I have the fondest memories of childhood where I would demand candy as any kid would, and my grandmother replied with, “I’ll make you some myself.” And then she made a batch of peanut chikkis! If I’m being honest, it always worked like a charm. The Indian traditional sweet candy is made from peanuts, jaggery, and sesame.
Making the perfect chikki is all about choosing the right ingredients in perfect quantities. The jaggery is the key to a good chikki since it holds everything together and the primary sweetening agent in the recipe. Unfortunately, common types of jaggery like organic ball jaggery or unrefined jaggery do not go well for the recipe. They turn hard and stringy, even after you cook it past the suggested hard ball stage.
There is a lot of variety available in the market for buying jaggery. If you’re buying online especially, you’ll be lured by tags such as “organic,” “unrefined,” and “pure.” Be advised to not go for any of these. If you live in India, go to a general store and get yourself some non-premium quality jaggery. You just need a normal quality and not anything premium because the premium quality ones are too refined to get us the desired texture.
Now, to prepare the recipe, gather the ingredients. You will need 1 leveled cup of peanuts, 140 to 150 gms of jaggery, 1 tsp water, and 1 tsp ghee. That’s all you will need to make your own Indian exotic hard candy. Let’s take a look at the recipe now.
Step 1: First of all, we need to roast our peanuts. Take a big deep pan and roast your peanuts till golden brown. You will have to take it slow on a low medium flame. To check if you’re doing well or not, de-skin the peanuts and look for the golden brown color on the nut. Doing so brings a pleasant nutty aroma out of the peanuts.
Step 2: After all peanuts are done to perfection, take them out, cool them, de-skin them, and wrap them in a clean cloth to be used later. Once you’ve successfully de-skinned all the peanuts, crush them randomly with the base of a cup or any other way if you wish. The goal is to have them still rough and random and not finely crushed. We want there to be bite-sized pieces.
Step 3: In the next step, it is wise to make preparations before getting into the grind of making the actual recipe. So, grease a rolling pin with some ghee and grease a setting plate with some ghee.
Step 4: In this step, we start working on the jaggery. Take a heavy bottom pan, add the jaggery, and add 1 tsp water to it. Then, start dissolving it on a low flame. When it is completely dissolved, you will discover some impurities that will need to be filtered out. So, take the dissolved mixture off the pan and pass it through a coffee filter paper.
Step 5: Now, it is all about consistency. You have to boil and cook the jaggery syrup till it reaches a hard and brittle consistency. To check consistency, take out a drop of the boiling syrup in water for testing. As soon as it solidifies, break it into two to check the consistency. If it is stringy or soft, keep boiling the mixture. Ideally, you want it to be hard and brittle like candy.
Step 6: Once you’ve achieved ideal consistency, stop cooking the mixture. Any more heat after the perfect point, and you will have broken chikkis or burnt jaggery. Add in the peanuts and mix quickly with the jaggery.
Step 7: Pour the mixture into the pre-greased steel plate and form a rectangular shape with the spatula. Roll it with the pin and even out the surface. Now it is all about timing it right. You must wait for about a minute, so the chikki settles, but it will start getting hard as well if you wait too long. So as soon as it slightly settles, cut it into even pieces.
Step 8: Wait for the chikkis to cool down and store in an airtight jar. An instant sweet treat is ready at a moment’s notice!
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