Sarkarai Pongal (Sweetened Rice)


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We celebrated pongal (the harvest festival) a week back. Leisurely posting the recipe a week later, that is how “fast” I am. Well, next year I can republish this post right on time, so I am happy for next year ;). Sarkarai Pongal is a very traditional, very basic and a very simple dessert, often offered in temples or made in homes on auspicious days. But don’t let that restrict you, this makes a great dessert for any day or any party. Another popular variation of this dish is “Akkara Vadisal” where rice is cooked in milk instead of water.

Making this sweet pongal involves only four basic steps. Cook rice, make brown sugar syrup, mix rice and syrup, add some roasted nuts and raisins. Child’s play , right ? It is really that simple. Hopefully, the tips I give below are helpful in simplifying the already simple recipe.

To make the sweet pongal, you will need :

  1. Uncooked rice – 1 cup (any kind is good)
  2. Moong Dal or split green gram – 1/4 cup
  3. Jaggery/Vellam/Dark Brown sugar – 1 cup
  4. Water (to cook rice) – 4 cups
  5. Water (for syrup – 1/4 cup)
  6. Cardamom powder – 4 tsp
  7. Cashew nuts – 3 tbsp
  8. Raisins – 2 tbsp
  9. Ghee / Melted Butter – 4 tbsp
  • First, we have to get the rice ready. In a pan or a pressure cooker, heat 2 tbsp of ghee or butter and roast the moong dal (green gram).

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  • Rinse rice and add ¬†rice to the pan and mix well that each grain is coated with ghee.

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  • Rice and dal mixture has to be well cooked to really soft consistency, so double up the quantity of water used. Add 4 cups of water and 2 tsp of cardamom powder and cook the rice and dal until soft. When rice is cooked , mash it gently with the back of a spatula. (If not using pressure cooker, you will have to add more water).

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  • Now to make the brown sugar syrup, mix 1 cup of brown sugar in 1/4 cup of water and heat until the sugar completely dissolves in water.

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  • If you are using jaggery/vellam it is important to make sure the syrup is free of any impurities, so filter the sugar solution using a clean cloth. I used a wet bounty paper towel, it gets the job done.

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  • Now, put the clean syrup back on heat and bring it to a boil. You are looking for 1-string consistency, but when your syrup comes to a good rolling boil, you can be sure its there.

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  • Add the syrup to the cooked rice and dal and mix thoroughly.

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  • Now , for the last step : In a separate pan , add a tbsp of ghee/butter , and fry the cashews and raisins to golden brown and add to the rice.

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Add the last spoon of ghee right before serving, and your sweet pongal is ready to be served to the king/queen in you ūüôā

Some pointers :

  • Instead of making syrup, you can directly add the ¬†brown sugar to rice. But I do not prefer that method, as the brown sugar tastes raw in the final pongal. Adding the syrup gives a well rounded taste.
  • I have only used cardamom powder, you can also add nutmeg, ground cinnamom or a pinch of ground ginger to elevate the flavors.
  • It is not very appealing when it is in a soupy consistency, often confusing the eater if its pongal or payasam (kheer). It should be in the”sticky rice” consistency.
  • Use milk to cook the rice instead of water and make a much creamier version of this pongal, which is also called as “Akkara Vadisal”.

Treat yourself to this yumminess effortless !!!!!!

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A heart filled with gratitude…..


I am giving a lazy start to the New Year, as always, it takes me forever to recover from a vacation. Even before 2013 ended, I pledged that my very first post in 2014 will be the expression of gratitude to my fellow bloggers who have showered me with their kindness, support and awards. Every award made me float in the air, inspired me and motivated me. Strawberry Lentils is my first ever blogging experience, and I owe it to all my friendly bloggers here to have made it a very pleasant experience. I have immense respect for every one of you and I am a big fan of all your writings , photographs and of course, the yummilicious recipes. Even though I did not follow through with any rules, I hope you will kindly accept my heartfelt thanks…..

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(Photo from : http://www.flickr.com/photos/16216142@N02/1801682819/)

My very first award came from Charanya of VeganRecipesOnline. Charanya has an amazing collection of vegar recipes from various cuisines. One of my favorites is her Vegan Thai Curry (http://veganrecipesonline.wordpress.com/category/thai-curry/). Thank you Charanya for the “shine on” award and your kindness.

Thank you Aruna of Aahaaram for the Versatile Blogger Award“. Visiting Aruna’s blog is like visiting home for me. All those wonderful recipes of yummy comfort foods, I am a huge fan. ¬†Her collection of Andhra recipes is ¬†such a treat to spice lovers like me. Here is one of my favorites, the signature Andhra Pesarattu recipe (http://aahaaram.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/mla-pesarattu-or-pesarattu-with-upma/). Thank you Aruna for your support.

