Today, January 14th is Sankrant or Makara Sankranti , which is one of the most auspicious festivals for Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of India and also in Nepal and SriLanka with great fervour and festivities. Sankrant is a harvest festival and it also is regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase. In Maharashtra, which is a state in western India, it is traditional to make ’til gul’ which just simply means sesame and jaggery. So sesame ladoos or chikkis (brittle) are made and shared with friends and family – folklore has it that sharing this sweet ensures that relationships will remain strong forever.!
Making the traditional ’til ladoos’ can be tricky – since the jaggery needs to be warmed to the right consistency. So today I decided to do a brittle and looked up different recipes for brittles. I finally liked the basic recipe from simplerecipes.com which uses sugar and honey. I added additional ingredients like peanuts and almonds and also modified the flavoring from a vanilla to the more traditional Indian one – ‘cardamom’. The end result – nice and chewy brittle that you cannot stop eating! It’s the perfect late afternoon snack and its healthy too – with sesame seeds and the nuts. I guarantee that this one won’t last too long on your kitchen counter.! Happy Sankranti and Happy Snacking!
This recipe will make about 16-20 1 inch brittle squares Ingredients: 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup honey pinch of salt 1 tbsp water 1/2 tsp cardamom powder 1 cup white sesame seeds 1/4 cup roasted peanuts,coarsely chopped 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter pinch of baking soda 1 tbsp thinly sliced almonds (optional)
1. Take a non stick or a metal rectangular baking tray and grease with butter. Set aside.
2.Take a medium size cooking pot or a kadai (wok style pan) and add the sugar, honey,salt and the water. Heat on medium flame until you get a thick liquid mixture. Add the cardamom powder to it and stir.
3.Then add the sesame seeds and the peanuts and continue to stir on medium heat for about 7-8 minutes until you start seeing bubbles and the color of the mixture turns darker (like a caramel color).
4. Now put the heat off and add the butter and stir to melt the butter. Then add the pinch of baking soda and continue to stir for about a minute – you will see the mixture become a little frothy.
5. Immediately transfer the mixture onto the greased tray and then grease the flat side(base) of a bowl or a cup and flatten the mixture using this to press on it.
6. Sprinkle the sliced almonds all over on top. Take a sharp knife and make cuts to make squares on the brittle mixture while its hot.
7. Let cool for about 30 minutes and then scrape the pieces out using a spatula and transfer to an airtight container.