‘Chikki’ or ‘Brittle’ is a traditional Indian sweet made with jaggery and chopped nuts. The variety of Chikki made is immense, with different combinations of chopped nuts being used. Peanuts and cashew nuts are usually the most popular choices for the preparation of this delicious sweet. Feel free to replace the peanuts and cashew nuts in our recipe with an equal quantity of your favourite nuts!
Chikki is a sweet that’s inherently nutrient-rich because of the jaggery (Iron-rich) and peanuts (full of protein). It was served as a healthy homemade snack in the days before sweets became commercially available and continues to be a favourite in most households. The recipe is very easy to put together and is a quick one too! We hope you enjoy this traditional sweet as much as we do.
Our dear friend Desirée Menezes is an immensely talented illustrator and doodle artist. We’ve collaborated with her brand- JUKEBOX DOODLES, to bring you awesome illustrations to accompany our stories! Please visit Desirée’s page and reach out to her at email@example.com for your very own personalised doodles and illustrations. Thank you for being a part of our kitchen Desirée! We love you!
“Watch out for the Torachi diik (raw mango secretion). It can make your skin sting!” said Aai (grandmother), handing Urvashi a patlo (straw basket) filled with the bright, green fruit. “Don’t forget to give some Lonchyachi Tora (raw mangoes used especially for making pickle) to Sundara as well, she’ll need the fruits to make her favourite lonche (pickle),” she instructed, as her young granddaughter-in-law hurried out onto the varaand (verandah). “Urvi, perhaps you should go tomorrow morning,” said Aai, worry creasing her wrinkled face as thunder rumbled in the distance. “Oh! Don’t worry Aai! Sundara Ati (aunt) lives just across our paddy fields. The storm seems to be far enough and I’ll be home before it starts to rain,” insisted Urvashi, making her way out the main door of the Nayak house. “Dev borem korem (May God bless you)!” called out Aai, standing at the main door and watching Urvi’s figure hurrying down the village path.
“Ai saiba (Oh God)! I wonder when this incessant heat is going to recede. We could all do with some rain!” thought Urvi to herself, crossing a small stream in the forest and making her way down a narrow path through the paddy fields. The harsh afternoon Sun shone over the fields as crickets chirped in their hundreds. At the edge of the fields, Urvi paused near an old tamarind tree to catch her breath. Placing the patlo on the ground, she leaned against the tree, fanning her face with the pallu (edge) of her sari. A bright flash of lightning streaked across the sky, followed by thunder rumbling angrily through the air. “I’d best hurry before it starts to pour,” thought Urvi, picking up the patlo and hastening down the mud path.
“Urvi! Koshem asa (how are you)?” asked Sundara Ati, “I’ve been waiting for you all afternoon! Come in and have some Cha (milky, sweet tea). What have you brought in that patlo? Oh! Aai’s sent us some delicious Lonchyachi Tora! Come on inside! Tell us all that’s been happening in the Nayak house these past three weeks! We heard Dada (grandfather) has decided to hire a Portuguese Master (tutor) for the boys. Is it true?!” asked Sundara Ati, grabbing Urvashi by the arm and leading her onto the varaand. “Ati, I’d love to stay and chat a while but it looks like it’s going to pour soon,” said Urvi, glancing up at dark clouds that seemed to be drifting closer. Aai‘s warned me not to get caught in the downpour and I really need to hurry. I promise to catch up with all of you at the bazaar (weekly market day)!” said Urvi, handing Sundara Ati the patlo and walking towards the gate. “Urvi! Here, at least take this packet of chikki (peanut brittle). Sunil brought home some fresh god (jaggery) from Shiroda and we’ve spent all morning making shengdana chikki (peanut brittle) for the family,” said Ati, insistently placing the packet of sweets in the young girl’s hands. “Thank you for the chikki! I’ll see you all at the bazaar. Saglanke vicharla mhon sang (Convey my regards to everyone)!” said Urvi, hurrying down the lane towards the paddy fields.
“And here I was, thinking it wouldn’t rain until much later in the evening!” thought Urvi, as small drops began to fall through the dense canopy of trees. Small puffs of dust rose up into the air as raindrops crashed onto the parched soil, filling the forest with an earthy scent. “Well, it’s just a drizzle yet,” said Urvi to herself, slowing down to open the packet of chikki. Crunchy pieces of toasted peanuts lay suspended in a chewy jaggery base. Little seeds of elaichi (cardamom) cut through the sweetness and the young girl, quite hungry by now, relished the goodies her aunt had packed for her. All of a sudden, the mild drizzle gave way to a heavy downpour, as Urvi tried her best to shelter beneath the canopy of trees. Hurrying down the last stretch of forest path, she stood at the edge of the paddy fields. “There’s no use turning back! I’m half-soaked as it is! I might as well hurry across the fields. Once I cross the stream, I can wait near the Shantadurga temple until it stops pouring,” she thought, dashing down the narrow lane through the fields.
