Chikki, an indian version of brittle, is one of my favorite desserts and probably one of the few Indian desserts that I actually like. It is typically made in the winter (lower humidity levels have something to do with that) and is a somewhat healthy, satisfying, crunchy treat. My favorite kind of chikki is made with sesame seeds or til. I used to bring back boxes of it from my trips to India when I worked in New York and my co-workers were addicted.
Chikki is surprisingly easy to make – I’m sharing a recipe for amaranth brittle, made with puffed amaranth (an ancient grain rich in minerals and protein). I found a bag of quality organic Himalayan amaranth at the Westside in Kala Ghoda which I highly recommend if you live in Mumbai. Amaranth is widely available, at your corner store if you live in India, or any Whole Foods or health store if you’re outside of India. As for the jaggery or gur used in the recipe, that too is available at your corner store if you’re in India or at your local Indian store if you live outside of India. Just ask for chikki gur or jaggery.
2 cups amaranth
3/4 cup chikki gur (jaggery)
1 tsp ghee or coconut oil for a vegan option
Puff the amaranth (just liked you would puff quinoa or even make popped corn) by using a heavy bottomed pan on medium-low heat and constantly stirring for about 4-5 minutes. Be sure that the amaranth doesn’t burn while on the heat; remove from heat if it begins to. Immediately transfer the puffed roasted amaranth to a bowl so it does not cook further.
Using the same heavy bottomed pan, add the teaspoon of ghee or coconut oil and the jaggery. Melt the ghee and gur on a low flame, again constantly stir to melt down into a thick caramel. Keep stirring, about 5-6 minutes, until the mixture darkens to a rich caramel brown color.
At this point, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the puffed amaranth. Transfer the mixture to a flat greased pan and flatten using your hands (it will be a bit hot) or the bottom side of a bowl. Cut it into pieces while it is still soft, and let it cool.
Enjoy it as a dessert or a snacky treat!