There are two varieties of pongal, namely, sakarai pongal (sweet pongal), kara pongal (spicy pongal), also called ven pongal in Tamil Nadu and Huggi in Karnataka. The rice boiled with milk and jaggery during the Pongal festival is also called Pongal.
Sakarai means sugar in the Tamil language. It tastes sweet and contains ingredients like rice, sugar/jaggery, coconut pieces or moong daal. The sweetening agent in sakarai is traditionally jaggery, but sometimes candy sugar can be added. This makes a white looking pongal, but adding jaggery makes a darker brown coloured pongal.