Pongal : a Sweet Dish Cooked During the Festival of Pongal

Introduction: Pongal : a Sweet Dish Cooked During the Festival of Pongal

About: I like to make things more simple with easily available resources. My favorite quote: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write...

Pongal, commonly known as Thai Pongal, is a harvest festival celebrated in South India. The festival is celebrated for four days which falls in the middle of January every year. During the festival, we decorate the open space in front of the house with Rangoli and cook a sweet dish also known as Pongal, from freshly harvested rice in the open. You can see more details about the festival from the wiki page at the following link :


In this instructable, I am giving you the recipe and demonstration of how Pongal is cooked. Please read on...

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Step 1: Ingredients

The quantity of ingredients listed here is enough for a small family of four to five persons.

  • Raw Rice (Not Parboiled Rice) : One cup
  • Split Black Gram Lentil : 3/4th cup
  • Grated Coconut : 3/4th cup
  • Country made jaggery : 1-3/4 cups (Equal to the quantity of Rice and Lentil)
  • Cow's Ghee : One tablespoon
  • Cashew Nuts : About 10 grams
  • Raisins :About 10 grams
  • Cardamom : About 6 to 7 pieces
  • Dried Ginger : An inch long piece
  • Fresh Cow's Milk : One cup
  • Salt to taste

Step 2: Prepare the Ingredients : Step 1

  • In a small frying pan add half a teaspoon of cow's ghee and place it over low heat
  • Lightly roast the cashew nuts, Raisins and split Black Gram lentils separately in Ghee and keep them aside

Step 3: Prepare the Ingredients : Step 2

  • Using a mortar and pestle crush the dried ginger piece into powder
  • Remove the skin from cardamom pieces and crush the seeds using mortar and pestle

Step 4: Prepare the Ingredients : Step 3

  • Wash the Rice in clean water and discard the water from first wash
  • Wash the rice second and third time and keep the water in a container

Step 5: Equipment and Fuel

Pongal is normally cooked in the open using a freshly made mud pot. I got a 2 liter capacity mud pot here. We are also using a suitable cooking stove made of clay. Empty coconut shells and dried small branches from the garden will be used as fuel for cooking.

Step 6: Prepare the Mud Pot

  • Fill the mud pot with water and place it over the clay stove
  • Start fire and allow the water to boil. Keep the water boiling for about five minutes. This will remove the mud smell from the pot
  • Discard the boiling water safely

Step 7: Cooking Pongal : Step 1

  • Keep the mud pot over fire and fill the pot with water we saved after washing rice second and third time
  • Keep the fire on. Once the water reaches its boiling point, water will froth as you can see in the third picture. This is due to the rice washed water and shows that the water is ready for cooking Pongal

Step 8: Cooking Pongal : Step 2

Remove the froth from the boiling water and add rice and roasted black gram lentil to the pot

Now remove about 1/3 of boiling water from the pot in a container and keep it aside. This is very important. The remaining water in the pot is enough for proper cooking of Pongal. In case Pongal is not cooked properly and extra water is required at the later stage, we will use the water we removed from the pot.

Step 9: Cooking Pongal : Step 3

  • Using a ladle, stir the contents from time to time. Also check to see whether the rice is cooked or not.
  • Once the rice is properly cooked, add the jaggery and mix well.
  • Add other ingredients like cashew nuts, raisins, powdered cardamom and powdered dry ginger
  • Add one cup of cow's milk and stir well

Step 10: Cooking Pongal : Step 4

  • Now the Pongal in the pot will start to thicken.
  • Reduce fire and just keep whatever is burning in the clay stove. Do not add any more fuel
  • Now add salt and cow's ghee to the pot and keep it over fire for a few minutes.
  • Remove the pot from fire and allow the Pongal to cool

Step 11: Put Out the Fire

Safety First...

Remove all burning material from inside the clay stove. Pour water over the burning material and douse the flame. Do not pour water over the clay stove as it may crack due to sudden cooling.

Step 12: Serve Hot and Enjoy

Pongal is served on Banana leaves and eaten by hand. The first serving of Pongal is normally fed to the cattle or pets in the home. The rest is for us to enjoy...

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    2 Discussions


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you... yes, it is a sweet dish.