Thunder rumbled through the dark sky, the rain falling even harder. Nearing the stream, Urvi slowed down to catch her breath, sheltering from the downpour beneath an old Banyan tree. “It must be quite late by now. Everyone’s going to be terribly worried, wondering why I haven’t returned home yet,” thought Urvi, looking at the menacing clouds over the paddy fields. The shallow stream seemed affected by the storm as well, with water gushing over the stones and pebbles. Cringing at the cold, Urvi slowly waded into the stream, nearly losing her balance on the slippery pebbles. Gathering her sari, she struggled to the other side of the stream, leaning against a rock for support. “Almost there!” she said to herself, taking determined steps down the lane leading to the Shantadurga temple.
An old branch, torn apart by the lashing rain, crashed to the earth and startled poor Urvi. She paused, drawing in a deep breath to calm down. As she hurried along the lonely path, another sound startled the poor girl far more! A long, low howl and a rustling in the bushes nearby. “Deva (Oh God)!” thought Urvi, worry flashing across her face as she picked up the largest stick she could find. As she walked on, a jackal rushed out onto the lonely path, howling once more and looking at Urvi with its menacing eyes. “No, a lone jackal wouldn’t hurt a human!” thought Urvi, trying her best to control her fear, as she made her way down the path, holding the stick high to fend off the animal.
Icy fear flowed through her veins as she heard another howl in the bushes behind her, followed by howling further down the forest path. It was a pack of jackals bent on surrounding poor Urvi. Boosted by their numbers, they most certainly could attack a human being…..
Read our next blog post to find out what happens to poor Urvashi! Till then, we hope you enjoy going through reading through Desirée’s wonderful illustrations at Jukebox Doodles! We also hope you enjoy the other recipes & stories in our little world- The Storyteller’s Kitchen.
Chikki (Peanut & Cashew Nut Brittle) Recipe
(Makes about 12-15 small squares)
- 1 cup Peanuts
- 1/4 cup Cashew Nuts
- 3/4 cup Jaggery
- 1 teaspoon Cardamom (Elaichi) seeds
- 1 tablespoon Ghee (Clarified Butter)
- 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
Chop the peanuts and cashew nuts into small pieces. Grind the cardamom seeds and keep aside. Grease a wooden or marble board with a small amount of ghee.
In a heavy-bottomed, non-stick pan, melt a heaped tablespoon of ghee. Once the ghee has melted, add in the jaggery and stir to melt. Keep a bowl, filled with an inch of cold water, by the side of the stove.
Cook the ghee and jaggery on low heat. Stir the syrup often to prevent the jaggery from sticking to the vessel and burning. Once the jaggery has melted completely, allow it to cook for about 2-3 minutes. The syrup will bubble intensely at this point and is extremely hot, do be careful!
To check if the jaggery has reached the right consistency, use a heatproof spatula to scoop up a small amount of the jaggery syrup and drop it into the bowl of cold water. If the jaggery syrup clumps into a firm, pliable ball, the syrup is of the right consistency. If the jaggery dissolves into the water immediately, the syrup needs to be cooked for a few more minutes until it forms a pliable ball when tested in the cold water.
Add the chopped nuts, cardamom seeds and baking soda to the jaggery syrup and stir well to combine all the ingredients. Cook on low heat for a minute and then carefully pour the mixture onto the greased board. Use the heatproof spatula to carefully pat the mixture into a rough rectangle, spreading the mixture to ensure that the block of chikki is as thin as possible. Leave the chikki to cool for ten minutes, then use a knife (greased with a small amount of ghee) to gently score lines onto the surface of the block. Allow the chikki to cool for another ten-fifteen minutes or so, then use the knife to cut through and separate the warm mixture into small squares or rectangles.
Once the pieces of chikki have cooled further, use the greased knife to gently ease the pieces off the wooden board (the lower part of the chikki pieces might still be warm and a little sticky; coating the knife with some ghee helps to prevent the mixture from sticking to it). Arrange the pieces on parchment paper and allow to cool completely. The pieces will continue to harden as they cool. The chikki pieces can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days, at room temperature.
A special variety of Jaggery called ‘Chikki God’ is used in Goa to make sweets of this kind. The ‘Chikki God’ is said to give the Brittle a delicious taste and texture. However, we’ve used simple jaggery for our recipe here and find it just as delicious.
Our stories, set in the early 1900s, are entirely fictional & inspired by childhood tales, local legends and books.