Daily Recco, December 29: Chikki, the perfect desi snack for a biting winter
Soothe those winter cravings with a very healthy, sweet and desi snack. Our very own chikki, or gajjak, as you prefer.
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Winter is when one’s munching quotient is at its peak. It is almost like the cold activates the part of the brain and mouth that seek out the snacks even from the deepest and long-forgotten crevices of the kitchen and fridge. With such cravings, it is a given that unhealthy eating is the order of the day, right? Wrong. We have been sharing recipes of Kadha, soup, cauliflower macaroni, pancakes — in short, food to take care of your health and taste buds both.
Along the same lines, today’s recipe has the wholesome goodness of peanut protein and the antioxidants and immunity power of jaggery. The native Indian recipe has been adapted in the West and the variants go by the name of Peanut Brittle. In India, we call it chikki or gajjak in Hindi, lai in Sindhi, gur badam in Bengali-speaking regions and palli patti in Telugu.
It is a simple snack as long as you ensure the right consistency of jaggery. And this is one dish where the top-quality ingredients won’t work — you’ll need lower-grade jaggery that will not turn stringy after reaching the hard-ball (the required) consistency. So ditch the labels like ‘organic’, ‘unrefined’, ‘pure’ or ‘no added chemicals’ and go to your local kirana store and buy the unpackaged jaggery.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
What you’ll need:
Two cups of peanuts
One cup jaggery
A quarter cup of water
Two teaspoons of ghee
Heat a heavy-bottomed kadhai and dry roast the peanuts on medium-low flame till the peanuts are not raw but have a crunchy texture. You will be able to distinctly smell the aroma of roasted peanuts.
Remove it from the pan and spread it on a large plate and let it cool. Once they cool, rub them between your palms and the skin will come off. Set aside the husked peanuts.
In the same kadhai, add water, jaggery and the ghee and bring to a boil on low-medium heat. Once it starts bubbling, take a spoonful of syrup and drip it in a bowl of cold water. It has to sink to the bottom and solidify. If it does, you have reached the required ‘hard-ball’ stage. Remove from fire.
At this point, add the roasted peanuts to the jaggery syrup and mix well till the peanuts are coated in the syrup. Transfer from the pan to a baking tray greased with ghee and spread it out. Put some parchment paper on the peanut-jaggery mixture and using a rolling pin, roll it into a cake that is half-an-inch in thickness.
Mark the lines with a knife for cutting it when the mixture is still warm. Let it cool completely — it will harden and turn crispier as it cools. Once it cools, cut along the marked lines.
You can wrap it in parchment paper and store in a dry airtight container for weeks.