Tal Sankari/ Til Chikki
EVENT: FOODIES_ REDOING OLD POSTS #41
RECIPE: TAL SANKARI/ TIL CHIKKI
Tal Sankari/ Til Chikki, a must have Indian sweet during the Makar Sankranti/ Uttarayan/ Lohri festival. Generally made during the winter season as it provides energy, is nourishing and keeps the body warm.
What is Tal Sankari/ Til Chikki?
Tal Sankari/ Til Chikki is simply a delicious sweet made from two basic ingredients, sesame seeds and either sugar or jaggery. Some add a bit of ghee or oil, some don’t. There are so many variations of this basic tal sankari/ til chikki. One can add coarse nut powder or roasted split chickpeas ( roasted chana dal). Add flavorings like cardamom, nutmeg, rose essence, etc. All depends on how the family enjoys it. Here, I’ve just used sesame seeds, jaggery, a bit of ghee and cardamom powder. Tal Sankari is the Gujarati name for til chikki. It is also known as sesame brittle, tal or til papdi, til patti. The thickness will vary from paper thin to about half an inch in thickness. I still cannot roll it out paper thin as I feel that definitely is an art.
What is Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan?
Makar Sankranti, Lohri and Pongal festivals all come around the same time. Lohri a Punjabi festival is usually on 13th January. Pongal festivities begin from 14th January. All these festivals are related to harvest. Its the beginning of harvest season. Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan as its called in Gujarat is the only festival which follows the solar calendar and falls every year on 14th January.
This festival is celebrated by many states of India for different reasons. Its the beginning of the harvest season, its the end of the inauspicious phase which begins during mid December, its the end of the southeast monsoons. In fact, everyone celebrates this day because it marks the beginning of the transition of the Sun God from the southern to the northern hemisphere. Many states fly thousands of colourful kites on this day as an oblation to the Sun. During Uttarayan different states make different sweets.
Why is Til Gud or Sesame Seeds and Jaggery important during this festival?
According to the Hindu mythology sesame seeds originate from the drops of sweat that trickled from Lord Vishnu and fell on earth. Also it is believed that the God of Death, Yama blessed sesame seeds and therefore are regarded as the symbol of immortality. It is a tradition in many families to gift sesame seeds and jaggery and wishing them they speak sweet words throughout the year. If one does not make tal sankari/ til chikki then til gud ladoos or balls are made.
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Some Makar Sankranti Recipes
Gulachi Poli or Tilgul Poli– a Maharashtrian speciality. Flatbread stuffed with jaggery and sesame seeds and other ingredients.
Dahi Chura – flat rice and yogurt are mixed to prepare this dish and enjoyed in the state of Bihar.
Til Gud ke ladoo – an easy to make ladoo where you don’t need to make the jaggery into a syrup.
Chocolate Sesame Fudge – sesame and jaggery with chocolate for chocolate lovers.
Nuts and Jaggery Brittle – mix nuts, dried fruit and sesame seeds to make something different for this festival.
Oats and Nuts Ladoo – made with jaggery and loaded with nuts, different seeds and oats.
Renu likes to add sunflower to the Til Gud Papdi she makes.
Ingredients required for Tal Sankari/ Til Chikki:
- Sesame Seeds – I generally use white sesame seeds, but you can add black ones too. Roast the seeds in a wide pan over low heat, till they begin to pop and you get the aroma of roasted sesame seeds. Don’t burn the seeds otherwise they will taste bitter.
- Jaggery – the best jaggery is the soft variety but if you don’t get that, simply grate the jaggery. Nowadays the option of jaggery powder is available. Its easily available in most Indian Stores.
- Ghee – clarified butter. A little is added to the melted jaggery so that the tal sankari or brittle does not become too hard. For vegan version you can easily replace it with olive oil or coconut oil.
- Cardamom Powder – for flavour
- Gluten Free
- For Vegan version, replace ghee with oil.
- Healthy but only if consumed in limitation
The colour of the tal sankari/ til chikki will totally depend on the colour of the jaggery. Jaggery colour ranges from pale yellow to dark brown.
TAL SANKARI/ TIL CHIKKI
- 250 g sesame seeds (approx. 1¾ cups)
- 250 g jaggery (approx. 1¼ cups if in powder form or grated)
- ½ -1 tsp cardamom powder
- 2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
- Roast sesame seeds in a wide frying pan over low heat till the begin to pop and you get the aroma of roasted sesame seeds.
- Remove the seeds from the pan into a tray or plate. Allow the seeds to cool a bit.
- Keep a glass of water ready.
- Also lightly grease a baking tray upside down, or grease your worktop. Or better still use a silicon mat. I prefer using the mat as you don't need to grease it. Grease a rolling pin lightly and keep it ready.
- In a heavy based pan, add jaggery. Put the pan on medium to low heat.
- Keep stirring the jaggery till it melts. Allow the jaggery to cook till it begins to bubble at the sides.
- Add a few drops of the melted jaggery in a glass of water. It should form a soft ball. This means that the jaggery is ready.
- Add ghee and mix well. The mixture will become frothy and begin to bubble.
- Add cardamom powder and mix well. Immediately add the roasted sesame seeds.
- Mix well.
- Immediately add the sesame mixture and mix well. Take the pan off the heat.
- Immediately put the mixture onto the prepared tray, worktop or the silicon mat. Using the spatula spread out quickly.
- Roll the mixture out as thin as possible.
- Immediately cut the chikki into squares or diamonds, using a sharp knife or a steel spatula.
- Allow the chikki or brittle to cool down for 10-15 minutes.
- Store the tal sankari or chikki in an airtight container.
- Use a baking tray turned upside down or your worktop if you don't have a silicon mat. Make sure you grease it lightly.
- Cut into squares or diamond shapes immediately as you will not be able to cut it when it becomes cold.
- Make sure you have everything ready, the rolling pin, the mat or tray etc before you begin making the tal sankari or chikki.
- Can use 200g of sesame seeds and 50g of coarsely chopped peanuts.
- When you roll out the chikki the edges will crack, but don't worry. You can trim it away when you cut the pieces. Crush it to sprinkle over your cereal or granola or its good to nibble on.
- Thickness of the tal sankari or chikki is depends on you how thin or thick you want it.
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