Chakkara Pongal with Brown Rice
Chakkara Pongal / Sakkara Pongal/ Chakkarai Pongal is an auspicious sweet dish made on Pongal day. The freshly harvested rice and dal, are cooked along with jaggery for a simple, minimalistic sweet dish to mark the occasion of Pongal, a festival celebrated with much fervour in Tamil Nadu.
As a kid, simple dishes like Chakkarai Pongal would often be pushed away in favour of fancier desserts, but as we grow older, we crave for the flavours of our traditional dishes, the dishes our grandmothers, aunts and mum prepared for us.
Even this morning, I had to quickly text my mum to confirm the ratio of dal and rice and whether I should roast the moong dal and how much I should roast. I am happy to be able to keep our family traditions alive :)
Here's my family's recipe for Chakkara Pongal, which I have made a tad healthier using brown / semi polished rice from Phalada Agro and I am happy to use their dark and very flavourful organic jaggery for this dish. Traditionally, cashew nuts go along with the raisins but today I have used almonds.
Of course, the more ghee you add, the more the flavour. So you don't have to restrict yourself to the quantity in my recipe :) Quite a few temples serve Chakkarai Pongal as their prasadam with lots of ghee and kalkandu (rock candy) - a hot favourite among prasadam connoisseurs.
- Rinse and soak the brown rice for 1 hour. Drain water and keep aside.
- Lightly roast the dry moong dal for 4-5 minutes until aromatic. Do not brown it.
- In a pressure cooker, take the drained rice, roasted moong dal with 3.5 cups of water. Pressure cook for 2 whistles and then cook on sim for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pan, place the grated jaggery along with 3-4 tbsp of water until you get a melted liquid jaggery.
- Once the cooker has cooled, add the cooked dal-rice to the melted jaggery, adding some more water if required and bring this to a simmer, adding 1 tbsp ghee to it at this stage.
- Crush the pods of the green cardamom and add it to the simmering pongal.
- Heat the remaining ghee in a small pan or a tadka ladle, add the raisins and chopped nuts and stir until the raisins puff up and the almonds are golden brown.
- Remove the pongal into a serving bowl and add the raisins and almonds as a garnish.
This post is brought to you by Phalada Pure and Sure. The products used were Organic Semi Polished Rice and Organic Jaggery. You can find them on Phalada's website.