Sweet Pongal is a popular sweet dish from South Indian cuisine. It is a sweet pudding made with rice, moong dal, milk and jaggery.
Sweet Pongal is a traditional dish made for festivals like Sankranthi and Navratri and is also served as neivedhyam for many other festivals. Sharing the easy Instant Pot method of making the sweet pongal which is done in under 30 minutes.
Sweets made with coconut and jaggery are classic dishes from South India. Andhra, Telanagana, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Kerala have many sweet dishes in this combination. Among those dishes, sweet rice pongal stands on the top.
In Telugu states Sweet Pongal is called Chakkara Pongal and in Tamilnadu it is called Sakkarai Pongal. January is the time of the year when the farmers get their new harvest and to celebrate their hard work, Sweet Pongal is made with the harvested rice.
Rice and moong dal are cooked in milk and water and jaggery is added for sweetness. Roasted nuts, floral cardamom and desi ghee add flavor and taste to this simple yet irresistible dish.
This Sweet Pongal is
- a sweet rice and lentil pudding
- simple, yet irresitible
- easily made in the instant pot
- made for Indian festivals
Why make the Sweet Pongal in the Instant Pot?
Sakkarai Pongal is usually made in pressure cooker or stove top. But you will love, how easy and convenient it is to make the pongal in the instant pot. Its a one pot dish where we roast, cook and finish off the dish in the same pot.
After roasting the dal, I cook the rice and dal in the instant pot and then add the powdered jaggery, ghee and nuts to it. Cook till you get a pudding consistency and enjoy the pongal served warm.
I love using powdered jaggery in the sweet dishes, where we don’t have to worry about melting the jaggery in water and removing the impurities. Here are few more Indian sweets I enjoy making in my Instant Pot – Instant Pot Carrot Halwa , Instant Pot Kheer .
Ingredients needed to make Sakkarai Pongal in the instant pot :
- Rice ( I have used Sona Masoori Rice)
- Yellow Moong Dal
- Milk ( I used organic 2 % milk)
- Cashew & Raisins ( almonds can also be used)
- Ghee (clarified butter)
- Cardamom Powder
How to make Sweet Pongal in the Instant Pot
1- Wash half cup of rice and soak it in half cup of water for ten minutes. While the rice is soaking, gathering all the other ingredients and measure them.
2-Turn on the instant pot on saute mode on low mode. Add a teaspoon of ghee and fry the cashew for few seconds. when the cashew starts to get brown, add the raisins and fry them till plump. Remove and set a side.
3- You will still have some ghee left in the pan. Now add ¼ th cup of moong dal and fry the dal for 45 seconds, not more than that. You don’t want the dal to brown too much. Press cancel on your instant pot.
4- Add the soaked rice with the water to the dal.
5- Add 1 cup of milk and 1.5 cups of water to the rice and dal. Mix and scrape the sides to remove any rice stuck on the side.
6- Close the lid and turn the vent to the sealing position. Press pressure cook or manual mode and cook on high for ten minutes. Once the cooking time is done, let the pressure release naturally. It may taken 12-15 minutes for the pressure to release.
7- Open the lid and mix the cooked rice and dal. You will observe that most of the moisture is absorbed and the dal and rice are cooked properly.
8- Add 1 to 1 ¼ cup of powdered sugar and ¾ – 1 cup of boiling water and cook for five minutes ( on low pressure) till the jaggery completely melts.
9- Add 3 to 4 tsps of ghee, fried nuts and cardamom powder and cook for two to three minutes.
10- Instant Pot sweet pongal is ready, serve as neivedyam (offering) to the god and enjoy a warm bowl of the pongal.
Tips to make the best tasting sweet pongal (chakkara pongal) –
- Roast the moong dal, in ghee until pale in color and aromatic. Do not brown the dal too much if not the dal will not cook properly .
- Jaggery, use good quality preferably dark jaggery. Dark jaggery is lot more tastier and it will give the sweet pongal a beautiful brown color to it.
- Ghee, use ghee generously for flavor and to keep the pongal glossy and moist.
- Nuts, add a good amount of cashews which gives a nice crunch to this sweet pudding
- Cardamom powder, gives a beautiful floral scent to the sweet pongal.
can I use regular jaggery?
yes, melt the jaggery in little water and strain to remove any impurities.
can I make vegan sweet Pongal?
I have not tried it, but you can certainly use almond milk and replace ghee with any neutral oil.
can I add coconut?
Freshly grated coconut can be added to the sweet pongal, add the coconut when you add the jaggery.
can I skip milk?
We can totally skip the milk and make the pongal only with water.
More Pongal Recipes –
Oats Sweet Pongal
Ven Pongal (dry version)
Instant Pot Sweet Pongal
- ½ cup rice I used sona masoori rice
- ¼ cup yellow moong dal
- 1 ¼ cup powdered jaggery
- 1 cup milk I used 2 % milk
- 3 cups water ( 2 cups while cooking and the rest after the rice is cooked)
- 2 tbsp cashew
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 3 3 cardamom pods, powdered
- 6 teaspoons ghee
Wash half cup of rice and soak it in half cup of water for ten minutes. While the rice is soaking, gathering all the other ingredients and measure them.
Turn on the instant pot on saute mode on low mode. Add a teaspoon of ghee and fry the cashew for few seconds. When the cashew starts to get brown, add the raisins and fry them till plump. Remove and set a side.
Now add the moong dal and fry the dal for 45 seconds, not more than that. You dont want the dal to brown too much. Press cancel on your instant pot.
Add the soaked rice, milk and water to the dal. Mix and scrape the sides to remove any rice stuck on the side.
Close the lid and turn the vent to the sealing position. Press pressure cook or manual mode and cook on high for ten minutes. After the time is done, let the pressure release naturally. It may taken 12-15 minutes for the pressure to release
Open the lid, give a mix. The rice and dal will be cooked and you will see little moisture in the bottom and add 1 to 1 ¼ cup of powdered sugar and ¾th to 1 cup of boiling water.
Turn on the saute mode on low pressure and cook till the jaggery melts completely.
Add 4 to 5 tsps of ghee, fried nuts and cardamom powder and cook for two to three minutes.
Instant Pot sweet pongal is ready to be served.
White rice can also be replaced by millets, oats or brown rice. If using brown rice or millets soak them for an hour before cooking