Even though I said that it is very simple, there are factors to keep in mind while preparing this dish.
- First and foremost, the rice and dal should be smashed completely and its almost like a porridge. So add extra water while cooking rice and if using a pressure cooker (most certainly) keep it for a couple of more extra whistles than you would keep for the regular rice. Also, add the mixture to the syrup when it is warm. As it cools it thickens and when you add the mixture it the jaggery syrup, the rice grains would again pulp up. We need a porridge texture that is smooth and velvety.
- Also add this cooked mixture after the raw smell from the jaggery syrup is gone. So let the syrup boil for sometime in med-low flame until it reaches a sticky state. If you touch the syrup should be sticky and the consistency of the jaggery syrup must have thickened. No need of string consistency but make sure the syrup has boiled well.
- Adjust the jaggery amount according to one's sweet preference.
A traditional rice based dish that is made during Sankarnati / Pongal. Rice and moong dhal cooked in jaggery syrup. This is a gluten free dessert.
- ¾ cup rice
- ¼ Cup pasi parupu | moong dhal
- 1.5 Cups powdered jaggery (refer notes)
- 1 cup milk
- 5 tablespoon ghee
- 12 cashew nuts, into pieces
Roast the Moong dhal on medium flame. As it turns golden brown and when you can smell the wonderful aroma of the dhal; turn off the stove.
Cook the dhal and rice, separately in the pressure cooker in one cup milk and enough water to cook it well. (1) The rice should be mushy and smashed very well. So add more water than usual and keep extra whistles. Smash the cooked rice and dhal. You can add warm milk to it if it becomes very dry. (2) Keep it aside.
Heat the pan and add jaggery and 2 tablespoon water. Do not add much water. Once the jaggery is dissolved turn off the stove.
Filter it using a strainer and once again pour it in the same pan and heat it again. Bring it to a boil on a medium flame.
Keep stirring till the jaggery mixture thickens and sticks to the finger when you touch it. At that time, add the cooked rice mixture and stir it.
Keep stirring until the pongal gets thicker. Add 4 tablespoons of ghee in intervals. Finally add the cardamom powder and roasted cashews.
Turn off the flame and enjoy warm.
- The rice and dhal should be smashed very well. If it is not cooked well and mixed; when you add it to the jaggery, it will not blend with it properly and the rice grains will stick out. Also when you cook both the dhal and rice together, the dal might not get fully cooked. This might be okay while making ven pongal but for this, the dhal and rice grains will not be seen separately.
- The amount of jaggery can be adjusted. Start from 1.25 cups and adjust as per your sweet preference. The sweetness also varies with each brand the variety. Try to use Pagu vellam or karuppu vellam. It gives a beautiful colour.
- The cooked rice and dhal should be warm. If it becomes cold it will not blend properly with the jaggery. So either add warm water or warm milk to it.
- The consistency for jaggery syrup is also important. No string consistency is required, but it should be sticky and thick when you touch with your hands. Only then it will bind properly with the cooked rice. This gives a richer taste.