Pongal is a four-day long harvest festival of Tamil Nadu, that is one of the most important festivals of the state. It’s an occasion for people to offer thanks to nature and it falls on January 14 every year. Pongal festivities include getting together with near and dear ones, exchanging gifts and feasting on some yummy traditional Pongal dishes. The festival is considered to one of joy and that will usher in prosperity and happiness.

Pongal feast is mainly prepare from rice, dal, jaggery, dry fruits, sugar and milk and are generally offered to the Sun God. One of the most important dishes that is a part of the festive fare is the Sakkarai Pongal or sweet Pongal. The sweet dish is made from freshly harvested rice, cooked with jaggery, ghee and cashew nuts. The dish takes all of half an hour to make (including the preparation time) but it tastes extremely delicious. ALSO READ: Here’s how Pongal festival is celebrated in Tamil Nadu

All the ingredients are typically cooked in a clay pot in an open courtyard. Once the dish is prepared, it is first offered to the Gods, before it’s partaken by people of the household, as prasad or holy food that has been blessed by the Gods. Chef Rana from Royal Orchid Hotels in Bengaluru, tells us how to prepare the sweet Pongal. ALSO READ: Happy Lohri 2017: The complete traditional Punjabi feast prepared during the harvest festival!

Sweet Pongal Recipe by Chef Rana Gomes

Ingredients

Raw Rice: ½ cup
Moongdal: ½ cup
Jaggery: ½ cup
Water: 2 ½ cup
Ghee: 3 tablespoon
Salt: pinch
Cashew: 5-6 no
Rasins: 2 table spoon
Cardamom: 1 pc
Clove: 1 pc
Milk: Optional to moisten
Edible camphor: pinch

Method

1. If using a pressure cooker/ pan, add 1/4 tsp ghee and roast the moong dal.

2. Add water, washed rice and salt. Pressure cook for 4 whistles. Mash it once done. Or just boil Rice and Mongdal increase the quantity of water to 1 more cup.

3. Powder jaggery and heat it with water just to immerse it and bring to boil. Let the jaggery completely dissolve and stain for any impurities it and add to the mashed rice in the cooker or a Pot.

4. In a separate pan, heat a tsp of ghee and roast cashews to golden and add raisins to it. Once it fluffs up, transfer it and keep aside. In the same pan, add cloves, Cardamom and switch off the stove. ALSO READ: Happy Lohri 2017: Here’s why food is fed to the fire on this Punjabi harvest festival

5. Give a quick stir. Take out Cardamom and powder it, add the powdered Cardamom edible camphor, cloves along with nutmeg powder to the Pongal.

6. Mix well and cook in medium flame for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water or milk if it gets dry while cooking. Add ghee little by little while cooking. Finely add the fried cashews and raisins.

7. To serve any deep dish underline with Banana leaf to give tradition look and feel, use terracotta or clay garnish with some saved cashew and raisin