Chakkara Pongal (Sweet Pongal) – Makara Sankranti Special

Chakkara Pongal or Sweet Pongal
Chakkara Pongal or Sweet Pongal

Happy New Year 2013! Here is a sweet recipe to start the new year. 🙂

I was in Chennai last week and the city is all set to celebrate Pongal on January 14. That is when I realised I had not posted the recipes for Chakkara Pongal (sweet) or Venn Pongal (savoury) or Pulagam as it is called in Andhra Pradesh.

Chakkara Pongal is a very popular naivedyam for many South Indian festivals. In fact, there is something about the Chakkara Pongal made in a temple that can soothe the soul. This time, I almost captured that taste and feel.

So here goes!

Ingredients

  1. Rice – 1 Cup
  2. Moong Dal – 2/3 Cup
  3. Grated Jaggery – 2.5 Cups
  4. Milk – 1 Cup
  5. Water – 3.5 Cups
  6. Cashews – 8 to 10
  7. Green Cardamom – 4 or 5
  8. Ghee – 3 tbsp

Method

  1. Roast the moong dal till it turns light brown.
  2. Wash the rice and drain all the water.
  3. Mix the rice, dal, 2 cups water, and 1 cup milk.
  4. Cook the mix in a pressure cooker without the weight.
  5. To a heavy-bottomed vessel, add the jaggery and 1/2 cup water.
  6. Over low to medium heat, cook till the jaggery melts and forms a thick syrup.
  7. Add crushed green cardamom to the jaggery mix.
  8. Add the cooked rice-dal mix and mix well.
  9. Over medium heat, cook the mix till all the syrup is absorbed.
  10. Turn off the heat. In a ladle, heat the ghee.
  11. Add split cashew nuts and fry till golden brown.
  12. Add the ghee and cashew to the pongal.
  13. Offer as naivedyam and serve as prasadam. (Serve warm).

Tips

  • If your jaggery is not refined or has some residue, then add 3/4 cup water in step 5.
  • Strain the jaggery syrup to remove the residue and move onto step 6.
  • You can also add raisins and some saffron soaked in warm milk to the pongal.

Undrallu or Kudumulu (Rice Rava Balls with Bengal Gram) – Vinayaka Chaviti Naivedyam

Undrallu - Vinayaka Chavithi Special from Andhra
Undrallu – Vinayaka Chavithi Special from Andhra

Vinayaka Chaviti/Ganesh Chaturthi is just around the corner. It is one of my favourite festivals and I plan the menu days in advance so that I can source all the ingredients in time.

For every Andhra home, one must-have naivedyam on Vinayaka Chaviti is Undrallu. It is said to be Vinayaka’s favourite. It is also a great favourite of my dad’s.

Ingredients

  1. Rice – 2 Cups
  2. Chana Dal/Senaga Pappu/Bengal Gram – 1/2 Cup
  3. Salt to Taste
  4. Sesame Oil – 1 tsp

Method

  1. Soak the chana dal for about 30 minutes.
  2. Grind the rice into a coarse powder.
  3. Drain the water from the soaked dal and add to the rice flour.
  4. Add salt.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Add 4 Cups of water.
  7. Pressure cook for 3 whistles.
  8. If there is still water in the dough, cook over an open flame till the water evaporates.
  9. Let the dough cool till it is just warm.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Grease your palms with a little oil.
  12. Take about a tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a ball.
  13. Place all the undrallu in a bowl and cover with a lid.
  14. Steam in a pressure cooker for about 10 mins.
  15. Offer to Vinayaka as naivedyam.
  16. Serve warm with kobbari pachadi or dosakaya pachadi.

Tips

  • Do not soak the chana dal for too long or it will disintegrate.
  • Do not grind to rice too fine, otherwise you will have a sticky mess on your hands and the undrallu will be rock hard.
Uppu Undrallu
Uppu Undrallu