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Chakkera Pongali / Sweetened Rice

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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. 

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.

This is a Gluten free, lentil based, protein rich, Indian sweet dish! Go for it then! 🙂

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!!
    38937992275_eb8d510f24_o
    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’

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