Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chikki



Chikki is a versatile sweet which can be made and stored for a long time. It is very popular in Lonavla and Khandala in Maharashtra. Here they make chikkis from variety of things apart from peanuts. They make it using almond, cashew nut, pista, sesame seeds and coconut. While traveling from Pune to Mumbai by bus, there is a stop at Khandala and Lonavla. The shops there sell a variety of chikkis. Usually it is made by combining more than one of the above ingredient. Also I have seen that in these places they use sugar instead of gur or jaggery to make the chikki and so the chikki looks transparent. In India you get "chikki gur" which is more stickier than the normal jaggery and it gives a lovely golden glaze to the chikki. I have not seen chikki gur in my grocery store in US (I did see kolapur gur at Cash and Carry..but not sure if it is same as chikki gur). If you don't find chikki gur then use the normal gur. I made sesame and peanut chikki and here is the recipe.

Ingredients

1 cup chiki gur (if you don't find chiki gur then use 2 cups of normal gur)
1 cup normal gur or jaggery
3/4 cup peanut
3/4 cup white til
2 tablespoon ghee
1 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)

Method

Roast the peanuts and squeeze them with hand to remove the peanut peel. If you blow air sharply, the peanut peel will fly to one side and thus can be separated from the peanut. Remove as much peanut peel as you can. Chop the peanut into small pieces (I use the mixer to chop the peanuts..just give a pulse or two). Keep aside to cool. Roast the sesame seeds till light brown and let it cool. Spread 1 tablespoon ghee on a plate and keep aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a pan and add the jaggery. Heat on medium heat till it forms a slightly sticky paste and stir occasionally. Reduce the heat to low. From this stage on, I keep a bowl of water near by and put a drop of the jaggery paste into the water every 3-4 minutes. If the drop solidifies, it means that the gur paste is ready. If not cook on low flame stirring the mixture all the time and check again. When it is ready, mix the peanut, cardamom powder and the sesame into the jaggery. Stir well, so that the peanut and sesame are well incorporated into the jaggery. Now spread the chikki mixture on the ghee greased plate and press it with the bottom of a cup or a wooden roti presser till it is evenly spread on the plate. Apply ghee or oil to knife and cut into squares. If the chikki mixture cools down, then the chikki will crumple when you try to cut it into squares. This can be stored in an airtight container for around 15 days to a month.


Preparation time: around 1 hour