Instant pot OPOS sakkarai pongal is a one pot, dump and cook recipe. Sakkarai Pongal or chakkara pongal is a sweet rice and moong dal porridge like preparation, offered as offering to god in many South Indian temples.
Table of contents
What is Pongal?
Pongal is a rice and moong dal porridge. It is a must preparation during harvest festival of Pongal / Sankranti in South India, which is usually on Jan 14th.
Sakkarai is sugar and also means sweet. Sakkarai pongal is made with jaggery but is called sakkarai pongal to differentiate between sweet and savory pongal. The savory version is ven pongal.
Rice, moong dal, jaggery and ghee are the main ingredients for sweet pongal. Use cashews and raisins for garnish and cardamom powder for flavor. All these ingredients are easily available in any Indian store. Most of the super markets in big cities carry moong dal. Jaggery can be substituted with brown sugar though I haven't done it. Detailed recipe in recipe card.
How To & Methods
Basic preparation is cook rice, dal and ghee together. Melt jaggery in some water, strain and pour over cooked rice dal mixture. Garnish with roasted cashews and raisins.
Dump & Cook
Instant Pot or pressure cooker is best for this method of cooking. This is the most basic preparation of pongal. Dump rice, dal, water, milk, ghee, cashews and raisins in a pressure cooker; stovetop or electric cooker. In a bowl take jaggery and water, place in the middle of the cooker. Pressure cook.
Dry roast moong dal, turn off the flame and in the same pan add rice. Let the rice lightly roast, cool rice dal mixture, wash and cook in a pressure cooker along with water, milk and ghee. You can roast rice and dal a day or few days ahead of time save time.
In a separate pot melt jaggery in some water, strain the liquid and bring it to a boil. Dry roast cashews and raisins in some ghee in another pan.
Once the rice is cooked, open the pressure cooker, add syrup and roasted cashew raisins. Cook again until the mixture thickens. Mind you pongal will thicken as it cools.
- Pressure cooking is the best way to cook pongal though, you can cook it in a saucepan. Pressure cooking gives the nice soft, mushy texture which is required for this preparation.
- When roasting dal, roast on low flame and do not over roast.
- Roast dal & rice, and store in a container to save time on the day oof preparation, just like the homemade ven pongal mix.
This recipe is almost OPOS except for the last step where cashews & raisins are roasted on stovetop before adding to Pongal. You can add directly to pressure cooker without roasting.
Adapted from: OPOS Chakkara Pongal recipe
Pressure Cooker Sakkarai Pongal
- Electric pressure cooker like an Instant Pot
- Frying Pan (optional)
- Oven safe bowl (2 cups size)
- ½ cup Rice I used basmati rice
- ¼ Moong Dal
- 3 tablespoon Ghee (clarified butter) or Unsalted Butter
- 1 ¼ cup Water
- 1 cup Milk
- 1 cup grated or chopped Jaggery (5 cubes and adjust sweetness to taste)
- 10 Whole Cashews, broken into pieces
- 8-10 Raisins
- ¼ teaspoon Cardamom Seeds, powdered
- Wash rice and moong dal several times and keep aside.
- In Instant Pot (IP), add 1 tablespoon of ghee, pour milk, 1 cup water and washed rice moong dal.
- Place the trivet in the pot on rice dal mixture.
- Take jaggery in a 2 cup glass, steel or oven safe bowl. I used a pyrex bowl. Pour ¼ cup water in the bowl, cover with a steel plate or aluminum foil and place it on trivet.
- Close IP lid, set the vent to sealing, cook on manual/pressure cook, high pressure for 6 minutes. It will take about 10-12 minutes for the pressure to build up and then going to cook for additional 6 minutes.
- Once done, let pressure release naturally. This will take about 12 – 15 minutes.
- While pongal is cooking, on stovetop heat a small pan with 2 tablespoon of ghee, roast cashews and raisins until golden brown. Though this step is against OPOS way of cooking, I wanted to roasted cashews and raisins before adding to pongal.
- Open IP lid, remove the bowl of jaggery syrup and the trivet from IP container. Stir jaggery syrup, strain the syrup for impurities and pour it over pongal (cooked rice moong dal).
- Pour ghee cashews raisins over pongal. Throw in cardamom powder and mix well.
