Chikki (Peanut/Sesame Seeds brittle)

Chikki (Peanut/Sesame Seeds brittle)

Chikki is an iconic sweet snack made in Gujarat during the festival of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. Besides the traditional value, chikki is consumed around this festival owing to its nutritional value. Uttarayan festival is celebrated during winter in Gujarat and Gujaratis believe that one should consume foods that give energy to the body to stay warm and withstand the cold during this time. Chikki is one such snack which is considered to give instant energy to the body owing to its ingredients- made using jaggery and peanuts/sesame seeds.

Now health benefits of jaggery are not unknown- better alternative to sugar and full of micronutrients. But pairing jaggery with peanuts or sesame seeds increases its nutritional value. Due to this combination, chikki is an instant source of calories as well as helps to replenish the micronutrients, something that is required to tolerate cold. Ofcourse, just like any other healthy sweet snack, chikki should also be eaten in moderation to get the best of it.

Chikki can be considered an Indian version of praline with a key difference that it is made using jaggery instead of white sugar. Similar to praline, chikki is made by first caramelizing jaggery instead of sugar and then adding nuts to it. Another difference is that chikki brittles are usually pretty thin and crunchy whereas praline brittle are thick. And last but not the least is the difference in their taste. Although both praline and chikki are essentially caramel brittles, jaggery caramel tastes so much different and better than sugar caramel in my opinion.

Although a type of caramel, chikki brittle needs to be thin and crunchy in texture. So it is very important to make a jaggery caramel right to get that texture. Now I agree this can be a bit tricky and challenging. But I have an easy hack to make the perfect jaggery caramel that I learned from my mother. So the trick is when you are caramelizing jaggery, take some water in a separate bowl. Once the caramel starts to bubble and change color, drop some of it in the water to see if it solidifies or not. If the caramel drop solidifies immediately then the chikki base is ready. But if it does not then it means the caramel needs some more cooking. So keep doing this water test every 30 seconds until you have the caramel drop solidified in water. This is a foolproof trick that will lend you a perfect chikki base each time.

Traditionally, chikki is made with peanuts or sesame seeds. And honestly these two chikki flavors are my favourites. I share recipes of both these chikkis here. But if you want to experiment with flavors then you can make chikki with all kinds of different nuts. This is basically a jaggery caramel which can be paired with different nuts. Just make sure that you use toasted/roasted nuts. You can replace peanuts with the same quantity of any other toasted nuts such as almonds, cashews, pecan, etc.

So here I share my recipe of peanut chikki and sesame seeds chikki that was passed down to me from my mother. I hope you try it and like it. If you try them then do share with us if you liked them or not.

Serves 4 | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients for Peanut Chikki:

  • ¾ cup roughly chopped roasted unsalted peeled peanuts
  • ½ cup jaggery
  • ½ cup jaggery
  • Water for testing

Ingredients for White Sesame Seeds Chikki:

  • ½ cup toasted white sesame seeds
  • ½ cup jaggery
  • 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • Water for testing

Steps for making peanut chikki:

  1. In a saucepan, heat ghee on low heat.
  2. Add jaggery to ghee and let it melt. Cook the jaggery on low heat. This should be done on low heat throughout the process to prevent jaggery from burning.
  3. After about 10 minutes, jaggery will start to bubble and it will turn slightly darker.
  4. At this point, do the water test. Take water in a separate bowl and drop some melted jaggery in it. If the jaggery drop solidifies immediately then the chikki base is ready. If it doesn’t solidify then the base needs some more cooking, so continue cooking on low heat. Check the jaggery base every 30 seconds by dropping some in water. Chikki base is ready when the jaggery drop solidifies in water.
  5. Once the chikki base is ready, add chopped peanuts to it. Mix everything well and cook for 1-2 minutes on low heat.
  6. Now take a baking sheet and grease it properly or put a parchment paper on it. You cannot skip this step since the chikki mixture is very sticky.
  7. Add the peanut chikki mixture to the baking sheet. Initially start spreading it gently using a bowl or roll it with a rolling pin. In either case, grease the bottom of the bowl or rolling pin before using them to spread the chikki mixture in order to avoid sticking to the bowl/rolling pin surface.
  8. Gradually increase the pressure as it starts to harden and continue spreading it. Make it as thin as possible. Thinner the chikki, better will it taste.
  9. Make sure that you don’t apply too much pressure in the beginning when it is still hot. Applying too much pressure in the beginning may break the chikki mixture and it won’t spread out uniformly. Increase pressure only when it starts to harden and cool down a little bit.
  10. After the chikki mixture is spread out as much as possible, let it cool down completely.
  11. Once completely cooled, break the chikki into pieces. Store it in an airtight container and enjoy them any time of the day.

Steps for making Sesame Seeds chikki:

  1. In a saucepan, heat ghee on low heat.
  2. Add jaggery to ghee and let it melt. Cook the jaggery on low heat. This should be done on low heat throughout the process to prevent jaggery from burning.
  3. After about 10 minutes, jaggery will start to bubble and it will turn slightly darker.
  4. At this point, do the water test. Take water in a separate bowl and drop some melted jaggery in it. If the jaggery drop solidifies immediately then the chikki base is ready. If it doesn’t solidify then the base needs some more cooking, so continue cooking on low heat. Check the jaggery base every 30 seconds by dropping some in water. Chikki base is ready when the jaggery drop solidifies in water.
  5. Once the chikki base is ready, add sesame seeds to it. Mix everything well and cook for 1-2 minutes on low heat.
  6. Now take a baking sheet and grease it properly or put a parchment paper on it. You cannot skip this step since the chikki mixture is very sticky.
  7. Add the sesame chikki mixture to the baking sheet. Initially start spreading it gently using a bowl or roll it with a rolling pin. In either case, grease the bottom of the bowl or rolling pin before using them to spread the chikki mixture in order to avoid sticking to the bowl/rolling pin surface.
  8. Gradually increase the pressure as it starts to harden and continue spreading it. Make it as thin as possible. Thinner the chikki, better will it taste.
  9. Make sure that you don’t apply too much pressure in the beginning when it is still hot. Applying too much pressure in the beginning may break the chikki mixture and it won’t spread out uniformly. Increase pressure only when it starts to harden and cool down a little bit.
  10. After the chikki mixture is spread out as much as possible, let it cool down completely.
  11. Once completely cooled, break the chikki into pieces. Store it in an airtight container and enjoy them any time of the day.

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