Another Versatile Blogger Award from Sugarfreesweetheart’s Priya¬†. Thank you Priya for your kindness. Priya’s blog features diabetic friendly healthy recipes, which are good for everybody, diabetic or not. Contrary to the popular belief of diabetic diet being lackluster….her collection of recipes are so yumm and colorful and flavorful, here is one for sample : her gorgeous looking Bisibelabath (http://sugarfreesweetheart.com/2013/11/25/moms-bisi-bele-bhath/). I have to thank Priya again for her generosity to have nominated me for “Dragon’s loyalty award“.

Thank you Namrata of MyFoodTapestry ¬†for the “Liebster Award“. I am a huge fan of Namrata’s blog not just for her unique recipes, but also for her interesting style of writing and beautiful photographs. Even those who are not foodies will enjoy Namrata’s blog because of her witty writing. If you are a foodie, then her posts are such treats , as they always come not just with a recipe, but exploring all possibilities for that dish…it is such a pleasure reading her posts. I have self declared her as my bread guru, as she whips out those flat breads and paavs with so much ease and perfection. Here is one of my favorites, her post on paav that left me in awe …http://myfoodtapestry.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/mumbai-special-pav-bhaaji/

Thank you FightForTheBite¬†for “I’m part of WordPress Family” award. I enjoy the love of chocolate expressed in these recipes as I share the same love. Check out the awesome marbled cake recipe here¬†http://fightforthebite.wordpress.com… There are many more droolworthy recipes here.

Thank you Tanusree for the WordPress Family award. How wonderful will it be to have delicious recipes certified by a nutrition expert ??? well, thats what we get in her blog. Her recipes are so yummm, they almost overshadow the fact that they are also so healthy. Here is a sample : her awesome carrot halwa recipe http://tanusreeroy.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/low-calorie-gajar-ka-halwa-carrot-pudding-ayurveda-recipe/.

Thank you Anne of TalesAlongTheWay¬†for¬†the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. I enjoy Anne’s travelogue, reading her thoughts on Indian politics is very refreshing. When I read her posts , it makes me feel as if I am travelling with her. And if you think you know India so well, then challenge yourself by taking her quiz at¬†http://talesalongtheway.com/2013/11/12/how-well-do-you-know-india-take-a-quiz-and-find-out/¬†My scores…… I am keeping it a secret ūüôā

Thank you Chintal of ChinsKitchen¬†for¬†the Liebster Award. If I can make up my own award I will present Chintal with “The Queen of Innovation” award. Every single recipe of hers promises her unique approach to it, and it always leaves me wondering “how come I never thought of that”. She combines things that are never put together before and make them work magically. Shrikhand as your frosting or gulanb jamuns in ¬†cheesecakes.. there is always novelty in her recipes. Here is a recipe of hers that was a huge hit with my kids : The Makai Paka (http://chinskitchen.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/makai-paka-hors-doeuvres/)

Thank you Pavithra of Eat,Live,Burp ¬†for passing on the “Sunshine Award“. Along with awesome recipes, Pavithra also gives product and restaurant reviews. Be sure to check out her reviews before testing out a new TraderJoe’s product or visiting a new restaurant in British Columbia and Washington Areas. Here is a sample :http://eatliveburp.net/2013/03/01/eat-your-way-through-vancouver-bc-and-an-exciting-update/

Thank you once again to all the above mentioned bloggers for graciously passing on awards to me.

I also would like to mention  few other bloggers whose posts I greatly enjoy.

  1. ¬†Honk if you’re Vegan¬†http://honkifyourevegan.com/
  2. Anjana at the corner of happy and harried http://happyandharried.wordpress.com/
  3. SimplyVegetarian777 http://simplyvegetarian777.wordpress.com/
  4. This is Thirty http://andthisisthirty.com
  5. Chef Mimi http://chefmimiblog.com
  6. FoodBod http://foodbod.wordpress.com
  7. Shivaay Delights http://shivaaydelights.wordpress.com
  8. Lisa’s Project Vegan¬†http://lisasprojectvegan.com
  9. VegCharlotte http://vegcharlottenc.com
  10. The Novice Gardener http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com
  11. Cooking with SJ  http://cookingwithsj.com

My sincere thanks to all my fellow bloggers ,followers and my friends for your continued support and kindness. Wishing you all a wonderful 2014 ! And a very happy Pongal/Sankaranthi to those who are celebrating…

Thank You !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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(Picture from : http://theweddingguy.ca/blog)