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Crushed Peanut Chikki
Crushed Peanut Chikki is a very popular Indian brittle (sweet) recipe made of two main ingredients crushed roasted peanuts and jaggery and flavored with cardamom. Its also known as gajak and popular during the winter season especially during the festivities of Lohri and Makarsankranti.
Roasting the peanuts: (can be skipped if using roasted unsalted peanuts)
Heat a pan on medium low heat and roast the peanuts stirring intermittently. Once they are toasted, you can see the change in color for a few which get de-skinned during this roasting process. Switch off the flame, stir for a few more mins and let them sit until easy to handle or allow to cool completely.
Take a handful of peanuts and rub then between your palms to de-skin. Once done, take a wide sieve to filter out the skin.
Grind them to a coarse consistency using a food processor. Add cardamom powder to it, mix and keep aside. You can roast peanuts a day or two in advance and keep handy.
For Making Chikki
Keep a baking tray or plate lined with parchment paper ready. Grease a rolling pin or back of a measuring cup with ghee and keep ready. We will use this to spread and shape the mixture.
Heat a pan (nonstick preferably) on medium low and to it add jaggery along with water. Keep stirring continuously till the jaggery melts and is smooth and creamy.
Stir in ghee and cook on low flame stirring intermittently until frothy/bubbly and the color changes to slightly dark amber color.
At this point take a small bowl of water and drop few drops of jaggery into it to see if it has reached the hard ball consistency. If it hardens and breaks easily like candy without any stringy consistency then the syrup is ready. The hardened jaggery should be brittle and not soft. You can also check by tasting the hardened jaggery to see if it sticks to your teeth in which case you can cook for a couple of mins and do the water test again. Do not cook past the hard ball consistency as the jaggery will burn and give a very dark amber color.
Once you have the right jaggery syrup consistency, stir in the peanuts and mix until well combined. These below steps should be done quickly before the mixture hardens.
Switch off the flame and immediately transfer the mixture to the pre-lined tray or surface with parchment paper.
Using the back of a greased measuring cup or rolling pin, spread the mixture as thin as you like but not too thin. Cut into squares while it is hot. Allow to set about 5 mins or as long as needed and then break the squares. They should snap off easily.
Allow to cool completely and store in air tight container. Crushed Peanut Chikki is ready!!