May 17, 2012

Peanut Chikki

    As a kid, no vacation to my grandma's place was ever complete unless I bit into my favorite 'Kadalai mittai'. I can still remember how we kids used to buy peanut chikki (peanuts and jaggery toffee) from the store near grandma's home.Each small square would be covered with colored dried coconut shavings, mostly pink and yellow colors. I still love kadalai mittai and bring back a packet each time I visit my mother's place.This recipe is a purely accidental one as I was attempting to make the 'puran' for the delicacy called 'puran poli'.Simply said, the jaggery syrup boiled a wee bit longer and changed color and consistency.Knowing it was beyond the 'puran' point, I hurriedly fried peanuts and added them to the syrup, spread it on a sheet, cut it and lo and behold, I get peanut chikki :))  What a sweet accident it turned out to be! The picture below may not appear very appealing as I was in a big hurry to snap a picture before my tasty chikki was all gone!

Peanut Chikki


Raw Peanuts - 1 to 1 1/2 cups
Jaggery - 3/4 to 1 cup
Water - 1 cup
Ghee - 1 tbsp (to grease plate)

1) As you'll need peanuts without the skin, you would first need to remove them. The easiest way to remove the skin is to roast the peanuts.Heat a kadai or saucepan on high and start roasting the raw peanuts.Reduce the flame to medium once you see the skin peeling off.Transfer to a plate and allow it to cool a little. Now using your hand rub off the remaining skin from all the peanuts.Your roasted peanuts are now ready.
2) Grease a plate with the ghee to place the chikki on.I greased a foil and placed it on a cookie sheet.
3) Mix the water and jaggery in a heavy bottomed pan and heat it on high flame till the jaggery dissolves.It is better to use powdered jaggery to make the syrup, as I have always struggled to break hard jaggery balls bought from the Indian store.Strain the syrup once to remove any impurities from the jaggery.Once the strained syrup begins to boil, the jaggery will start to get a thick, glaze like consistency.Take a little of the melted jaggery between your thumb and index finger and check for one string consistency.Continue to boil till you get almost a two string consistency and the jaggery starts to leave the sides of the pan with almost a toffee like appearance.
4) Now remove from the gas and immediately add the roasted peanuts.Mix well and spread on the greased plate.Cut it into squares.Yummy chikki is ready to be relished.

Variation: You could try adding some cardamom powder and colored dry coconut shavings while mixing the peanuts with the jaggery.

Note: I got 20-25 chikki squares. Also, the measurements given here are based on 'Andaaz se' (using your own judgement) as I have already said, this was a on the spur creation to prevent wasting the jaggery syrup :) A lot of traditional Indian recipes handed down from grandmothers to mothers are based on this 'Andaaz se'.The chikki's turned out crunchy, hard and tasty,just like the ones at my grandma's place. But I must admit, the quantity of jaggery was a wee bit more than the store bought chikki. Should have added more peanuts perhaps...some sweet accident, eh!


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