

When it comes to cooking for the blog, I am more of a planner since I need to be ready with the ingredients and stuff. For daily cooking, it’s more like I open my fridge and it goes from there ;)

However at times, even for “blog cooking” I tend to do a complete 360 on my plans the last minute. This recipe was the result of one such turnaround.

You see, I wanted to make Gulab Jamuns and post it for Diwali. Let me be honest, I’ve tried Gulab Jamuns maybe 4-5 times, but it didn’t come out well. It looks good, tastes good, but the texture is all wrong. 

So this year, I thought I’ll give it a last try and see. I was all set to make it and was going through the recipes and that’s when I came across this one. Though I’ve never had any kind of Pongal before, I immediately knew this is my kinda food. 

I chucked the Gulab Jamun idea and this Sweet Pongal happened! Well, I’ve no regrets and we did enjoy this very much. I liked that it’s a sweet dish you can enjoy without feeling too guilty about it. 

You can have this as a dessert or as a breakfast as we did ;) It uses regular ingredients and kids will also love it. I hope you get to try this soon.

We wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Diwali! Stay Blessed!

You can see other Diwali recipes here

Here is the recipe…

Sweet Pongal
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Sweet Pongal (Sakkarai Pongal)

A healthy and tasty South Indian sweet dish made with rice, dal, and jaggery. Made during festive occasions.
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Course: Breakafst, Dessert
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 1/2 cup Raw Rice (Pachari) (soaked for 15 mins)
  • 1/2 cup Moong dal (cherupayar parippu)
  • 225 – 250 gms Jaggery
  • 1 + 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 2-3 Cardamon, crushed to fine powder
  • 2 tbsp Cashew nut pieces
  • 1/3 cup Coconut bits (thengakothu)
  • 1/4 cup Hot milk (optional (refer notes))


  • Soak the rice for 15 mins. Dry roast moong dal for 4-5 minutes, till the raw smell goes. Wash together with the rice and roasted dal.
    Step 1 Sweet Pongal
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  • Pressure cook rice and dal with 2.5 cups water for 4-5 whistles on full flame. Let the pressure drop naturally. Open the cooker and mash the cooked rice and dal with a wooden spoon.
    Step 2 Sweet Pongal
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  • Melt jaggery with 1/2 cup water and strain it.
    Step 3 Sweet Pongal
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  • Transfer the mashed rice and dal to a wider pan. Add melted jaggery to this. Mix well until both are combined.
    Step 4 Sweet Pongal
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  • Add a tablespoon of ghee to this mixture and cook.
    Step 5 Sweet Pongal
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  • Heat a tablespoon of ghee in a small frying pan. Fry the cashew pieces and coconut bits, separately, till it becomes golden brown.
    Step 6 Sweet Pongal
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  • Add hot milk (if using, refer notes) and mix well. Add the fried cashews, coconut bits and cardamom powder to the rice and dal mixture.
    Step 7 Sweet Pongal
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Make sure you dont roast the moong dal too long, if it get's burnt, pongal will have a smoky taste.
You can add 1/4 cut hot milk or coconut milk, just to loosen the pongal or make it a little creamier. 
You can add more ghee if you like. 
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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