I love sweet pongal - also called sakkarai pongal or chakkari pongal. The velvety mixture sweetened with jaggery and smelling so yumm of ghee (clarified butter), powdered cardamom and nutmeg.
I visit the local Balaji Temple near home - they have a canteen inside the temple and the pongal there is just divine. I love the pongal and the boondi laddoos they serve there.
I had made pongal last year during sankranti and it was a little seet for my liking - I guess the jaggery used was a bit too much.This year I tried my hand at this sweet treat again during Sankranti. I used rice, moong dal and quinoa along with jaggery and ghee to make this. Turned out pretty well.
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup of rice ( I used a mix of surti kolam and ambemohur)
1 cup moong dhal
1 cup jaggery
1/2 cup milk
41/2 cups water
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1/4 cup broken cashews
1/4 cup raisins
a pinch of edible camphor (optional)
Add 1 teaspoon ghee in a frying pan and to this add the moong dal. Roast it on medium flame till the dal turns a golden color and becomes fragrant. Get it off the flame and add this dal to a pressure cooker/pan. Wash the rice and quinoa together. Drain all the water and add this to the moong dal in the pressure cooker/pan. Add 4 cups of water and let it cook for upto 3 whistles. After the pressure is released mash this mixture with the back of a spoon and let it sit aside.
In a saucepan add the jaggery and 1/2 cup water and let the jaggery completely dissolve. To this add the cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and if you are using edible camphor, add that as well. Sieve this mixture and add it to the rice quinoa and dal mixture in the cooker/pan
In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee and roast cashews to golden and add raisins to it and let them puff up. Add this mixture to the rice, quinoa and dal mixture in the pressure cooker/pan.
Add the milk and the remaining ghee and mix well on medium low heat. Keep stirring all the while. Once the pongal gets a velvety texture and it starts to release steam (kinda like boiling), get it off the heat. Pour it into a serving bowl and serve hot, warm or at room temperature
you can make this pongal by replacing the quinoa with broken wheat, brown rice or rolled oats. You can even skip the white rice and replace it with either quinoa, broken wheat, rolled oats or brown rice altogether.