In the winter, many Indians prepare a gajak recipe to share with family and friends. Gajak, also known as chikki, is available in a variety of sizes and shapes and you can alter the flavors according to your taste. The best gajak is crispy and textured and you can easily make a gajak sweet recipe easily at home. Gud gajak is traditionally made with jaggery and sesame seeds since these are warming ingredients that keep the body from being too cold. Peanuts are also included in a traditional gachak recipe since they are readily available during the winter and also have a warming effect on the body.
It is also common to serve a gajak roll in North Indian during Makar Sankranti which is one of the most celebratory days of the year. This festival signifies the beginning of spring as people say goodbye to the bitter cold of winter. Gajak is particularly popular in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, especially in areas such as Meeruit, Muraina, Jalandhar, and Ludhiana.
When making gajak, it is important to get the ideal crunch. The homemade should not be extremely tough and difficult to bite into and you may need to practice making gajak a few times before it comes out just right. You can make this gajak recipe quickly to get the taste and texture you want. You only need four ingredients for a gajak sweet recipe and the recipe will take about 20 minutes of prep time.
Gajak is also egg-free, vegetarian, and gluten-free so it’s suitable for a variety of diets. After serving gajak to your family and friends, this sweet treat will likely become a favorite in your home.
Ingredients for Gajak Recipe with Jaggery
If you’re learning how to make gajak at home, you’ll need the following ingredients:
– half a cup of roasted sesame seeds
– 250 gm of sugar
– 2 tablespoons of water
– 1/4 cup of cashews (halved)
– 2 tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter)
Here are the steps you should take to prepare the gajak:
- Dry-roast the sesame seeds. Greese a baking tray with ghee and set it aside. In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Kadhai, dry-roast the seeds on low until they turn brown; set them aside.
- Combine the sugar, ghee, and water, and cook on medium heat until the mixture turns syrupy. Remove the syrup from the heat and fold the sesame seeds and cashews into the mixture. Combine well and transfer the mixture to the tray lined with ghee. Use a spatula to level the mixture.
- Make cuts into the gajak while it is still warm. When the gajak has cooled down completely, you can separate the squares. Store the candy in an airtight container to enjoy later if you don’t eat all of the gajak in one sitting.
The Health Benefits of Gajak Ingredients
The ingredient list for gajak is short and the recipe will come together without any complicated steps. Here are the health benefits you can experience from each of the ingredients in gajak:
Peanuts-It is best to use raw peanuts for this recipe. You can use chopped or whole peanuts, but don’t use flavored or salted peanuts. However, you can purchase store-bough peanuts to enhance the nutty flavor of the gajak.
Peanuts are high in healthy fat and are also a reliable source of fiber and protein. Peanuts are also ideal for individuals with diabetes since they are a great source of protein and are low carbohydrates. Peanuts also contain about 30 different minerals and vitamins which makes them an ideal snack.
Jaggery — This is the sweetener for the gajak. You can use dark or light jaggery depending on how you want your chikki to look. Jaggery is unrefined cane sugar and has a unique flavor that is similar to molasses. This ingredient will cleanse the body and aid in digestion. Jaggery is a healthier sugar option and purifies the blood while making it easier for the body to remove impurities.
Ghee-You’ll need to grease the tray for the gajak. Ghee is clarified butter, so if you want to make the recipe vegan, use vegan butter or coconut oil.
Cardamom powder-This ingredient is option but it enhance the flavor of the chikki and brings out the taste of the other ingredients. Cardamom also gives the treat a pleasant aroma.
More Details on Gajak Preparation
Even though this recipe is easy to make, you should take your time making this treat since each step is critical. There are two basic steps to making this recipe: roasting the peanuts and preparing the jaggery syrup.
Remember not to leave the peanuts in the pan after they are roasted since this may cause them to burn. Keep the peanuts on low heat to enhance the flavor of the peanuts. This technique is recommended for any other nuts you’d like to use for the chikki.
