Spiced Rice Pudding

Photography by Jason Little | Food Styling by Johanna Brannan Lowe
A traditional offering to the gods prepared during South Indian festivals, this adaptation of sweet and creamy sakkarai pongal uses more dal, less ghee, brown sugar in place of jaggery and no camphor. This recipe is part of the 2018 Food & Nutrition cultural competency series, My Global Table.

SERVING SIZE: ½ cup (110 grams)
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 25 minutes


  • ½ cup long-grain white rice
  • ½ cup moong dal
  • 3 cups (710 milliliters) water
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground green cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • ¼ cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 16 raisins


  1. Toast rice and dal in a medium pot over medium heat until aromatic but not brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Shake the pan to ensure even toasting.
  2. Using a sieve, rinse and drain the dal mixture.
  3. Return dal mixture to the pot. Add water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 20 minutes (rice will be soft enough to easily mash with the back of a spoon). Remove from heat.
  4. Add brown sugar, nutmeg and cardamom and stir to combine.
  5. In a small pan over medium heat, melt ghee.
  6. Add cashews and raisins. Sauté until cashews turn golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  7. Pour over the mashed dal mixture.

Cooking note: Native to India, moong (also spelled mung) dal is a hulled, split yellow lentil. Find it in bulk bins of some major supermarkets, at Indian grocery stores, international farmers markets and many online retailers.

Nutrition per serving: 154 calories, 3g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 2mg cholesterol, 8mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 8g sugar, 5g protein, N/A potassium, N/A phosphorus

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Marisa Moore
Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD, is based in Atlanta and specializes in culinary nutrition, communications and consulting. She blogs at marisamoore.com. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.