Sakkarai Pongal

This creamy sweet porridge made of red rice and moong dal is said to signify abundance after harvest. In most South Indian families, it's prepared during Makar Sankranti. When I moved to Bangalore a few years ago, I remember spending my Durga Pujo frantically searching for some form of celebration and feeling heartbroken when I wasn't able to find even one nice egg roll to help me celebrate. On the last day of the festival though, my friends came together and made me this incredible Sakkarai Pongal - and I find myself missing a bowl of this mouth-watering dish on most years during Pujo.

I hope you enjoy making yourself some Sakkarai Pongal - remember, you don't need an occasion to celebrate an indulgent evening, all you need is a bowl of this warm creamy goodness!

SERVES:
6-8

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Red Rice
1/4 cup Moong Dal
1 cup Jaggery
1 tsp Cardamom Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
4 tbsp Ghee
10 Cashews (broken)
2 tsp Raisins
4 cups Water

METHOD:

Wash and soak red rice for minimum 8 hours and upto overnight.

Mix jaggery and water in a pan until immersed and bring to a boil until the jaggery melts. Strain through a sieve to remove impurities and set aside to cool.

Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and roast moong dal on low flame until there's a nutty aroma.

Add rice and 4 cups of water to the pressure cooker with moong dal and cook for 4-5 whistles.

Let the pressure release naturally - once open, slightly mash the rice and moong dal with the back of a spoon.

Roast the cashews and raisins in some ghee and set aside.

Without a lid, put the pressure cooker on a low flame and stir in the melted jaggery along with leftover ghee.

Add cardamom powder, cashews and raisins and stir on low flame.

Take off flame once the consistency begins to thicken.

Serve hot - garnish with some ghee and more cashews!

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