- Consistency of pongal at this stage is going to be a bit liquidy. That is fine and it will thicken as it cools.
- Pongal is ready to serve.
- Pressure Cooker – When cooking in pressure cooker, cook for 6 – 8 whistles. Keep an eye on the cooker as there might be some spillage.
- Non OPOS Recipe – Dry roast moong dal on stove top. Turn off the flame and add rice to same pan. Let the rice roast in hot pan. Let rice and dal cool. Wash rice dal and add to IP. Add milk water and ghee, cook in IP as mentioned in the recipe. In a separate pan / pot mix jaggery with ¼ cup water and cook on low flame until jaggery melts. Follow rest of the recipe as as mentioned above.
- Color of sakkarai pongal depends on the color of jaggery. Darker the jaggery, darker the color of Pongal would be. The jaggery used here is light amber and hence the color seen in the photos.
- Sakkarai pongal solidifies once cooled becomes a lump. Re-heat it for few seconds to minutes, before serving. For a small bowl, re-heat for 30 seconds and longer for large quantity.
- Nutritional information is approximate.
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Instant pot opos sakkarai pongal is so easy to make and looks so delicious. Planning to try this for breakfast tomorrow.
The sweet version of Pongal is delicious and your pics say it all. I actually prefer the savoury version, but these pics make the Pongal look super tempting.
Priya Srinivasan says
Love this instant pot Sakkarai pongal usha! I too prefer crunchy nuts than the soggy ones ! I m a newbie with IP, love experimenting with it! Would love to try this delicious pongal!
This is an interesting recipe and would love to try. I always go to stove top for the jaggery addition part.
Harini Rupanagudi says
Interesting OPOS method Usha. I usually just pressure cook dal and rice and continue with the jaggery n nuts on stove top. This method makes it less messy n faster too I guess.
I also make this in instant pot and always pot in pot unless the quantity is too much. IP has definitely made life more easier. Love the pictures, bright and classy!
Nisha Ramesh says
The pongal has come out so good Usha. Lovely pictures.
Mireille Roc (@ChefMireille) says
you have really enbraced the instant pot in full force - I am sure the IP version was delicious
Sandhya Ramakrishnan says
You are doing an awesome job using the IP. I still have not used any glass container inside the IP. I am scared of it breaking. I need to get over the fear as then I will be able to put many of my pyrex to good use.
Sandhya, steel is it best and unfortunately, I don't have many steel utensils. Yes, anything that is oven safe is safe to use in IP.
Pongal seems to be one of those dishes that a lot of people are comfortable making in the IP. Nice recipe.
I've heard a lot about OPOS cooking method but never actually read about it. This pongal recipe sounds interesting and will try it out some time soon.
Harini-Jaya R says
A good one to do in IP, Usha.
just in time for the sankranti festival ! a delectable treat there, Usha 🙂
Hi, Very interesting method. Planning to try this out in the IP for a potluck this weekend. Can you let me know how many servings this recipe is for? If I double/triple the quantity of rice/dal, do I double/triple the cooking time in the IP as well?
Priya, this will yield at least 3 cups of Pongal. If I remember, I stored this in a 3 cup pyrex bowl. Serving size is subjective and depends on how much you want to serve per serving. I would say it would yield at least 3-4 serving. You need not double/triple the cooking time even if you double/triple the recipe. Just make sure you use a big IP, a 6 qt IP if you triple the recipe. Hope this helps. Happy cooking and happy Pongal. On a second thought, the recipe should easily serve 4-6.
Awesome, Thankyou so much! Happy Pongal to you too!
Priya Suresh says
OPOS Sakkarai pongal, definitely an interesting way to dish out sakkarai pongal. Sounds very easy to make through IP.
Padmajha Sureshbabu says
Interesting to read about this dish being made in the IP. Like Srivalli mentioned our mothers have been making so many dishes in the pressure cooker itself! Anyways, lovely clicks Usha.
Srivalli Jetti says
That's an interesting OPOS dish to make Usha...though there has been enough controversies on this method being invented in recent times, I remember my mom following this method unconsciously..also I find adding the nuts without roasting adds no flavour!...Still I enjoyed reading how you cooked this in IP
Valli, totally agree with you on the invention of this method in recent times.