Monday, January 13, 2014

How to prepare Sarkarai Pongal in a traditional open pot ...| Sakkarai Pongal Recipe | Sweet Pongal Recipe

Thai Pongal otherwise known as Tamizhar Thirunaal in Tamilnadu is celebrated in Mid-January. The festival spans four days starting from  the last day of Markazhi and first three days of Thai. Basically this festival is celebrated as a mark of showing our gratitude to “Nature”.  The celebration starts with Bhogi or Mahar Sankranthi , on this day everyone prepares their house for celebrating Pongal by discarding the old, unused items from their house. The next day is Pongal.  On this day, Pongal is made out of the harvested rice. This Pongal along with farm fresh vegetables ,  sugarcane, etc are offered to the Sun God. The next day is Mattu Pongal, celebrated  for the bullocks which help in all agriculture activities. The fourth day is observed as Kaanum Pongal and everyone visits their relatives’ houses to get the blessings of the elders.

In the olden days, many people used to get a new mud pot for making Pongal on the day of Thai Pongal. As the new mud pot  cannot be used straight away  for cooking, it needs to be processed for cooking . So, the preparation for Pongal festival starts a few days ahead.  Some families traditionally follow the way of making pongal in a brass vessel called Vengala Paanai (Brass Pot) and the paanai will be handed over to the next generations. Whatever the pot they use, it needs to be decorated with colourful drawings and  some special flowers,  manjal kizhangu is to be tied around the neck of the pot. The stove will be kept in the open yard and Pongal will be prepared in the special vessel and after preparation it will be offered to Sun-god Surya.

Now, in the apartment culture, it is not at all possible to prepare Pongal in the open yard, but we can make Pongal in Paanai |Pot using our regular stove top. While preparing Pongal, it is customary to let it spill out from  the pot. The symbolism behind the spilling of Pongal is that peace, prosperity and joy must spill over from the pot of life throughout the year.So it is always good to prepare Pongal in open vessel atleast on this day of Pongal instead of using pressure cookers.

Today, I am going to tell you the procedure for making Sakkarai Pongal in Pongal Paanai! The traditional open pot method of preparing Sarkarai Pongal follows few steps and it will get cooked in half-an-hour's time since we are using raw rice.


  • Ponni raw rice – 1 cup
  • Green moong dhal – ½ cup
  • Water – 5 cups
  • Milk – 1  cup
  • Crushed jaggery – 1 cup (heap measure)
  • Coconut gratings – ½ cup
  • Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • Ghee – 2 tbsp
  • Cashew nuts – a handful
  • Raisins – a handful

  1. Wash raw rice and moong dhal  in water together  twice. Then add 5 cups of water to this, drain the water alone into the pot in which we are going to prepare Pongal.
  2. Place the pot over the stove top, add ¼ cup of milk and bring it to boil. Allow the water to boil till it gets spilled over from the pot. Now is the time for “Pongalo Pongal!!” from you and the rest of your family JJJ
  3. Reduce the fire immediately and take out   ½  cup of water from the pot and keep it separately. Add the rice, dhal and stir well and cook in simmer stirring now and then.
  4. In the mean time, fry cashew nuts and raisins in a tsp of ghee and keep aside.
  5. Melt jaggery in ½ cup of water and strain the impurities.
  6. When the rice-dhal is done, add the remaining milk and stir well by mashing the rice gently. When the rice absorbs the added milk, add the strained jaggery syrup and mix well. After some time, pongal reaches thick pouring consistency, add cardamom powder, coconut gratings, fried cashew nuts and raisins and stir well Then add the balance ghee and switch off.

Your Sarkarai Pongal | Sakkarai Pongal prepared in a traditional way,  is ready for Pooja!

  • The pot you have chosen for making pongal should be of correct size i.e if you are going to prepare pongal  with 200g rice, it is enough if you choose the pot size of around 2 litres size!
  • I have used only one cup of jaggery but you can raise the quantity to 1 ½ cups and better to use Paagu vellam to get brownish colour.

Have a Happy & Prosperous Pongal! Pongalo Pongal!!!

Tags: Sarkarai pongal recipe, Thai Pongal recipe, Festival recipes, Traditional method of making Pongal in a pot, how to prepare pongal in open vessel?, sweetened rice recipe, Sweet pongal recipe with jaggaery, Sweet pongal recipe with Paagu vellam.