Sweet & Savory Pair

21 Jan

Chakkarai Pongal (Sweet Pongal) is a rice-dal based sweet dish, that is more of a snack than a dessert. It is made of rice similar to the payasam, but has the consistency of khichdi and is made using jaggery. Venn Pongal (White Pongal) has the same basic ingredient as the sweet pongal, but is its savory partner. Venn Pongal is a very popular tiffin/snack in South India. Of all the dishes that I know (or rather I can think of as I am typing this), Venn & Chakkari Pongal are two dishes that go well as a pair – a sweet one to balance the savory one.

Chakkarai Pongal

Both Pongals have essentially the same base. Roast equal parts of rice and moong dal and pressure cook with 3 times their quantity of water. Mash the cooked mixture well. For sweet pongal, make jaggery syrup using the same quantity of rice (in my case, I used 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of moong and 1 cup of jaggery) to a hard-ball consistency. Add the mashed rice-dal mixture to the jaggery syrup and mix them well. Once it mixes well, fry golden raisins and cashews in ghee and add / garnish the sweet pongal.

For the savory variety, make the thalippu (tadka / seasoning) with a tablespoon of oil and mustard seeds, cumin-pepper mixture, asafoetida, curry leaves and cashews. Add this to the mashed rice and dal, and mix this well. You can serve this with sambar and/or coconut chutney.


  1. While making chakkarai pongal, add a ripe banana while pressure-cooking rice & dal for more flavor.
  2. Add cardamom / nutmeg powder and saffron, while cooking rice for chakkarai pongal for additional flavor.
  3. Cook the rice-dhal mixture with water-milk combination, in 3:1 ratio approximately.

Posted by on January 21, 2008 in Cooking, Desi, Traditional cooking


Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “Sweet & Savory Pair

  1. UL

    January 21, 2008 at 4:31 AM

    Love the photograph…I could almost spoon some into my mouth the way you have it set. Thank you.

    Thanks 🙂 – A-kay

  2. Laksh

    January 21, 2008 at 5:26 AM

    Lovely! Did not know that cooking banana with it adds to flavor. Will try it next time I do this. I add a bit of pacchai karpooram for added flavor too.

    oh yeah pacchai karpooram. I am not able to find that in Indian store here though. Try ripe banana and let me know how that goes. – A-kay

  3. Maggie

    January 22, 2008 at 5:58 AM

    Nice 🙂
    as usual free advise – use a mix of milk and water and the camphor and banana – and get transported to parthasarathy kovil 🙂

    btw, i did the pongal this time in the electric cooker – amazingly less messy – with the jaggery done in m/w 😛

    Nice blog btw

    Oh yeah… Thanks for pointing out. I actually do add milk while cooking rice. Will change the post to reflect that. I don’t do the camphor though, mainly as I don’t find it here. Wait and watch my next post 🙂 – A-kay

  4. TBC

    February 2, 2008 at 12:32 PM

    I love sweet pongal. It’s been ages since I had some!

    I make it once a year 😛 But actually it is pretty easy to make, give it a shot sometime. – A-kay


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: