Karupatti pongal is a delicious, traditional South Indian recipe made with freshly harvested raw rice, yellow moong dal, ghee, sweetened with palm jaggery and flavoured with green cardamom. Golden brown cashew nuts and raisins add a rich taste to this recipe.
About Karupatti Pongal
Pongal recipe is synonymous with the Harvest Festival of Tamil Nadu a.k.a Pongal. People use freshly harvested rice from the field for making the Pongal recipe. This festival is for thanking Sun, Mother Earth and animals like “ox”, and “cow” that helped the farmer community for a successful harvest of the season. “Makar Sankranti” and “Thai Thirunaal” are the other names for this festival.
For today’s recipe, I have prepared Pongal using Karupatti. Karupatti translates to palm jaggery. Palm Jaggery natural sweetener, which has an earthy caramel-like taste is rich in minerals and is extracted from palm sap. It is called as Panai Vellam in Tamil, Tale Bella in Kannada, Karipetti in Malayalam, Thati Bellam in Telugu and Nolen Gur in Bengali.
Karupatti Pongal is the variation from traditional sweet pongal recipe that uses cane or regular jaggery. I substituted it with palm jaggery because of it’s taste and health benefits. The unique taste from palm jaggery that brings the pongal to next level needs a separate post and hence you are reading it here!
Karupatti is low in glycemic index, rich in minerals and medicinal values and improves immunity compared to plain jaggery. It is also unrefined and prepared without any preservatives. That is the reason is costlier than plain jaggery.
Traditionally pongal is prepared in an open pot but I used the pressure cooker for convenience. Instant pot can be used for pressure cooking in this recipe.
Raw Rice: Usually freshly harvested first rice from field will be used for making pongal. But for convenience, store-bought raw rice or any other cooking rice except basmati rice work.
Yellow Moong dal: Yellow moong dal is roasted until aromatic and used in this recipe. Do not substitute yellow moong dal with split green moong dal or whole moong dal.
Jaggery: I used shaved palm jaggery and measured tightly for this recipe.
Other Ingredients: Ghee, Cashew nuts, Raisins and green cardamom powder are the other ingredients used in this recipe. Instead of green cardamom powder, whole green cardamom can be used after crushing it down. I also added salt to highlight the sweetness which is optional.
You may also like other recipes using karupatti from the below list.
How to make Karupatti Pongal – Step by Step
- In a wide frying pan, dry roast the yellow moong dal on low to medium flame until it releases a nice aroma. It takes about 2 minutes. Make sure not to change the colour of the dal. It just turns dark yellow from light yellow once roasted.
- Transfer the roasted dal to a pressure cooker. Add raw rice to it. Regular rice like sona masuri, ponni boiled rice except basmati rice can be used in this recipe instead of raw rice. If using regular rice, soak it for 15-30 minutes before cooking to get the correct consistency.
- Furthermore, add water to the pressure cooker and wash the ingredients 2 or 3 times or just until the water runs clear.
- Once washed, drain the water content completely from the pressure cooker and add water needed for cooking rice and dal.
- Add a pinch of salt to this. A pinch of salt generally highlights the sweetness. If you do not want to add salt to your sweet recipe, then skip it.
- Close the pressure cooker with a lid. Switch on the flame. Once the steam started coming out of the hole, put the weight or whistle on it.
- Pressure cook for 5 whistle. we need rice and dal in gooey mushy consistency, so it is absolutely fine to cooker in high number of whistles. Turn off the flame after 5 whistles and allow the pressure to release automatically. If you are using Instant pot, pressure cook “high” for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to the same frying pan that we used for frying dal, add grated or shaved karupatti and add an equal quantity of water.
- Turn on the flame and make jaggery syrup. No need to check syrup consistency. Usually the palm jaggery is unrefined and comes with little dust. So, it is always best practice to make syrup and filter it to remove the impurities from it. Once the syrup is ready, turn off the flame.
- By now the pressure released the pressure cooker. Open the lid and you can see both rice and dal are cooked well.
- Using a spatula mash the ingredients slightly. As we cooked both the ingredients well, the mashing job was easier just using the spatula. Make sure to mash the content well before adding the jaggery syrup.
- Now, filter and add the jaggery syrup to the pressure cooker.
- Mix well until there are no lumps. The consistency should be slightly in runny consistency. The pongal becomes thick once cooled down. So keep this thing in mind and add water accordingly or as per personal liking. We love gooey consistency. If you want your pongal more runny, then add some more hot water at this stage and slightly warm the pongal.
- In a small frying pan, Heat ghee. Add cashew nuts and fry it. Once it is half-fried, add the raisins. Fry until the cashew nuts become golden brown and the raisins become pulpy.
- Add the fried cashew nuts and raisins along with the ghee to the pongal. Add green cardamom powder now. If you using whole green cardamom, crush it and add it now.