For the jaggery syrup, mix water, cardamom, and jaggery in a bowl then pour it in the pan and bring it to a boil. Cook the syrup on medium-low heat, stirring often. The consistency of the syrup is important, and there are several ways to check the consistency:
-Spoon a drop of the syrup into a bowl of cold water. If the syrup sinks to the bottom of the bowl, you can proceed with the recipe. If the syrup dissolves, you need to boil it a bit longer. The syrup should be thick and coat the back of the spoon. You can also use a digital candy thermometer. The hardball stage is between 250F and 265F. If you chew on the syrup, it should feel brittle which means it won’t stick to your teeth or be too chewy. Be sure the brittle is at the hardball stage and the treat will come out just right every time.
Assembling the Chikki
Once the syrup is in the hardball stage, the color of the jaggery syrup will become a dark amber shade. Remove it from the heat and add the roasted nuts until all of the nuts are coated with the syrup. It is important to work quickly at this step since the syrup will harden quickly. Spread the mixture on a greased baking sheet or line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
Use a rolling pin or steel cup to roll the mixture to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Lift the parchment paper and mark the squares for the gajak into squares with a sharp knife. This allows the candy to snap easily once it is cooled. Set the treat aside to allow it to cool completely before serving.
Additional Variations and Tips
One of the first things to keep in mind is to measure all your ingredients for gajak. The timing of the recipe is important so have all your ingredients pre-measured and assembled before starting the recipe.
Jaggery —Be sure to strain the jaggery if you can to make sure all impurities are removed before starting the recipe.
Raw taste — If the peanuts taste raw, roast them longer on low heat. Or, take the peanut between your index finger and thumb and rub. If the peanut is lightly colored on the inside, they are ready to be mixed with the jaggery syrup.
Microwave — As an alternative to roast the peanuts on the stove, roast the peanuts by heating them in the microwave on high for about 3-4 minutes.
Sweetness — You should maintain a 1:1 ration between peanuts and jaggery. If you want the recipe to be sweeter, you add 1 14 cup of jaggery for every 1 cup of peanuts.
Jaggery syrup — The syrup should be stirred often a low heat to keep it from burning or overcooking. If the jaggery syrup is too stiff, the taste will not be as pleasant.
Hot Temperature- The jaggery and nut mixture will be very hot so be careful when handling it.
Consistency- If the chikki becomes too soft because the jaggery consistency is not right, you’ll have to start the recipe over again. Be sure to check the syrup to make sure it reaches the hardball stage before adding the nuts and spreading the mixture onto the baking sheet.
Rolling the chikki-Don’t roll the chikki on a wooden board since the mixture will likely stick to the board. Use a steel baking sheet and grease it or line it with parchment paper. Grease the rolling pin with ghee as well. If you don’t have a rolling pin, a steel cup will work.
Ghee — To give the gajak a glossy finish, add about a teaspoon of ghee to the treat before cutting.
Alternatives to peanuts- If you don’t want to use peanuts for this recipe, you can use walnuts, cashews, almonds, or hazelnuts. You can also use a combination of your favorite nuts for this sweet treat.
Sweetener — If you don’t have jaggery, you can use brown or white sugar. However, jaggery is a healthier choice since this sweetener is unrefined.
Slicing — It is best to slice the brittle while it is hot. When the chikki mixture cools down, it is more difficult to cut and will yield uneven pieces.
Cardamom — Adding cardamom, particularly green cardamom, enhances the taste of the gajak. You can also add ginger powder, nutmeg, or cinnamon to these sweet treats for more flavor.
A gud gajak recipe is healthy since it contains jaggery and sesame seeds that provide the body with energy. Gajak is also a reliable source of fiber which improves digestion and helps to reduce gas and bloating. This healthy Indian treat is also helpful for people with anemia due to its high iron content.
Gajak and chikki have different origins. Chikki comes from Lonavala while gajak comes from Indore. Gajak is also older than chikki, the recipe is more labor-intensive, and is made from jaggery powder instead of jaggery syrup.
A Khasta gajak recipe contains 168 calories. A little over 11g of these calories come from fat.
Gajak is safe to eat while on a diet since it is rich in fiber. However, the treat is high in calories so it’s important to only enjoy a small portion if you’re trying to watch your weight.