Sweet Pongal

Sankaranthi or Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in South India in the middle of the month in January and is celebrated with great pomp and festivities especially in the villages of South India.

This dish is especially made on that day and ofcourse prepared on other festive occasions based on the family traditions.
Sweet Pongal is jaggery or brown sugar based cooked with rice and yellow moong dal.

Ingredients to serve 20 people

1 Cup Rice
¾ Cup Yellow Moong Dal
4 Cups Water (to cook the rice and dal)
¼ Cup Milk
1½- 2 Cups Powdered Jaggery OR
2-3 Cups Brown Sugar
½ Cup Water (to boil the jaggery or brown sugar)
¼ Cup Ghee

For the Spices

2 Tsp. Cardamom Powder
2 Tsp. Nutmeg Powder
A Pinch Edible Camphor (optional)
5 Tbs Chopped Cashew nuts

Sweet Pongal


Pressure cook the rice and the dal with the water and milk till it is done.
Mash it well and set aside.
Place a small pan on a low flame and add 4-5 tablespoons of the ghee.
Add the cashew nuts and fry till the nuts turn golden brown
Add the sultanas and keep aside
Bring half a cup of water to the boil and add the powdered jaggery or the brown sugar
Stir it on a medium flame and let it boil for a couple of minutes
Add the mashed cooked rice and dal mix to the jaggery syrup and stir it.
Let it cook on a small to medium flame till the jaggery syrup is absorbed by the rice and dal (pongal) mix
Keep stirring it every two minutes till it solidifies.
Add the remainder of the ghee and mix it thoroughly.

Garnish with the cardamom powder, edible camphor, fried cashew nuts, sultanas and nutmeg powder
The pongal is ready to be served.

Note:  The spices add great taste and flavour to the dish. Sultanas can also be added to the dish as a garnishing.
My preference is to use the spices quite generously as it tastes delicious!!





  1. Nalini Mukherjee says:

    Thanks for this recipe. I will try it out soon. I was in India v recently and asked for shakar-pongal recipe and they gave me something without the dal. So I need to try out your recipe and believe it will be the right one.Cheers Nalini

    • Shobha Krishnan says:

      Hi Nalini Thanks – please try it out and let me know how you go! I believe this to be the traditional way to make it – although people now a days do substitute the jaggery with brown sugar!