The Indian Harvest Season in January is something what everyone waits for after the new year commences.It falls mid month : 14-15 January and is celebrated round the country with much zeal.It has various names depending on the States like Bhopal Bihu in Assam,Pongal in Tamil Nadu,Lohri in Punjab and Makar Sankranti in other states.
One common aspect of this festival is how people eat the main snacks for the occasion.As January is the prime winter month,almost every region has a crunchy and munchy snack called Chikki made with sugar or jaggery,peanuts and various nuts and sesame seeds.The health conscious people opt for soybean granules or amaranth.But these munchies are made no matter what and are very nutritious and warming to the body.
I am posting the basic recipe of Chikki here made with Peanuts and Sesame Seeds,These delicious and nutritious bites are made in 10 minutes and require no big preparations!
Preparation Time : 30 minutes(including cooling time)
Makes : 15 – 17 big or 25 small pieces
1 cup white Sesame seeds(Safed Til)
1 1/2 cups raw Peanuts
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tbsp Ghee to grease tray
Dry roast Sesame seeds on medium heat till they turn pinkish brown.Empty on to a plate and leave to cool.Dry roast Peanuts as well till the skin starts coming off the nuts.Cool on another plate till both the ingredients come to room temperature.
Coarsely grind the nuts individually and mix them together in a bowl.Keep aside.
Grease a baking tray or a Thali with ghee and keep it near the stove.
In a non stick pan on medium heat,add the sugar.Keep stirring the sugar continuously till it begins to caramelise and turn brown.Keep stirring till all the raw sugar crystals and lumps are melted and you have an amber clear liquid.
Warning – The liquid sugar tends to be very hot so please be careful while melting the sugar and mixing in the nuts.Do not let children come near the stove.
Now quickly add in the coarsely powdered nuts and seeds and mix well so that the nuts and seeds incorporate evenly with the sugar.Empty the mixture into the prepared tray and level with a spatula.
After 5 minutes,mark out squares in the still hot Chikki mix with a sharp knife.This will enable easy breaking after cooling down and give you super neat pieces.
Allow to cool for 15 – 20 minutes.Break into squares at the points where you marked the Chikki mix.Store in airtight containers and use as needed.
A single piece captured at close quarters….
When life stops for a little sweetness…..