In a pressure cooker, dry roast raw rice and moong dal separately until they are hot to touch, about 2-3 minutes; and keep them aside. No need to brown them or wait for it to change the colour.
In the same cooker heat up 2tbsp ghee and fry cashews until golden brown and keep aside. If you are also using raisins also fry them in this stage until plump.
Once you have fried the cashews, add the dry roasted rice, moong dal and water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. You can also cook the rice and dal in in a pan if you do not have a pressure cooker or if you prefer that way. Pressure cooking just makes it easier to get the mushy texture.
Once the pressure settles down, open the lid, mash the rice and dal with a potato masher or with the help of back of your laddle. Add the powdered jaggery, a tbsp of ghee and stir everything continuously or else the rice will stick to the bottom of the pan.
Stir upto a stage where the jaggery melts and binds everything together. Add 1 tbsp of ghee at this stage.You can add 1/4 cup water here if you find it difficult to combine everything.
Remove from heat and add cardamom powder and the fried nuts and raisins. Top it off with the remaining tbsp of ghee. Thats it your amazing traditional south indian style Sakkarai Pongal is ready.
You usually get jaggery in lumps in the Indian store. Use a knife or mortal and pestle to break the lumps. You do not want it to be super fine just broken down into smaller piece for it to dissolve easily.
It was perfectly sweetened. However my mom asked me to add 2 cups of jaggery but I chose 1.5 cups depending upon my family preference. So if you prefer 2 cups you can go ahead and add but for me 1.5 worked just fine.
Some recipes call for using milk while pressure cooking rice and dal but it is not followed by my mom so even I didn't. You can add 2 cups water and 1 cup milk if you prefer it that way.