- Mix well using the spatula so that the ghee incorporates well with the pongal. Use more ghee if preferred. That’s it. Delicious Karupatti Pongal is ready.
Storage, Reheating and Serving Suggestions
Storage & Reheating
The Karupatti Pongal stays good for 18 hours to 1 day at room temperature. You can store the leftover pongal to a clean container, refrigerate and use for 2-3 days.
To reheat it in a microwave: Take the needed portion in a microwave-safe plate or bowl and microwave just until it warms up. Stir in between for uniform reheating.
To reheat it in stove top: Reheating the Pongal on stove differs depending on the pongal consistency. If the pongal is very thick, then add enough water to bring it to the needed consistency, mix well and reheat it on low flame until the pongal slightly bubbles. If the pongal is in the right consistency, then sprinkle water(about a spoon or two) and reheat it on low flame by stirring continuously until it is evenly reheated. Make sure not to burn the pongal in both the methods.
Even though it is a sweet dish, it can be enjoyed as it is. Take a bowl of warm sweet pongal and enjoy.
During a festival or special occasion, serve this pongal along with a breakfast or lunch recipes.
In most of the southern part of india, pongal is served as prasadam. About 1/2 cup pongal is given to everyone who comes to temple after temple pooja.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The karupatti vellam’s sweetness varies according to the extract from the palm sap(palm neera). So, taste the palm jaggery first and adjust the quantity according to its sweetness.
- Some people skip yellow moongdal in their pongal. If you personally want to skip yellow moong dal, please feel free to do it.
- Make sure to add the jaggery syrup only after mashing the rice well. Otherwise, the rice becomes grainy and difficult to mash after adding the jaggery syrup.
- For the perfect gooey pongal, the given measurement works well for me. Adjust the water consistency according to the personal need.
- Edible chambor, cloves and dry ginger powder are the ingredients that add flavour to the pongal. Sometimes the karupatti itself comes with spice or dry ginger powder flavour. If so, then do not add extra flavouring ingredients. Taste the karupptti before making the pongal and decide whether to add flavouring ingredient or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
Use raw rice for the best results for traditional taste. If you do not get raw rice, you can use other rice types like ponni, sona masuri except basmati. One can use other traditional rice like mappillai samba, kavuni arisi, thuyamalli rice, thanga samba as well. Just adjust the water as per the rice type you use.
yes, you can add milk if you want. Add it while cooking the rice and dal. If you add milk, make sure the jaggery syrup is at room temperature. Otherwise, the milk curdles and changes the pongal texture.
If you do not have ghee at the time of preparation, heat butter on low flame until it becomes clear from foggy yellow colour, then fry the cashew nuts and raisins. Only Ghee adds a nice aroma to the Pongal.
Yes, you can substitute palm jaggery with plain regular jaggery. Adjust the quantity based on the sweetness of the jaggery.
You may also like the below pongal varieties.
- 1/4 cup yellow moong dal
- 1/2 cup raw rice see notes
- 3 cups water adjust as needed
- 1 cup palm jaggery / karupatti heaped cup
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 2 tbsp cashew nuts broken
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
- 1/8 tsp salt optional
- Dry roast the yellow moong dal until it is aromatic without changing it's colour. It takes about 2 minutes.
- Add roasted yellow moongdal to a pressure cooker. Add raw rice to it. Wash the rice 2 to 3 times or until the water runs clear. Once washed, drain out the water completely.
- Now, add 2 cups of water to cook rice and dal. Add salt if using. Pressure cook it for 5 whistles. Allow the pressure to release automatically.
- Meanwhile, take grated or shaved jaggery in a pan, add the remaining water. Make a jaggery syrup. No need to check string consistency.
- Now the pressure is released from the pressure cooker. Open the lid, and mash the ingredients well using a spatula.
- Filter and add the jaggery syrup to the mashed ingredients. Mix well without any lumps. If needed, add some more hot water as per the consistency you need. Once added, warm the pongal slightly.
- Heat ghee in a small frying pan, fry cashew nuts and raisins. Once the cashew nuts becomes golden brown and raisins are pulpy, add it to the pongal along with the ghee.
- Add green cardamom powder now. Mix well.
- Karupatti Pongal or Palm Jaggery Pongal is ready! Serve Warm.
- Make sure to raw rice for traditional taste. If it is not available, then use other rice verities except basmati.
- The karupatti quantity I used in this recipe gives a correct sweetness to pongal. However, Adjust the karupatti quantity according to it’s sweetness because the sweetness varies depending on the brand and karupatti preparation.
- Mash the rice and dal before adding jaggery syrup to get the correct pongal consistency.
If you have tried this recipe or have any questions, don’t forget to comment below. I would love to hear your feedback and glad to answer your queries. You can also Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube for other updates from my kitchen about Office Lunchbox, Kid’s Lunchbox and simple meal plate ideas.