December 26, 2011

Chakkarai pongal

Chakkarai means sugar in Tamil. Chakkarai pongal is made with rice, moong dal, ghee & jaggery and is the sweeter version of venpongal. It is a practice to prepare chakkarai pongal on pongal (harvest festival) especially in South India. The idea behind preparing chakkarai pongal on pongal is to use the freshly harvested rice, make a sweet/dessert with it and offer it to the Sun God, as a gesture to thank for helping the crops grow.

My mom makes chakkarai pongal in "venkala paanai" (brass vessel). It is a practice that we do pooja and offer chakkarai pongal in our terrace, directly under the sun. One such time, I was helping my mom and offered to carry the chakkarai pongal vessel to terrace. I don't exactly remember what or why, but I dropped the vessel on my way to the terrace. We wrapped up the pooja with whatever little chakkarai pongal left. Seeing all that yummy pongal in trash, I felt so sad & helpless that day. One heck of an incident that keeps coming to my mind whenever I make pongal.

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 30 mins
Cook time - 30 mins
Serves - 4-6

Raw rice - 3/4 cup
Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Rice : Water - 1 : 3 ratio 
Turmeric powder - a pinch

Powdered jaggery - 1 cup, heaped

Cardamom - 4 pods, powdered
Cloves - 1, powdered
Powdered Nutmeg - a pinch

Broken cashews - 10
Raisins - 10
Ghee - 1/2 cup

Dry roast moong dal until fragrant.

Pressure cook rice & dal with turmeric powder on medium heat for 2-3 whistles and let it cool. Mash the rice & dal mixture well. Keep it aside.

Heat a tsp of ghee in a pan, roast cashews until golden brown and raisins until plump. Keep it aside.

In the same pan, dissolve powdered jaggery in 1/4 cup water and bring it to a boil. Let it boil until the raw smell of jaggery is gone. Add mashed rice & dal mixture and mix it well on low heat. Let it cook for a minute or two. Now, add ghee gradually in intervals, 1/8 cup at a time and keep on stirring until pongal starts to leave the sides. 

Add cardamom powder, clove powder, nutmeg powder, roasted cashews, raisins and mix well.

Drizzle a spoonful of ghee on top and serve hot!


  1. Very authentic and delicious pongal.. Yummy !!
    Indian Cuisine

  2. very useful really good information thanks for posting such a good information it will hepls the people a lot keep it up , Regards,
    chakkara pongal recipe