Peanut Brittle, Chikki
Moogphali ki Chikki
When I was a young girl, we used to make ‘chikky’ or brittle in our boarding school in Pilani. This was a zillion years ago! When we arrived from home for the term at the boarding school, we used to bring a supply of sugar, ghee and nuts (almonds, cashews and pistachios) with us, especially for the cold winter months. This was to supplement our healthy, but not so stimulating diet. Outside each hostel wing, there used to be a huge pan of water boiling on a large wood burning stove called 'chulha'. This was before the days of electrically heated water was the norm in India. This water was used by us for our daily bucket bath*. The rule was that you take a bucket of hot water and add a bucket of cold water. There was always a lot of red hot charcoal at the base of the fire. We would carry this hot coal to our room, filled in a ‘coal iron’, on the pretext of ironing our uniforms! We would then fill a small, stainless steel bowl or katori with ghee, sugar and nuts and let everything melt and caramelise together. We then allowed it to cool into a solid mass, to be broken up and eaten with glee. I tell you, it was the best tasting chickki, it tasted heavenly!
*Health and safety people will take issue with the school authorities these days, I have no doubt. Thinking back, it was a dangerous activity (handling boiling hot water) to be permitted in a school for under sixteen, but those were the days before risk assessments in schools!!
Edited January 2020
250 gm unroasted, skinless peanuts. If you can find salt free roasted peanut, they wull be fine for this recipe.
200 gm raw jaggery (gur) or brown sugar or muscovado sugar
1 tbsp. ghee (clarified butter)
A flat, heat proof tray
Roast peanuts in a karahi/wok or an oven. I roast mine in an oven, preheated to 180C. Place peanuts a tray and let them oven cook for 25-45 minutes, until you get very light brown colour and roasted aroma. Transfer to a cold plate/bowl to stop them continue to cook further. Keep aside.
Grease a flat tray or plate with a tiny amount of ghee and keep aside. You can line it with a grease proof paper; easier to cut later.
Melt ghee in a pan on low heat.
Add sugar/gur, cook stirring it continuously, until melted. Keep stirring, until it is bubbling and frothy.
Add peanuts, stir quickly. Pour onto the buttered tray before it sets.
Spread it very quickly using gloved hands or a flat, oiled spatula. It is too hot to touch by hand! Be fast, because it becomes brittle very quickly, If that happens, then you can’t flatten it.
Once cool and set, take it out of the tray onto a clean surface. Break it up into pieces or cut with a sharp. large knife. Store in an airtight tin, if you don't eat it all at once!
If any reader of this recipe was in Birla Vidya Mandir in Pilani in the 50's, please get in touch via the contact link.