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Chakkera Pongali / Sweetened Rice

South Indian traditional festive sweet dish with rice & lentils, along with a (generous) usage of ghee / butter.
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Recipe Cooked, Photographed and Written by Praveena

PrepTime:15 mins   CookTime:10 mins   Cuisine:Indian

Chakkera Pongali / Sweetened rice, is a traditional recipes generally offered in South India Temples. Where, Chakkera means Sugar. Its mainly, by default, prepared / preferred during a festival called Makara Sankranthi during January, especially in South Indian states. Its not said this dish cannot be made any other time of the year/occasion.

I prepare this sweet dish every year compulsorily for Sankranthi and even for major festivals. It takes just exactly 5 to 10 mins to prepare this Pongali, if you have cooked rice & dal ready with you. 

Whats the main ingredient here?

It can be a categorised as a dairy free dish, if you can eliminate the ghee/butter part. But, I must say, whole of the flavour of this platter reveals only after adding the ghee/butter. If not, slightly reduce the amount of ghee I mentioned. But vegans, can use any plant based butter (unsalted) which works for sure.

Health Benefits of this recipe:

Chana Dal / Split Yellow Lentils / Split Polished Chickpeas are an excellent source of vegetarian protein. They are low in carbs, hence suitable for weight loss diet. And so is also apt for Diabetic friendly diet plan. Other benefits would be its easily digestible & is high in fiber.

Rice is high in carbs and starchy fat.And so, this sweet dish not only can be served as a dessert of a 3 course meal,  but can also be considered as a portion of the main meal.

Ghee / Butter is rich in calcium, protein & anti-oxidants.

To conclude, this recipe is a Gluten free, lentil based, protein rich,carbs filled Indian sweet dish! 

Before starting to cook, don’t forget to see the Tips  mentioned at the end.

My other dessert/sweet recipes here⇒ Desserts / Mithayi

Indian festival recipes collection⇒  Traditional Indian Recipes for Festivals / Panduga Nayivedyalu

Festive platter collections here⇒  Vindhu Bhojanam / Festive Lunch

Related Posts

  1. Kobbari Annam / Coconut Rice  
  2. Chinthapandu Pulihora / Tamarind Rice
  3. Rava Kesari / Kesari Bath/ Semolina Pudding (without milk)

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Ingredients:

  • Cooked Rice – 1½ cups (for METHOD-1 in procedure)
  • (or)  Uncooked Rice grains – 1 cup (for METHOD-2 in procedure)
  • Chana Dal / Split Yellow Lentils / Senagapappu – ¼ to ½ cup
  • Sugar – ½ cup to ¾ cup
  • Water – for washing & cooking
  • Dry Fruits & Nuts – one fistful
  • Ghee / Butter – 6 to 8 tablespoons
  • Cardamom / Elaichi – 4
  • Saffron – 7 to 8 strands

Special Ingredients:

  • Chana Dal / Split Yellow Lentils / Senagapappu 
  • Ghee / Butter

Procedure for Chakkera pongali / Sweetened rice:

  • METHOD-1: If left-over rice / already cooked rice is used
  • Keep the rice aside.
  • Wash the chana dal/ senagapappu/ split lentils twice.
  • Take into a pressure cooker, add water just to soak the dal and cook it up to 3 whistles. Put it aside.
  • METHOD-2: If uncooked rice grains are used 
  • Take both the rice grains and dal / split lentils / senagapappu, together into a vessel / pressure cooker, wash them thoroughly 2 to 3 times.
  • Add 2 cups of water, pressure cook for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release. Set aside.
  • COMMON STEPS FOR BOTH METHODS
  • Now, chop the nuts keep aside.
  • Take a pan , (big enough to fit in the entire dish) put it on stove top under medium flame.
  • Add a tablespoon of ghee / butter into the pan, let it heat.
  • Next, add the dry fruits, nuts and fry them until they turn golden brown.
  • Transfer all the cooked rice and dal, sugar, elaichi powder and saffron strands.
  • Mix up everything thoroughly from all sides, such that the rice, dal and sugar are coated over each other. 
  • Let the pan sit on the stove with flame for up to 3-4 mins, for the sugar to melt up completely.
  • Keep mixing in between, gently mash the rice using the ladle to make it mushy. (if you prefer)
  • Add all the remaining ghee / butter to the pan.
  • Mix up the the butter / ghee . Add more ghee if needed.
  • At a stage the ghee releases from the sides of the pan, this takes 3-4 mins. 
  • Then, remove the the pan from stove top and transfer to serving bowl. Done!!
    Final stage, before taking into a serving bowl

