Kalkandu Sadam or Kalkandu pongal - Rich and creamy, luscious and scrumptious rice based traditional sweet. Rice simmered and cooked in milk and sweetened with sugar candy. But in this recipe I have used Panam Kalkandu - palm candy a natural sweetener made from Palmyra trees.
It is no wonder that Indian cuisine has so many rice based sweet dishes. We love rice, milk and sugar. So today's recipe is a combination of all three. Well, it is a festive treat isn't it ? So it is going to be rich and loaded. The main ingredient of the recipe is Kalkandu.
Kalkandu | rock candy
Kalkandu also known as rock candy holds a special place in the Hindu culture. These candies are Lord krishna's favourite along with butter. We offer these as prasad to Gods during our everyday prayers. Generally, any offering to God is had only after taking a bath, cleansing yourself. But this was an exception. We were allowed to eat this whenever we pleased. A plate full of kalkandu will always be there in our pooja room. Not sure if "Balakrishna" enjoyed this but we surely did, still do.
Kalkandu sadam | Kalkandu Pongal
Usually kalkandu sadam is made with normal kalkandu, the white rock candy. But there is another variety called palm candy also known as Panamkarkandu, which is brown in colour. These are made from palmyra trees. These candies are slightly less sweeter than the normal kalkandu. These are used as natural medicines to treat cold and especially dry cough. We also used to have it in turmeric milk and it gives an instant relief.
When my parents visited me, they brought so many native ingredients and panamkarkandu was one of them. So this recipe is best way to use these apart from having them as such. Kalkandu sadam is a simple recipe. Cook rice in milk and sweeten it. The rest of the ingredients are all as per our convenience and taste preference!
Kalkandu Sadam - Rich and creamy, luscious and scrumptious rice based traditional sweet. Rice simmered and cooked in milk and sweetened with sugar candy. But in this recipe Panam Kalkandu - palm candy a natural sweetener made from Palmyra trees is used as a sweetener.
- 3 tablespoon ghee | Indian clarified butter, divided
- 10 cashews or as needed
- 10 raisins or as needed
- ½ cup rice refer notes 1
- 1 tablespoon split moong dhal | Pasi paruppu (optional) refer notes
- 2 cups water
- 1.5 cup milk, divided
- ¾ - 1 cup palm candy or rock candy | panamkalkandu (kalkandu) refer notes
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 strand saffron (completely optional) refer notes
Cook rice and dhal (if using) in a pressure cooker until they become very soft and mushy. Use 1:3 ratio for rice and liquid. Use ½ cup milk plus 1.5 cups water. (Refer notes 1)
As soon as it is ready, whisk the rice really well and keep it covered.
Meanwhile, soak the sugar candies in warm water. Once the crystals dissolve, strain the water to remove any purities. (Refer notes 2)
In a heavy bottomed pan, add a teaspoon of ghee. Fry the cashews and raisins until the cashews turn golden brown and the raisins swell.
In the same pan, add the cooked rice and the sugar candies. Add the remaining 1 cup milk in intervals. Keep stirring it frequently on a medium low flame; until it becomes nice and creamy for about 12 minutes or so. The candies would have dissolved by now. (refer notes 2)
Also add the remaining ghee in a similar manner (in intervals) as and when the rice gets thickened. Add as much you need. You can increase or reduce the amount.
Finally add the roasted cashews, raisins and cardamom powder. Stir well and serve it warm.
- The rice should be well cooked and the grains should be soft & mushy. I generally use 1:3 ratio for cooking rice - the indian variety (short grains). If you know the rice:liquid ratio, use accordingly. When using pressure cooker to cook rice, use ½ cup milk plus 1.5 cups water. If you use more milk, chances of spilling are more.
- Check the candy packet before use. You can very well see if there are any impurities present in it. If yes, then the best way is to dissolve and strain the water before using. The brown variety usually has dirt and impurities. If you are using the regular white variety you can either dissolve them in water or powder them before adding it to the white mixture. This ensures faster and even mixing.
- You can also keep it on the stove for a little longer time, about another 5-10 minutes. The longer you keep, more richer and creamier it will be.
- Adjust the amount of candy as per your sweet preference. In case you are adding some more in the later stage, either powder the candy or at least crush them coarsely and then add them. It might take more time to dissolve.
- If you are using normal kalkandu, start with ¾ cup and adjust. They are more sweeter than panamkarkandu.