Indian festivals and seasons are interwoven with each other. If you delve into the science of traditional festive food, it would most likely also be a course in seasonal eating.
Ayurveda recommends eating sesame seeds in winter. They are known to give warmth to the body, shielding it from the cold and load it with nutrients apart from giving immunity to diseases.Sankranti, the harvest festival celebrated throughout India and Nepal, is synonymous with sweets made with sesame seeds.I love to use sesame seeds in many dishes- salad dressings, various chutneys, vegetable dishes and to make til laddus or til chikkis.
Til laddus were actually one of the first sweets that I shot, when I started this website, but somehow I never got around to making that post and those beautiful pictures that I shot with a lime green back drop still lie in a folder on my hard disk.Since there are many laddu recipes already posted in this space, I decided to make these chikkis or brittle for you.
I loved the little til laddus made with jaggery that made their way into our home during sankranti, when I was a child. This was also a time when women, accompanied by children at times, went to each other's homes in the neighbourhood for haldi kumkum (a ceremony where married women anoint each other's forehead with turmeric and vermillion).
These chikkis are made with sesame seeds and jaggery, both being my favourite ingredients. At times I like to give this a little twist by incorporating some crushed skinless peanuts or cashews or both along with the sesame seeds.And I love to snack on these tit bits, stored in glass jars (I'm always hungry and alas with a terrible sweet tooth-not a great combination at all!).I hope you enjoy making, eating and sharing these sweets as much as I do! Happy Sankranthi! And cheers to this post that finally made its way after seven long years!
Watch how to make Til Chikkis here-
You can also use 1/4 cup of cashews or peanuts by replacing 1/4 cup sesame seeds in the recipe.
cardamom seeds from 4 cardamom pods, powdered
225 gm (1 ½ cups) sesame seeds
220 gm ( ¾ th cup) jaggery*
4 tsp ghee
1 tbsp milk
7" or 8" square tin
Powder the cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder. Roast the sesame seeds until they change colour, about 4 to 5 minutes and allow to cool. Crumble the jaggery and keep aside.
In a heavy bottomed pan, put in the ghee and after the ghee melts, add the jaggery and allow it to melt on low heat.
Once the jaggery melts, stir in the milk (the milk helps to soften the chikki, so if you don't want a chikki that is hard to bite into, do not forget this step).
After the jaggery bubbles for a few seconds, you need to put in the roasted sesame seeds, the cardamom powder and mix well until all the sesame seeds are coated with the jaggery.
Turn off the heat and transfer this mixture onto a tray lined with baking parchment. You need to make the surface even, using any bowl with a flat bottom and pressing it all over the surface of sesame mixture.
You need to make cut the flattened surface into squares or diamonds immediately. As it cools, the chikki begins to harden and will be difficult to cut into.
Allow the squares or diamonds to cool down, harden and acquire shape.
After it is completely cool, you can break away the pieces easily and store it in an air tight container.
- You need to use jaggery sold in blocks. Jaggery powder wont work with this recipe.
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