Sweet Pongal/Sakkarai Pongal is a traditional dessert from Tamil Nadu in India. It is mainly made during the famous Pongal festival and also offered as prasadam at temples (an offering made to a deity, as a thanksgiving) on occasional basis. It made with rice, lentils and jaggery. A really simple recipe which anyone can make at home and enjoy this sweet dish. Its like rice pudding plus its eggless. Let me also tell you that it normally is not pink in color.
As part of our festive tradition, we prepare the sweet pongal as well as the spicy pongal on this day. I did so too. You can check out the recipe of the spicy pongal here - Ven Pongal. When my mother in law told me that I needed to prepare 2 kinds of pongal, I was all excited to do so. Suddenly a thought struck me and I decided to experiment with the sweet pongal. Last week, we had got some fresh cherries from the grocery store. I plan to make Cherry Walnut muffins in a day or two. So anyways, since I had cherries, I was thinking of using them to make Pink Pongal! Yea!!
The traditional sweet pong recipe is passed down for generations with just some minor tweaks in the ways of making it. My mother in law gave me this recipe and later when I told her that I plan to make them cherry flavored, she reacted with a smile. She said, "oh yes, you can do that for your blog." Yes, guilty as charged. 🙂 Everyone around me knows that my cooking now is mainly for my blog. I am so passionate when I am generating a new recipe or adding my touch to a traditional recipe. This recipe was one such thing.
I fell in love with this dish the minute it got that rich pink color to it. I was excited like a little girl. I couldn't wait to get my Nikon out and start capturing this beauty. I think this also makes for a perfect Valentines day dessert. So you must give this simple yet delicious dessert a try this Valentines day and surprise your loved one with this mushy pink dessert. Aint Cherry an aphrodisiac? 😉
Let me show you how its done. First you need to chop the cherries as you de-seed them. In a small pan, add these cherries, water and jaggery. Let the jaggery melt while the cherry reduces to a pulp. Meanwhile boil/cook the rice and moong dal (green gram dal) together.
Once the jaggery is completely dissolved and the syrup has a deep red color to it, take it off the flame. Pass this syrup through a sieve onto the cooked rice. Give the rice a mix. Add red color to it. Now add the clarified butter/ghee to this and mix it all together.
Cherry flavored Sweet Pongal is now ready to be served.
Cherry flavored Sweet Pongal
- 1 cup rice
- 1/2 cup moong dal green gram dal
- 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
- 8-10 cherries
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 cubes of jaggery/6 tbsp brown sugar
- 3-4 drops of red color
- Almonds for garnish
- Chop the pitted cherries. In a small pan, add these cherries, water and jaggery. Let the jaggery melt while the cherry reduces to a pulp. Meanwhile boil/cook the rice and moong dal (green gram dal) together.
- Once the jaggery is completely dissolved and the syrup has a deep red color to it, take it off the flame. Pass this syrup through a sieve onto the cooked rice. Give the rice a mix. Add red color to it. Now add the clarified butter/ghee to this and mix it all together. Garnish with some chopped almonds. Serve hot.
This Cherry flavored Sweet Pongal tastes the best when it's served hot and you add a drizzle of ghee over it. Hmmm..its yumm. I even had this for breakfast the next day. The cherry flavor really enhanced this dish giving it a new texture, flavor and color!
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