How to Easily Make Your Own Pongal at Home

The most important ingredients of every pongal are rice and moong dal, an Indian mung bean, that is dried for storage and then cooked soft. For the famous sweet pongal  (Sakkarai Pongal ), probably the most elementary component of the Pongal Festival, jaggery, a brown sugar made of dates, cane juice or palm sap, brings the sweetness into the dish, which is then refined with nuts and raisins.

There are probably as many pongal recipes in Tamil Nadu as there are mothers and grandmothers, who prepare the dish for their families during the Pongal Festival each year. So what you’ll find here, is just one of many options. No discrimination of any cooking method intended! Feel free to adjust it to your own taste and preferences!

To make your own delicious pongal for 3-4 people, you need the following:

    • ½ cup of rice
    • ½ cup of moong dal
    • 4 cups of water
    • 1 cup of jaggery
    • 10 cashews
    • 10 raisins
    • ghee
    • optional almonds and little pieces of coconut.
    • cardamom, saffron and other spices according to your personal preferences


First, wash the rice and the moong dal, then remove the water and boil the mixture with 4 cups of water. While you are waiting, you can roast the nuts and raisins in a separate pot in so much ghee (a special type of clarified butter), so that the ingredients  are swimming. When the raisins start popping, they are ready. Remove the pot from the stove.

Shortly before the rice-dal mixture is done, start melting the jaggery in a third pot. To prevent it from boiling, make sure to constantly stir it.  We recommend to filter the molten jaggery before you use it any further, to remove all impurities.

When the rice-dal mixture is done, you can smush it a little bit with a spoon, then add the molten jaggery and keep cooking it. The whole thing should get a soft, mushy texture.

Add some cardamom powder and saffron, just how you like it. Also small pieces of coconut are an option! To make the pongal a bit sweeter, you can also replace some of the water with milk. But if you do so, then add the milk not right in the beginning, as the rice will get stuck to the bottom of the pot  and it takes longer to cook.

Put everything in a beautiful bowl, garnish it with the ghee-nuts mixture and enjoy the taste of India with friends and family!

make your own pongal

Pongal made traditionally in a pot over open fire.



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