Chakkara Pongal (Rice Pudding)


by: Divya Uday

A festival in a South Indian household never feels complete, unless the sweet aroma of melting ghee that emanates from this traditional rice pudding fills the air. The best Chakkara Pongal to me is what my mom makes in the vengala paanai (traditional bronze pot) , especially on the day of Pongal. The traditional Bronze Pot is washed until it gets that brilliant shine and adorning its neck is a fresh little plant of turmeric.. Mom carefully measures the amount of milk that needs to go in to the Pongal and boils it in the pot as she warns my Dad - (who tries to catch up as much of the special programs of the day. Dad makes the best use of his television timing.. he can watch up to four programs in four channels in parallel – Thanks to the very short commercial breaks) that we’ll all be called in anytime. And as the first boil comes and she summons in all of us, we all harmoniously chant ‘Pongalo Pongal…Pongalo Pongal… ’ Then with a very gratifying smile, she adds the rice and water and makes the heavenliest-ever Chakkara Pongal . Now that does perfect justice to all the pains we take to go home for festivals no matter where we are (I totally miss it these days though ?) Though imitating my mom is close to impossible, since hers is always filled with a lot of devotion – at least the recipe is hers and has always turned out great.. So heres the recipe.


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serves: 5-6

1 cup Rice

1/4 cup Yellow moong dal

2 cups Palm Sugar / Jaggery (Shaved)

1 1/2 cup Milk

1 1/2 cup Water

3-4 tbsp Ghee

7-8 Cashews

2 Cardamom (green)

Nutrition Facts
Chakkara Pongal (Rice Pudding)

Servings Per Recipe: 5

Amount per Serving

Calories: 618

  • Total Fat: 15.6 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 8.4 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 40.4 mg
  • Sodium: 150.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 112.5 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
  •     Sugars: 88 g
  • Protein: 7.9 g

how is this calculated?

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1.  Bring the milk to the boil.

2.  Once it boils, add the water and the rice, and pressure cook it for 4-5 whistles until the rice turns very soft and is cooked very well.

3.  On another pan, add ¼ cup water and add the jaggery to this. Make sure all the jaggery is dissolved and we get a nice boil. Slight boil is sufficient, it need not turn in to sugar syrup.

4.  Now after the pressure is released, mash the cooked rice and dal (This step is optional and is done to get a mashed consistency)

5.  Add this to the jiggery little by little stirring continuously, once all the rice is added to the mixture and everything is mixed well, simmer and let it cook on the stove for 5-6 min.

6.  Take another pan, add the ghee and add the cashews to this. Once the cashews turn golden brown, add them to the rice and use few for garnishing on top.

7.  Chakkara Pongal has a very nice taste when it is served hot right out of the stove topped with some ghee. It also has a great taste when served chilled like many other sweets.

Cooks' note:
1. A pinch of camphor can optionally be added to enhance the taste.
2. Jaggery just needs to come to a boil and need not be cooked until it turns in to a syrup.

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