¼teaspoonfreshly ground cardamom1-2 green pods seeded and crushed
Heat a non-stick pan on medium-low heat. Add the sesame seeds and set an external timer for 5 minutes. Lightly toast the seeds by stirring regularly to ensure even toasting. After 5 minutes, transfer the seeds to a plate and keep aside.
Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat. Add jaggery (or sugar), water and ghee. Stir continuously. The Jaggery will begin to crystalize, then start melting into a syrup.
After the jaggery has melted into a syrup, continue to stir and cook until it gets frothy. Let it cook for 10-15 more seconds at that stage. To check for syrup readiness, using your spatula drop a few drops of the syrup in to a bowl of water. If the syrup droplet hardens immediately, and can easily be broken, it's ready. If it is semi-solid on touching, cook the syrup for a few more seconds till it passes the water test.
Add the toasted sesame seeds and stir continuously till the seeds get coated with the syrup.
For easy handling, invert a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Pour this mixture on the parchment. Grease the spatula with ghee and use that to spread the mixture into an even ¼-inch thickness. Alternatively, you can also top the mix with another parchment sheet and use a rolling pin to spread it evenly.
Using a pizza cutter or a sharp chef knife, make 2-inch square or triangular cut marks on the chikki. This helps in breaking them into individual pieces after cooling. You can also skip this step and break the brittle by hand after it cools.Let the sesame chikki cool for 1-2 hours. Store in any airtight container and keep in a cool dark place. Enjoy with a cup of ginger tea.
Sesame seeds: To ensure quality, check for expiration date to ensure freshness.
Toasting seeds: Set an external timer for 5 minutes and follow the suggested heat settings carefully to ensure that sesame seeds toast evenly and don't burn. Over toasted sesame seeds can result in a bitter taste.
Jaggery or Sugar: I have tested this recipe multiple times with jaggery powder. My preferred brand is 24 Mantra or Udipi. You can also grate a block of gur instead. My preferred brand for 'gur' is Swad Kohlapuri. Alternatively, an equal quantity of sugar will work well too.
Syrup consistency: The consistency of syrup is key to making crisp chikki. I check for syrup readiness by performing a water test. I pour a few drops of syrup in to a bowl of water with a spatula or spoon. If the syrup droplets hardens immediately, it's ready. Otherwise, I cook the syrup for a few more seconds till it passes the water test.
Shape it quickly: The sesame-sugar mix hardens pretty fast, therefore, you should spread it and make the cut marks immediately. I use a silicone spatula, parchment paper, or silicone baking mats, for convenience and preventing the hot mixture from burning my hands.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates based on the size of chikki mentioned above. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.