Two desserts at two extremes

This is something I made for Father’s day- one is my dad’s favorite and other one is a bread/muffin N likes to eat every now and then. My dad’s favorite is his speciality in cooking, as anytime any of our cousins/uncles/aunts came home this will be their first request-dad’s special Sakkarai pongal(using jaggery) as a dessert. As I was making this, I just thought- these two desserts have so much in common though they seem so different. You miss the syrup consistency or measuring rice to jaggery ratio, then sakkarai pongal will not taste like sweet pongal at all, on the other hand baking needs precise measuring of ingredients and once it is in the oven, that is it! You cannot add any missed ingredient and stir it as you like :)

I know sakkarai pongal is one of the old recipes, nothing new about it but you gotta make it to realize how many techniques are there to get that ghee dripping finger licking perfect pongal! I still hesitate to make it for a crowd and if I make it for us, I know N will adjust even if it is too thick or too thin :) I called mom after I made this and sort of confessed that yes old recipes might be old but they are second to none in taste.

For the Sweet Vellam Pongal:
Uncooked Rice- 1 cup ( I used a ladle full of rice)
Powdered Jaggery- 2 cups
Water- Less than 3/4 cup to make the syrup and 3 cups water to cook the rice
Elachi- 1/4 tsp
Nuts and raisins- 1 tbsp together (you can add more if you like)
Ghee- 5 tbsp
Red Food color- a pinch
Milk- 1 tsp to dissolve the food color


Wash the rice and cook the rice with 3 cups of water to a well cooked consistency. Mash it well while it is warm.

Soak the jaggery in water, so that it dissolves. Filter the jaggery water to remove any sand particles.

Heat 1 tsp of ghee in a pan. Fry cashews and raisins to a golden brown color. Set aside.

In a pan(non stick preferably) pour the jaggery water and let it simmer on a low medium flame. The syrup consistency is where when you leave a drop of the syrup on a cup of water it does not dissolve and is thick(or it makes a noise as it hits the vessel as they say it in tamil). This will take about 10-15 minutes, the correct amount of water added to jaggery will make it faster to get to the syrup consistency.

Now slowly add the mashed rice to this syrup and keep mixing and mashing it well till the rice absorbs the syrup and starts coming together like a mashed ball of rice.

Now slowly add ghee in 1/2 tsp quantities and let the pongal cook in ghee for 3-4 minutes. When you can see the ghee glistening on top and it looks glossy like a pongal, remove the pan from the flame. Pour the food color mixed with 1 tsp of milk to the pan, Mix well. Transfer to a serving dish.

Top the pongal with fried nuts and raisins and serve warm or chilled. Tastes good either way, and this can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The more ghee you add, the tastier the pongal will be(obviously, right?)

My mom sometimes adds milk to the pongal and adds rock candy(kalkandu) to the pongal too. Tastes so divine, especially on a month like Margazhi(December) along with some hot ven pongal :) And even more tasty and special if dad makes it for us :)

Now for the Bread part- I asked N what he wanted for Father’s day. He said he does not need anything, but I had to make something to make it special and so I cooked one of his favorite meals- cauliflower rasam with slow roasted ennai kathirikkai kari and this bread.

For the blueberry bread:

I usually make banana bread with this recipe of mine, I only changed it a bit this time, instead of orange juice I added 1/4 cup more oil(yup, no butter) and added 1/4 cup of blueberries. N has been having this as his evening snack with tea for the past 2-3 days. You can even make it as a muffin if you do not want it as a bread.

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Vella Pongal
Vella Pongal


2 Comments to “Two desserts at two extremes”

  1. Priya says:

    Everything looks fabulous and inviting.

  2. Hi Sowji, you should send this to VFAM – Blueberry event for this month. looks mouth watering.

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