How To Make Sakkarai Pongal (Sweet Pongal) In Pressure Cooker?

How to Make Sakkarai Pongal

What you will find in this post?

  1. Recipe to make South Indian (Tamil) sakkarai pongal
  2. Step by step instructions on how to make the sweet pongal creamy

Pongal is a very important festival for us. It marks the beginning of the most auspicious month in the Tamil Calender. Pongal is also refereed to as “Thai Thirunaal”. I wanted to celebrate it in a small way as its the first Pongal for Kulfi (my newborn daughter). I made sakkarai pongal (recipe below), puliotharai (Tamarind rice) and urad dhal fritters (ulundu boonda / vadai ) for dinner. Being a weekday, things got bit busy at my end. We offered a simple prayer and ended the day with plateful of these treats.

I would like to wish all my lovely readers a warm and auspicious Pongal | Sankaranthi | Lohri. Let this year be filled with lots of sweetness like this dish.

Sakkrai pongal is a sweet dish that’s made on the day of Pongal. It is made with rice and moong dhal. I started by pressure cooking them together with water. Once cooked, it was mashed and set aside. I added it to a pot of boiling jaggery syrup flavored with green cardamons. Once mixed, I roasted cashews and raisins in homemade ghee. The piping hot sakkara pongal coated with oodles and oodles of ghee tasted absolutely divine. The crunchy cashews with pillowy soft raisins added the right texture in each bite. This is such an easy recipe and is perfect one to start with for beginner cooks. All you need is a pressure cooker.

I served it to my son with urad dhal boonda and puliotharai in his favorite Avent kid’s plate. He loved the taste of sakkarai pongal. He ate it by mixing it with the tamarind rice. He likes sweet-spicy taste just like me. As this pongal is smooth and loaded with calories, I was happy that he ate it. This is an ideal snack / dessert to your little ones. A treat like this is good once a while. Being living in the US, I am trying my best to take him to my country through food. Sakkarai Pongal is a dish which depicts Tamil Nadu truly. This is a true blue Tamilian delicacy. You can also check my recipe for savory pongal (it’s called Ven Pongal in Tamil) and also my recipe for Sakkarai Pongal with brown rice.

My notes to make delicious Murunga Idli Kadai Style Sakkarai Pongal:

  1. I use pressure cooker with an inner vessel to cook them. That’s how my mother and my grandmother makes them. We fill water into base of the pressure cooker and place another stainless steel container inside it and that’s where the rice-dahl will be added.
  2. You can also directly cook it in the base of the cooker but make sure to remove the rice-dahl mixture soon after pressure subsides in the cooker so you can prevent burning at the bottom of your cooker.
  3. Also if you don’t have a pressure cooker, don’t worry. You can cook it over medium heat with a kadai or pan. Cover and cook the rice-dahl mixture for 45 minutes but keep checking the mixture after 30 minutes of cooking to make sure there is no burning.
  4. Use equal portion of rice (I use raw ponni rice) and split moong dahl (1:1). Soak them together for 30 minutes.
  5. Pressure cook it with water (1:1:6 :: rice: moong dhal: water). For instance, if we use 1 cup rice, 1 cup moong dahl then you use 6 cups water. I like my pongal to be creamy. Once cooked, mash it with the back of a ladle. Add little warm milk to get the desired consistency.
  6. Any sweetener will work but to get the beautiful brown color, you can use jaggery or brown sugar or coconut palm sugar. You can start with 1/2 cup of jaggery (packed) and move up.
  7. Fresh ghee is needed to flavor the sweet pongal.
  8. It’s optional to use pacha kalpooram (edible camphor) for flavor
  9. Garnsih with ghee roasted cashews and raisins

Sakkarai Pongal

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine South Indian
Servings 4 People


  • 1 cup raw ponni rice
  • 1 cup moong dhal
  • 1-1½ cup jaggery add ½ cup water to make a syrup
  • salt
  • 2 tsp cardamon powder
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tbsp ghee plus more while serving
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • edible camphor pinch


  • Soak rice and moong dahl with excess water for 30 minutes minimum.
  • Pressure cook rice with moongh dhal for 6 whistles. Switch off the flame.  Once the pressure has settled down, open the pan and mash the mixture. Set aside.
  • In the mean while cook jaggery with 1/2 cup water and bring it to a boil. It takes about 10-15 minutes. The jaggery syrup should be thick and not runny.
  • Add cardamon powder and pinch of salt. Mix the mashed rice-moong dhal. Give it a complete stir. If the sakkarai pongal is getting thick and forming lumps, add milk  and press it against the base of the cooking vessel to create creamy texture.
  • In a separate pan, heat ghee and roast the cashews first. Add them to the sakkarai pongal. Fry the raisins in the same pan, until they bulge out.
  • Add that to the rice-moong dhal mixture. Mix it well to combine. Serve hot.
  • You can store the rest in fridge. But remember to heat it with milk when you serve. I microwave it on high for 2 minutes to get the sloppy, gooey consistency.
  • Serve hot with medu vadai or boondas.

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