Tips:

  • Vegans, can substitute the ghee/butter with coconut oil .
  • You can use already cooked rice or get the rice – dal cooked together.
  • Be generous while adding the ghee/butter, this itself enhances the taste of the entire dish.
  • I use only unrefined raw cane sugar rather than the refined white sugar. But you can use any.
  • I added the saffron strands as it is. You can put them in hot water, for a while and then add to the pan along with the water.
  • You can add small pieces of dry coconut while frying the dry fruits. I did not have them while I was making the Pongali, hence I could not.
  • This stays fresh up to 1 day at room temperature and 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Result:

  • Of course, Chakkera pongali / sweetened rice, would be sweet in taste and the flavour of ghee/butter dominates even before you start eating it.
  • The chana dal / split lentils, fill its part in every spoon, which adds the extra relish.
  • This sweet dish has rice and dal/pulses in it, and hence it is protein rich, nicely fills in the gap of carbs and makes it easily digestible by the body.
    Platter of delectable ‘Chakkera Pongali’ / ‘Sweetened Rice’

Chakkera Pongali / Sweetened Rice

South Indian traditional festive sweet dish with rice & lentils, along with a (generous) usage of ghee / butter.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

  • Sauce Pan / Vessel (for stove-top method)

Ingredients
  

  • cups Cooked Rice (for method 1) OR
  • 1 cup Uncooked Rice grains (for method 2)
  • ¼ to ½ cup Chana Dal / Split Yellow Lentils / Senagapappu
  • ½ to ¾ cup Sugar
  • as required Water (for washing & cooking)
  • 1 fistful Dry Fruits and Nuts
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons Ghee/Butter (unsalted)
  • ½ teaspoon Cardamom / Elaichi Powder
  • 7 – 8 strands Saffron

Instructions
 

METHOD: 1 (If left-over rice / already cooked rice is used)

  • Keep the cooked rice aside.
  • Wash the chana dal/ senagapappu/ split lentils twice.
    Take into a pressure cooker, add water just to soak the dal and cook it up to 3 whistles. Put it aside.

METHOD-2 (if uncooked rice grains are used)

  • Take both the rice grains and dal / split lentils / senagapappu, together into a vessel / pressure cooker, wash them thoroughly 2 to 3 times.
  • Add 2 cups of water, pressure cook for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release. Set aside.

COMMON STEPS (for both methods):

  • Chop the nuts keep aside.
  • Take a pan , (big enough to fit in the entire dish) put it on stove top under medium flame.
    Add a tablespoon of ghee / butter into the pan, let it heat.
    Next, add the dry fruits, nuts and fry them until they turn golden brown.
  • Transfer all the cooked rice and dal, sugar, elaichi powder and saffron strands.
    Mix up everything thoroughly from all sides, such that the rice, dal and sugar are coated over each other. 
  • Let the pan sit on the stove with flame for up to 3-4 mins, for the sugar to melt up completely.
    Keep mixing in between, gently mash the rice using the ladle to make it mushy. (if you prefer)
  • Add all the remaining ghee / butter to the pan.
    Mix up the the butter / ghee. Add more ghee if needed.
  • At a stage the ghee releases from the sides of the pan, this takes 3-4 mins. 
    Then, remove the the pan from stove top and transfer to serving bowl. Done!!

Notes

Please see the MAIN POST for step wise pics & RECIPE TIPS!
Keyword chakkera pongali recipe, chana dal & rice based sweet dish, Indian dessert with rice, lentils based South Indian sweet dish, protein rich Indian dessert recipe, sweet dish with rice

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