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. I have been making this recipe now which uses sugar and honey. I like to additionally some nuts like cashew nuts or peanuts and also like to add ‘cardamom’, which is traditionally used in all indian sweets. 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. You can make ladoos too using the same recipe! I guarantee that this one won’t last too long on your kitchen counter.! Happy Sankranti and Happy Snacking!
- 1 cup white sesame seeds
- ¾ cup coconut sugar (or unrefined cane sugar)
- ¼ cup honey
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp water
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- ¼ cup cashew nuts,coarsely chopped
- ½ tbsp unsalted butter or ghee
- pinch of baking soda
- Take a non stick or a metal rectangular baking tray and grease with ghee/butter or coconut oil. Line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Take a medium size cooking pot or a kadai (wok style pan) and roast the sesame seeds and the nuts for 4-5 mins on medium heat until lightly browned stirring continuously. Transfer to a plate and keep aside.
- To the same pan, add the sugar, honey,salt and the water. Heat on low flame until the mixture is well blended and the sugar is all dissolved (about 1min). Add the cardamom powder and baking soda to it and stir.
- Then add the roasted sesame seeds and the cashew nuts 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).
- For making chikkis or brittle : 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.Take a sharp knife and make cuts to make squares on the brittle mixture while its hot. Let cool for about 30 minutes and then scrape the pieces out using a spatula and transfer to an airtight container.
- For ladoos: Transfer to a plate and cool for about 5 mins. Then while still warm take small portions of the mixture and roll into round shapes using your palms(grease your palms with oil or butter beforehand)