Winter 2015


Semiya payasam or shewai or sewai Khir or seviyan Kheer is a Indian sweet made with vermicelli, milk

I would like to share a Pongal recipe. In Sri Lanka, we make it on a day that is similar to Thanksgiving Day. It is a two-day celebration in Sri Lanka. We make rice pudding and call it Pongal. All the families get together. Everybody gets new clothes. On the first day, we say thanks to all the farmers. On the second day, we celebrate the animals, especially the cows and cattle. We call these four days of celebration, Mattu Pongal.


  • 1 cup raw rice or sticky rice
  • 1/4 cup roasted moong dal (split & skinned green gram or yellow lentils)
  • 1/2 cup jaggery (unrefined brown sugar)
  • 1L coconut milk
  • water as required
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp powdered green cardamom
  • 1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)

(Buy these common items - Moong dal, jiggery or ghee - in any East Asian, Chinese or general supermarket.)

Prepare the Puddings

Step 1

Wash and soak rice in water for 20 minutes. Then rinse and drain the water and keep aside. In the meantime, soak the moong dal for 30 minutes.

Step 2

Prepare jaggery syrup

On the burner, place a pan over low heat and pour 100ml water in it. Once it starts boiling, add the jaggery. When the jaggery has dissolved and a syrup is formed, turn off the burner.

Step 3

Roast the dried fruits

Heat the ghee in a frying pan over medium heat and add cashews and raisins. Fry them till they turn golden in colour.

Step 4

Cook rice & moong dal

In the meantime, cook rice and moong dal in the remaining water. Once half cooked, add coconut milk and cook further. Once rice and moong are almost cooked, add the jaggery syrup. Mix well and sprinkle cardamom powder over it.

Add ghee, cashews and raisins. Mix again and after five minutes over low heat, turn it off and set it aside. Pongal Rice Pudding is now ready. Serve it hot in small bowls.