3 Recipes to Help You Give the ‘Pongal’ a Mouth-Watering Twist!

Ponga in Tamil means to ‘boil over.’ One of the most popular harvest festivals celebrated in South India, ‘Pongal’ derives its name from this very tradition of cooking the newly harvested rice until it overflows from an earthen pot.

Today marks the second day of Pongal, a day dedicated to worshipping the Sun God popularly known as ‘Surya Pongal.’

Cooked in a new mud-pot called ‘Pongapani,’ a special dish with sugarcane sticks is offered to thank the Sun God for the abundant harvest.

This dish is ‘Sarkkarai Pongal.’

Pongal - twist - recipe
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Ponga in Tamil means to ‘boil over.’ One of the most popular harvest festivals celebrated in South India, ‘Pongal’ derives its name from this very tradition of cooking the newly harvested rice until it overflows from an earthen pot.

Relished across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Sri Lanka, Pongal is cooked using various methods and ingredients.

The traditional Chakkara or Sakkarai Pongal, which is commonly offered as prasadam in temples and cooked in Tamil households, is made of rice, coconut and moong dal and sweetened with jaggery, to give it its quintessential brown colour.

Another variant, Venn Pongal, is made from clarified butter and is typically served as a special breakfast in South India and parts of Sri Lanka with sambar and coconut chutney.

Also, Melagu Pongal, a spicy variant, is made with pepper, rice and moong daal. Meanwhile, Puli Pongal, which usually isn’t associated with the festival, is made with tamarind and boiled rice and is often served for dinner.

But this Pongal, you can give this classic traditional dish your twist with some of these easy-to-make recipes:

Chocolate Pongal

Pongal - twist - recipe
Chocolate Pongal. Source: Yummy Tummy Kitchen/Aarthi

Preparation time: ten mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

Total time 40 mins

Serves: 4


Varagu / Kodo Millet – 1 cup

Yellow Moong Dal / Pasi Paruppu – ¼ cup

Water – 2 cups

Cocoa Powder – ¼ cup

Jaggery – 2 cups

Milk – 1 cup + ½ cup

Cardamom Powder – ½ tsp

Ghee – ¼ cup

Cashews – 10

Raisins – 3 tblsp


Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pressure cooker, add moong dal and roast for 1 min. Add it to the Kodo millet and mix well. Add water, and 1 cup milk and pressure cook it at least for two whistles, simmer for five mins and turn off the heat. Let the steam go all by itself.

Now take the content in a nonstick pan, add in ½ cup milk, jaggery, cocoa powder and mix well. Keep mixing until it thickens.

Now add ghee little by little and mix well.

Heat some ghee in a pan, fry cashews and raisins till golden and add it to the Pongal.

Add cardamom powder and mix well.


(Recipe Source: yummy tummy kitchen by Aarthi)

Brown Rice Pongal

Pongal - twist - recipe
Brown Rice Pongal. Source: Tarla Dalal

For all you healthy people out there, who are vying for healthier variants of the classic dish. This is just the dish for you!

Soaking time: 30 minutes

Preparation Time: 10 mins

Cooking Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes

Serves 4


1/2 cup brown rice

1/2 cup yellow moong dal (split yellow gram)

1/2 tsp roasted and crushed cumin seeds (jeera)

1/2 tsp crushed peppercorns (kalimirch)

1/8 tsp salt

Two tsp oil

1/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

1/4 tsp asafoetida (Hing)

Four curry leaves (kadi patta)

Two whole dry Kashmiri red chillies, broken into pieces

One tsp finely chopped ginger (adrak)


Clean, wash the brown rice and moong dal using a strainer and drain well.

Spread the brown rice on a dry muslin cloth and allow it to completely dry for 30 minutes.

Heat a deep non-stick pan, add the brown rice and moong dal and dry roast on a medium flame for 7 to 8 minutes.

Combine the rice- moong dal mixture, crushed cumin seeds, peppercorns, 3¼ cups of water and salt, mix well and pressure cook for five whistles.

Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid.

Mash it well using a spatula. Keep aside.

Heat the oil in a small non-stick pan and add the cumin seeds.

When the seeds crackle, add the asafoetida, curry leaves, dry red chillies and ginger and sauté on medium flame for 1 minute.

Add this tempering over the cooke+d Pongal and mix well

Serve immediately..

(Recipe Source: Tarla Dalal)

READ MORE: Kahani Khichdi Ki: Tracing the Origins of India’s Fave One-Pot Meal

Banana Pongal

Pongal - twist - recipe
Source: Emperorakbar.com

Cook a cup of rice and half a cup of moong daal with a few strands of saffron in a pressure cooker till soft.

Mash two bananas and add a cup of condensed milk to it.

Add the rice mixture and stir it in well.

Add nuts, raisins and cardamom and nutmeg powder.

Serve hot with cubes of jaggery on the side.

(Recipe Source: Rediff)

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