Saturday, June 12, 2010

Akkaravadisal (sweet pongal)

This is a signature tam brahm dessert and a slight variation of "chakkarai pongal" (chakkarai literally means sugar in Tamil but the dish is made with jaggery), it's a popular choice of sweet for festivals. Here is my mom's recipe for this dish.


Jaggery (or vellam in Tamil) - 1.5 cubes (most Indian stores carry the dark jaggery that comes in cubes and the bag actually says "south indian jaggery")
Rice - 1 cup
Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Water - 3 cups
Milk - 1/2 cup
Nutmeg powder - 1/2 tsp (I grate fresh nutmeg, it's more flavorful)
Cardamom powder - 5 pods
Cashews - 8-10, halved and roasted in ghee
Golden raisins - 8-10, roasted in ghee

Pressure cook the rice and dal along with the water for about 3 whistles. When it's done, remove and mash well. If you let the rice mixture cool down too much, it might be difficult to mash it, you could use a hand blender in this case but make sure it's a rough "pulse", do not grind/mash it to a paste! Now add the milk and blend it in. If it's too thick, you can add more milk. The final consistency is a tad bit thicker than porridge. Heat a small non stick pot and melt the jaggery till it's done (see note below). Now fold in the rice mixture and add the remaining ingredients.


  • Jaggery is considered done when you can pour a drop of it in a glass of water and are easily able to roll it into a ball. If the jaggery is not thick enough, it will dissolve in the water.

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