This is my husbands favourite dish. If I have to please my husband ; I just have to make Sakkarai Pongal.
For this one dish, I can claim with confidence – I have the experience. I really don’t know – how many times I have made this.
Sakkarai means sugar. It is called sugar rice. As the name suggests, it has to be sweet :).
Only 2 major ingredients for this recipe – Rice and jaggery.
Choosing the jaggery decides the taste of the sweet pongal.
For one cup of rice use 2 tbsp of moong dal (duli). This improves the flavour of the pongal.
Dry roast the dal in a low flame till nice aroma comes and wash it. Add it with the rice and cook it well in a cooker with a vessel inside.
For one cup of raw rice use equal quantity of jaggery. Suppose, you are using the pure jaggery use 1/2 cup of jaggery and 1/2 cup of brown sugar.
I feel equal quantity is required. If you are a less sweet person then use 3/4 cup.
Boil the jaggery very well (with half cup of water) and filter it with the tea strainer to remove the impurities of jaggery.
Add this to the cooked rice. Mix well. Cover it and again cook it for 2 whistles in high flame. If you want a very paghu texture keep it in low flame for 5 minutes extra. I don’t like that so I cook only for 2 whistles.
While adding the jaggery the pongal has to be little watery. If it is not then add some hot water.
Pongal when opened has to be little semi solid. As it will get thicker after some time.
I have used 3 1/2 cups water while cooking the rice and added the jaggery water and added another 1/2 cup of water.
Then, add cardamon powder and edible camphor (pachai Karpooram). Also fry some cashewnuts in ghee and add it on top.
If required serve by adding a dollop of ghee on top.
- I don’t like the flavour of edible camphor. To my surprise, I tasted a very good pongal in a temple in my village. If we add TOO little camphor it tastes wonderful. Be very careful. See my picture for 5oo gms of rice I used this small quantity of camphor. If you are making one cup or half cup of rice then you need to just add a dust particle. This gives the real flavour of Sakkarai Pongal.
- I don’t add cloves but can add 1 or 2. This depends on your taste.
- Also can add some raisons roasted in Ghee on top.
- There are some people who cook the rice in milk. This makes the pongal heavy and it does not taste like the traditional Sakkarai Pongal. It tastes good but I feel it is not required to add milk. The choice is yours.
- Can add some grated coconut (optional) or roast some coconut pieces in ghee and add. I love the flavour of ghee roasted coconut.
- This is another variety of jaggery which is in between pure jaggery and soda version. Even this has some soda but less than the light cloloured one. Even if you are using this jaggery use some brown sugar. Say if you are using 1 cup of rice and equal quantity of jaggery use 3/4 cup of this jaggery and 1/4 cup of brown sugar.
- If you use milk along with the soda version jaggery – milk will curdle. In case you definitively want to use milk add it while cooking the rice and not later. This will prevent the milk from curdling.