Pongal is a festival celebrated in Tamilnadu state of Southern India. It is celebrated to thank Sun God and mother nature who has contributed towards a bountiful harvest.  On this auspicious day we also thank all the animals who are a part of the harvest. Pongal is celebrated for four days, each day having it’s own significance.

Pongal in Tamil means to boil and for this festival we prepare a lentil(dal) rice porridge in the open (not pressure cooker) and allow it to boil completely, signifying that the upcoming year needs to be as fulfilling and satisfying as the boiling Pongal. As the food boils out we thank mother nature and say “pongalo pongal” together.
These dishes are also prepared as a breakfast delicacy across south India and eaten with sambar and coconut chutney. 

We have many variations of Pongal, however for this festival two variations are prepared, one savoury and another sweet Pongal made of Jaggery.  The salted one is called “Ven Pongal” and sweet is called “Chakkarai Pongal“.

Giving you the recipe for both starting with Ven Pongal.

Ven Pongal Recipe

Ven Pongal


• Raw Rice 2 cups
• Moong dal ¾cup
• Water 5 to 6 cups
• Black peppercorns ¾ tspn
• Cumin seeds 1 tspn
• Ghee 2 tbspn
• Curry Leaves 1 sprig
• Asafoetida ¼ tspn
• Cashewnuts handful
• Corriander leaves handful
• Ginger grated ½tspn
• Green chilli Slit- 2


  • Wash and soak the rice and dal for about half an hour.
  • Heat a heavy bottomed wide vessel and add one teaspoon of ghee. Next add the dal and rice along with 6 cups of water along with salt as needed.
  • Allow it to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes in low flame while stirring intermittently to ensure the rice doesn’t get burnt at the bottom of the vessel.
  • You may add little more water if required as we need to cook it into a mushy consistency. So continue to cook until the rice and dal are mashed well. Please do not drain the water.
  • Once cooked add finely chopped Coriander leaves over it and set aside.
  • Add teaspoon of ghee to a pan and sauté a handful of Cashewnuts. Keep aside.
  • For tempering add ghee to the same pan, once it heats, first add Asafoetida, then Cumin seeds, next pepper corns, ginger, slit green chilli, curry leaves. Serve hot with sambar and coconut chutney.  

Chakkarai Pongal / Sweet Pongal Recipe

Sweet Pongal


  • Raw Rice 2 cups
  • Moong dal ¼ cup
  • Milk ¼ cup
  • Powdered Jaggery 1 ½ to 2 cups
  • Cashewnuts and raisin each handful
  • Crushed Cardamom 3
  • Ghee 3 tbspn


  • Wash and soak the rice and dal for about half an hour.
  • Please note the ratio of rice and dal for Sweet Pongal is different from ven Pongal, for sweet Pongal we add less dal while it is a little higher for the salted one. And the method is slightly different as we add a teaspoon ghee at the start for the salted Pongal.
  • Drain the water and place a heavy bottomed vessel on the stove and add 5 cups of water and the rice and dal.
  • Keeping the flame in low cook for about 15 to 20 min or until the whole thing comes to a mashed and mushy consistency just like we wanted for Ven Pongal.
  • Unlike Ven Pongal add water watchfully as we do not want it too watery as well. But ensure to add if needed. This is totally based on your  rice as some rice drinks for water.
  • Once the mixture is cooked well add ¼cup Milk and mix well and for another 3 to 5 min and add crushed Cardamom and mix.
  • We will need about 1½ to 2 cups of Powdered Jaggery. This quantity can be increased or decreased based on your sweet tooth.😋
  • Add the Powdered Jaggery to the pongal. You have to keep stirring to ensure the jaggery melts well and blends well along with rice and dal.
  • Once the Jaggery melts you might find the Mixture a bit watery, hence continue to cook until the water evaporates but ensuring they don’t burn either.
  • Keep this aside. Place a pan and add 3 to 4 tablespoon ghee please do not compromise on the ghee. Once heated fry raisins and cashews. fry until the cashews turns brown.
  • Add the cashews and raisins along with ghee to the Pongal and mix well. Your sweet Pongal is ready.  


  • Please watch over while cooking the rice and dal in a vessel as it will boil out of the vessel. To avoid spillage keep flame in low to medium low and stir continuously.
  • Please note I have followed the traditional method of cooking the rice and dal in a vessel rather than using a pressure cooker.
  •  You may follow the same process for both the recipes and pressure cook the rice and dal for about 4 to 5 whistles.
  •  Water ratio will be same as you normally cook rice which is 2 cup water for one cup of rice and dal.
  •  However you may need to add more water stir once you remove it from pressure cooker as pongal needs to be mushy.


Pongal Celebration at home

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