Sunday, 20 May 2012

Chakkarai Pongal (sweet pongal)

Chakkarai Pongal (sweet pongal)

While growing up, I was not a fan of chakkarai pongal but always enjoyed it when distributed to devotees as prasadam in temples, especially vaishnava temples. It will be given in special cups called ‘dhonnai’ which is made with a specific leaf. There will be no shortage of ghee in these temple chakkarai pongal and I always wondered what magical powers the cook in the temple kitchen (called madapalli in tamil) has to make such yummy dishes. The best part is that when they give you a small cup of the prasadam, we would wish they gave us more but by the time we finish having that cup, we will feel so satiated and full. Over the years my taste seems to have changed and once in a while I do fancy some sweets. One such dessert is chakkarai pongal. I used to make this more often in very small quantities, far less sweeter when I was weaning my wee one as it is in mushy consistency and has goodness of mung dal and as I also add milk to it, it was quite a good dish for little ones as well. I had not realised I had not posted this recipe earlier and now a reader had asked for it; so this has finally made it to the blog. During pongal festival, this dish is usually made in mud pots and in my house it is made in ‘vengala paanai’. I started making it in my vengala paanai but had misjudged the quantity and capacity of the dish and had to transfer it later. The final colour or the dish will depend on the jaggery used and you may need to adjust jaggery quantity based on how sweet your jaggery

is. It is best served warm and with a dollop of ghee on top. Some people add mace also to this but I don’t like it, so I didn’t. Here is the recipe...

¾ cup rice
¼ cup mung dal
4-5 tablespoon ghee
1 ½ cups jaggery
Couple of pinches cardamom powder
Couple of pinches saffron
2 tablespoon chopped cashew nuts
2 tablespoon raisins
½ cup milk

Heat some ghee in a heavy bottom pan and add little ghee. Add the rice and dal and fry until aromatic

Add milk and atleast 3 cups of water and cook stirring often. The dal and rice should turn out mushy. You may need to add more water to get the desired consistency

Add jaggery and little ghee and keep stirring until all jaggery dissolves and is well combined. Allow to simmer

Add the cardamom, saffron and if desired some mace and mix well and cook for couple of minutes. Again you may need to add more water to keep the consistency a bit lose as it could turn out dry once cooled

Fry cashews in ghee until golden and raisins until puffed. You could do this at the very start to avoid using multiple dishes

Add the cashews and raisins and mix well

Serve warm


  1. Feel like having some,my fav sakkarai pongal.

  2. very useful really good information thanks for posting such a good information it will hepls the people a lot keep it up , Regards,
    chakkara pongal recipe