by Vithya Nandakumar

Pongal is Sri Lanka's version of rice pudding. It contains lentils as well as rice, and the sweetness comes from jaggery – a block of unrefined cane sugar which is available from many Asian grocery shops and large supermarkets.


Buyer's guide

Jaggery can be found in most supermarkets with a good Asian section. The darker the colour, the stronger the flavour. Jaggery from the date palm tree is a winter specialty and quite rare. It is prized in the regions it is found and used to sweeten sweets. Muscovado sugar works well as an alternative.