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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jaggery Sweetened Rice with Raisins and Cashews "Sweet Pongal/Chakkara Pongal"

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BM#12Day4: Well, Pongal(South India's Harvest Festival) came and went by last week. That reminded me that I have a "Sweet Pongal(this dish)" post sitting in the draft for the past couple of months. MIL makes kick-ass Sweet Pongal/Chakkara Pongal. So I asked her to make me one last time before she went back to India. Devouring this sweet and mushy rice, generously doused with ghee, plenty of raisins and nuts, made me take a nostalgic look back at my childhood days when festivals were celebrated with such pomp and grandeur. My heart longs for those "festive days" that I as a kid used to look forward to with such fervor.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Cups Raw Rice
  • 1/4 Cup Split and hulled Green Gram "Moong Dhal", dry roasted prior to cooking 
  • 1 to 1-1/2 Cups Crumbled Jaggery (Recommended: Super Sweet Jaggery "Paagu Vellam") or as needed
  • 7 to 7-1/2 Cups Water  (Recommended Ratio 1 Rice: 3-1/2 Water)  (Or) 6 Cups Water + 1-1/2 Cups Milk (Milk + Water combo was used for this recipe)
  • 1/4 Tsp Cardamom Powder (Or) 4-5 Cardamon pods + 1/4 Tsp Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Ghee or more
  • A handful of Raisins
  • A handful of Cashews
  • A pinch of salt
Procedure:
  • Pressure cook the rice and the roasted Moong Dhal along with salt, water or water+milk mixture until it is soft and mushy. Before it cools off, use a ladle to smash it. Mushier the better!
  • In a separate pan, melt the Jaggery in little bit of water.Switch off the stove once it starts bubbling.
  • If using Cardamon pods, crush it in a mortar and pestle. Remove the shell and crush the seeds with little sugar till it is finely powdered. 
  • In a thick bottomed pan, add the mushy rice+dhal mixture. Using a filter, strain the jaggery and pour it into the pan.
  • Switch on the stove and warm this mixture.
  • Meanwhile, fry the raisin and cashews in another skillet with Ghee.
  • Add the finely ground cardamom powder.More milk may be added at this stage. Some like it super-sweet and super-goopy. 
  • Transfer the fried cashews and raisins. 
  • Give it a stir and dump the entire content into a serving bowl.
Note:
  • MIL used a different type of Jaggery, that she brought when she came for a visit -- This was not in the form of bullets/nuggets or the usual sphere(s) that they sell at Indian stores. She called the loosely packed Jaggery as "Paagu Vellam", an extremely sweet version that has no salt.  It had a beautiful reddish-orange hue.  If you can't get a hold of this you may use the one that comes in the form of spheres. 
  • On this auspicious occasion, a savory version of Pongal is also made called "Venn Pongal/Milagu Pongal" with plenty of Cashews, Black Peppers, Cumin seeds, Ginger and Curry Leaves. At home, we eat it with Freshly made Mint Chutney.
Enjoy!
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20 comments:

  1. I am totally drooling here. I don't have sweet tooth, even then I love to eat sweet pongal a lot. Cripy pictures!

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  2. OK get me a plate of sweet and savory pongal....yummy..
    BTW..i did make sweet pongal but only little...so it got over the next day itself....:(

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  3. Totally YUMMY..I love it..Delicious.

    Aarthi
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

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  4. Yummy pongal... my all time favourite..:))
    Reva

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  5. Lipsmacking here, wat an incredible and super delicious sweet pongal..

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  6. Very treditional recipe looks so tempting with those cashews yummmm..
    Padma
    www.plantainleaf.blogspot.com

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  7. seen many pongal recipes off late, but your pictures are by far the best

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  8. this surely is rocking!!..can u believe I was watching Sanjeev Kapoor cooking this sweet pongal yesterday...I fell in love with it...n here i am...amazing!!

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  9. Tempting chakra pongal. Good remembrance of pongal after pongal festival.

    Ongoing Event: MurariAnniversary-Giveaway-2012

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