Sweet Pongal, also called Sakkarai or Chakkara Pongal, is a popular traditional sweet dish from South India. Made with rice, moong dal, milk and jaggery, it is a delicious sweet pudding made during festivals.
Sakkarai Pongal is made during the festival of Makar Sankranthi or Pongal. It is served as offering to god (neivedhyam).
In Telugu speaking regions, this recipe is called Chakkara Pongal and it is called Sakkarai Pongal in Tamil Nadu.
Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in South Indian. This sweet pongal is typically made withe the freshly harvested rice. It is so simple made with basic ingredients and yet so satisfying.
There are 2 types of pongal - Ven Pongal and Sakkarai Pongal. Today I am sharing an easy one-pot recipe for Sweet Pongal that can be made in the stovetop pressure cooker or instant pot.
Sweet Pongal is made with moong dal and rice, cooked in milk and water. Nuts and raisins roasted in ghee are added along with cardamom, to make this most delicious dish.
I got this Andhra sweet pongal recipe from my friend. She makes the best pongal, and we have enjoyed it many times at her place. So I wanted to get the most authentic recipe to share with you all. My daughters loved this sweet pongal and I already have requests to make it every week. .
Sweet Pongal Ingredients
Moong Dal - Use split yellow moong dal in this recipe.
Rice - Use short grain rice to make pongal. I used sona masoori white rice to make this recipe. You can also use amber or other short grain rice.
Jaggery - This provides the earthy sweetness in the recipe. I used powdered jaggery. If you have a block of jaggery, then you can grate it. Or you can melt the jaggery in a cup of boiling water and add to the pongal (reduce the cooking water by 1 cup)
Ghee - In my opinion, ghee is a must to make pongal. If you are vegan, you can use using coconut oil.
Cardamom - I used ground cardamom. You can also coarsely grind 2 cardamom pods using a mortar and pestle.
Edible camphor - A pinch of edible camphor is added to the authentic traditional recipe. It add a characteristic taste and fragrance to the pongal. It is okay to skip of you don't have it available easily.
Cashews and Raisins - These are optional, but add so much flavor to the final dish.
How to make Sweet Pongal?
Instant Pot Method
- Roasting Dal: Start with roasting the dal in the instant pot. Roast it until nice and fragrant for a 2-3 minutes and remove it. You can also roast the dal in a pan separately and keep beforehand.
- Wash dal and rice: Add the roasted moong dal and rice to a bowl. Wash them well.
- Roasting cashews and raisins: Add ghee in the instant pot, add cashews, and saute for 30 seconds, then add raisins. Saute till cashews turn golden and take out.
- Cook dal and rice: Now add the washed rice, dal to the instant pot. Saute for 2 minutes. Then add water and milk. Pressure cook for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
- Make it sweet: Open lid and add powdered jaggery and cardamom. If using edible camphor, add it here. I used jaggery powder to make it a one-pot recipe. You can also use grated jaggery. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Pongal thickens as it cools. If needed, add some hot water and adjust the consistency.
Serve topped with the roasted cashews and raisins. Add more ghee to taste.
Serve as offering to god, and enjoy it water.
- To make Sweet Pongal on the stovetop, roast the dal in a pan.
- Similar roast the cashews and raisins in a pan and take out.
- To the pressure cooker, add the washed dal and rice. Cooked for 3-4 whistles and let the pressure release naturally.
- Then add the jaggery. If you have a block of jaggery, you can either grate it or boil a cup of water in a saucepan on the stovetop and add the jaggery to it. Stir until the jaggery melts, then add to the cooked dal and rice.
- Add cardamom powder and edible camphor. Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Adjust the consistency if needed by adding hot water.
- Top with the roasted cashews and raisins and serve!
Tips to make perfect Sakkarai Pongal
- Roasting the dal helps with making the perfect Sweet Pongal. Make sure to not roast too much.
- For perfect pongal, the consistency of rice and dal should be mushy like a porridge.
- Don't skimp on ghee when making pongal.
- The roasted cashews and raisins give a wonderful crunch to the final dish.
- You can also add grated coconut or desiccated coconut powder to this pongal. Add it along with the jaggery and cardamom.
To make this pongal vegan, use coconut oil in place of ghee. Skip milk and add more water or you can add almond milk.
Yes, replace milk with water. Pongal will turn out just as good.
You can replace jaggery with the same amount of sugar. The color of the pongal will be white as we are not adding jaggery.
Sweet Pongal (Sakkarai Pongal)
- ¼ cup Split Yellow Lentils (Moong Dal)
- ½ cup Short grain Rice washed (125ml), I used sona masoori
- 1 tablespoon Ghee or Oil
- 2 tablespoon Cashews halfed
- 1 tablespoon Raisins
- 3 cup Water
- 1 cup Milk
- ¾ cup Jaggery powdered or grated, adjust sweetness to taste, see notes
- ¼ teaspoon Cardamom powder (Elaichi)
- 1 pinch Edible camphor (Pacha Kapooram) optional
Instant Pot Method
- Start the instant pot in saute mode and add the moong dal to it. Roast it for 2-3 minutes until it is fragrat. Don't brown too much.
- Remove the roasted moong dal to a bowl. Add rice to the same bowl and wash them well.
- Add ghee in the instant pot, add cashews, and saute for 30 seconds, then add raisins. Saute till cashews turn golden and take out.
- Now add the washed rice, dal to the instant pot. Saute for 2 minutes.
- Then add water and milk. Cook in pressure cook (manual) mode on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
- Open lid, and add powdered jaggery and cardamom. If using edible camphor, add it here. Mix well and cook on saute mode for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the reserved cashews and raisins. Pongal thickens as it cools. If needed, add some hot water and adjust the consistency.
- Serve topped with the roasted cashews and raisins. Add more ghee to taste.
Stovetop Pressure Cooker Method
- Follow the same steps to roast the dal and cashews/raisins. Then cook the dal and rice in the pressure cooker for 3-4 whistles. Then follow the steps to add the jaggery, cardamom and edible camphor. Cook for 2-3 minutes and serve topped with roasted cashews and raisins.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.