Varagu Arisi Sakkarai Pongal | How to make Kodo Millet Sweet Pongal

Kodo Millet -Varagu Sakkarai Pongal

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, Varagu Arisi Sakkarai Pongal is a healthy dish prepared with millet replacing the raw rice. In this dish, the rice is completely replaced with Kodo Millet to make a delicious healthy dish for offering as Prasadam.

Sweet Pongal or Sakkarai Pongal is certainly one of the many sweets made during festivals in South India. This sweet Pongal is made with Raw Rice and Split yellow moong dal. On the whole, this Pongal is a healthy dish as we use Jaggery and you can enjoy it as you don’t have to worry about sugar.

With Millets taking over our current fancy of replacing rice, this Sweet Pongal is made using Kodo Millet. As with all versions of Pongal, you can dry roast the millet and moong dal before soaking or you can soak as such. You will find the difference in the way the completed dish will look and the texture.

How to select Jaggery for making this Pongal:

Again the colour of the final Pongal depends on the Jaggery you use. Sometimes you only get pale jaggery that will not give colour to the Pongal at all. We can always ask for “Paagu Vellam” or “Pagu Vellam” that gives a wonderful amber colour to the dish. Also, we use Pakam Bellam (Telugu) to make Athirasam.

Jaggery is unrefined whole sugar and we get different varieties in it. “Achu Vellam” refers to the molded jaggery in Tamil. Other types would be the big size balls are called “Urundai Vellam” called as “Mandai Vellam” or “Pagu Vellam”. Jaggery contains the natural goodness of minerals and vitamins and it is rich in Magnesium, potassium, and iron. Selecting the right type is important as it affects the final dish.

In today’s dish, I have used Kodo Millet, known as Varagu arisi in Tamil, Arikelu, or Arika in Telugu. Kodo is a popular fast or upvas food in some parts of India. The millet is certainly superior to rice, gluten-free and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It has a large potential to provide nourishing food to subsistence farmers in Africa and elsewhere.

Health Benefits of Kodo millet

Varagu is a storehouse of nutrients. Kodo millet is a good substitute for rice or wheat. First of all, Kodo Millet’s Protein, fiber, and mineral content are much higher than the major cereals like rice. You can cook Kodo Millet just like your regular rice or grind into flour. Furthermore, it provides balanced nutrition, unlike polished white rice. Listed below are some of the popular health benefits of Kodo Millet

Low glycemic index – which means it is good food for a diabetic. It is easy to digest, is rich in antioxidants, and has a good dietary fiber. It is a good source of vitamins. Helps in weight management, Anti-cholesterol, and anti-hypertension.

We are starting our BM#117 Week 3 and I will be sharing some of the dishes we can prepare for Navaratri pooja. Every year I observe Navratri pooja by making special Naivedyam daily based on the presiding form of Goddess. I have followed a theme every week, this year I decided to do the daily naivedyam and share on my Instagram.

This Kodo Millet Sakkarai Pongal was part of my No Rice Tamil Nadu Breakfast platter.

Kodo Millet -Varagu Sakkarai Pongal

Step By Step Pictures for making Varagu Arisi Sakkarai Pongal

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Varagu Arisi Sakkarai Pongal | How to make Kodo Millet Sweet Pongal

Varagu Arisi Sakkarai Pongal is a healthy option to make sweet pongal using Kodo Millet along with Moong Dal and Jaggery. This is a sweet offering that you can prepare for festivals and offer to God.
Course Sweets
Cuisine Tamil Nadu
Keyword Healthy Naivedyam, Millet Pongal, Navaratri Dishes, No Rice Dishes
By Cook Method Pressure Cooker, Stovetop
Occasion Navaratri
By Diet Healthy Recipes
Dish Type Festival Sweets, Millets
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Author Srivalli


To Pressure Cook:

  • 1/4 cup Moong Dal / Pesara Pappu
  • 1 cup Kodo Millet / Varagarisi
  • 3 cups Water
  • 2 to 3 Cardamom

For Jaggery Syrup

  • 1 cup Jaggery plus 1 tbsp if required
  • 1 cup Water

To Temper:

  • 3 tbsp Ghee
  • 10 Cashews


  • In a pressure cooker, take the Kodo millet and moong dal and wash well. Add water and cardamom, soak for 15 mins.
  • Pressure cook for 3 whistles and leave it aside for the pressure to fall down.
  • In a saucepan take the jaggery and water, cook till the jaggery is melted, sieve to remove impurities, and again cook for 5 to 7 mins till the syrup thickens.
  • Open the cooker, and add the cooked millet to the thick syrup. Mix well. Add hot water if required to get a loose consistency.
  • Heat a pan with ghee and roast the cashew nuts.
  • Pour this over the simmering Pongal and mix well.
  • Offer this as prasadam before partaking.


You can roast both millets and moong dal before soaking. that gives colour to the Pongal.
If you want the Pongal to be grainy, reduce the water by 1/2 cup water.
You can add milk after mixing it with jaggery for a richer taste.
Along with cashews, you can add raisins.
I normally add the whole cardamom and remove it. However, if you have powder or you can make powder to add to the Pongal.
Tried this recipe?Mention @Cooking4all or tag #Cooking4all!


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#117

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  1. Millets are a rage and we see that rice and wheat flour both are replaced with them .The millet pongal looks lovely and I love the colour . I agree the final outcome depends on the jaggery. I normally use organic jaggery which has a very dark colour .
    Btw they have come up with liquid jaggery too , have you ever tried that ?

  2. I keep substituting millets for rice in dishes now and then and know this pongal tastes absolutely divine. Love the color of this millet pongal, Valli. I keep randomly picking jaggery at the store as long as it looks clean and I don’t think I have ever cooked a dish with this beautiful hue.

  3. Beautiful colored pongal. I feel pongal is one of the best ways to use millets for without worrying if the rest of the family accepts it or not 🙂

  4. Millet pongal looks so delicious. I love the payasam or pongal which are made of jaggery, it gets very nice color and taste to the dish.

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