Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pongala Payasam/ Chakkara Pongal/ Sweet Rice and Dhal Pudding

I found this recipe posted by Indianadoc last year when searching for naivedyam or holy offering to eat on Attukal Pongala. I decided to make this for Pongal this year. Pongal is a porridge made of rice and dhal with a choice of spices, nuts, herbs, fruits or vegetables. If it is salty it is VenPongal (meaning white pongal), if it is sweet it is ChakkaraPongal (or sweet pongal). Usually chakkarapongal is a brownish color from the use of jaggery, a type of raw brown sugar.

The original recipe for pongalapayasam shared by Indianadoc has coconut, which I think would be definitely added for Attukal Pongala, being a Kerala festival and the love for coconut has no bounds in God’s Own Country!! If you like to add shredded coconut, that can also be done, though this recipe has omitted that ingredient.


3/4 cup Rice
3/4 cup Split moong dal
4 cubes Jaggery grated into 1 cup water (maybe ¼ cup powdered jaggery, if jaggery is not available use brown sugar or white sugar)
2 Bananas - small diced (1 to 1 ½ cup)
1/2 cup Cashew nut crushed
1/2 cup Raisins
1 cup Milk
3 tbspn Ghee (or butter)

1. Wash and rinse rice and moong dhal in water.

2. Slow cook the rice and dhal in 3 cups plain water, uncovered on medium heat.

3. While this is happening grate jaggery into one cup water. Stir this water and add to pot.

4. Cut the banana and add to pot.

5. In a separate frying pan, heat ghee and add the cashews and raisins to it, making it golden brown. Add this to pot.

6. Take ½ cup of the milk add to the pan to rinse ghee from frying pan. Add to pan.

7. Boil all items together until they are like a porridge. Dhal will appear to dissolve in the mix. Rice will soften and become mushy. During this process if too much water is boiling out, add ¼ cup at a time.

8. When it is done the mix should be pudding –like. It should not be a mass. It should not burn to the bottom of the pan. Take off flame and let sit so the flavors can mix. After ½ hour should be ready to eat. At this point, to moisten it add the remaining ½ cup milk- warmed.

**I have given this recipe label of low salt. I have not added any salt to this recipe. The salt would enter if the ghee/butter or nuts used have salt.

Total time to cook 30-45 minutes

Servings 10-12 (estimates – ½ cup servings)

Related Posts/Sites:
This recipe inspired by the one posted by Indianadoc in her blog post, Indian Potpourri-Recipes,Culture,Ethnicity: Naivedyam
Celebrating the Feminine Divine: Attukal Pongala in Kerala
Pongal Menu and Recipes list