I love video calls , especially with the parents and sweet sister. There’s always something crazy happening in her house because of her two small babies. And then with the parents …its always fun….because,they are the parents.
So I was chatting with them yesterday evening, And on that video call, I saw my daddy was wearing his Cashmere Pullover and warming himself in front of the heater. And mum is roaming around in a pink hoodie with her head covered. -she’s just like.me. She can’t sit still long enough . And they’d just been shopping. For sweaters for sweet sister… And they were talking of lohri and Rewaris and Chikkis and til and gur and popcorn.
Lohri is an important festival in Punjab. Community bonfires, til gajak ,rewari, pop corn ,peanuts, sweets…its all there.
And then there’s all that dhol and loud music and the dj and dancing and whiskey and Kukkad and Rahra Meat and Sarson da saag and Makki di roti… Its a loud celebration,that we miss here in Mumbai. Especially South Bombay.
Well ,North India is under a cold spell. Mumbai is sniffling too… But hardly. At 13.5℃ ,this is hardly winter. Its like an afterthought. And this is our second warm.winter. We so miss the weather, the chill, the bonfires , the roasting food in the bonfires and snuggling into a duvet.
And eating stuff that warms you from within like nuts and desi ghee or clarified butter. You need that ghee. Lemme tell you that.
Since I’m not too keen on Gulab Chilli(too much sugar-only sucer ,rather) and frontier doesn’t deliver to Mumbai…I had to do something about it.
It needed to be a flat strip ,not a cookie -cookie ,and had to have the flavor of gur or jaggery.
I’d made molasses from gur some days ago, so I decided to use that(yup,you’re right, too lazy to go and shop for gur) and some raw cane sugar. Brown sugar would do too.
If you don’t have either, use regular sugar.
You’ll need to toast the sesame and peanuts lightly or they’ll have a raw taste. And if you can lightly roast and cool the whole wheat flour ,bonus points to you for that.
I can never find the patience to wait.
So 15 minutes is all it took for this 8 inch square cookie-Chikki . Come on, get your act together. You can warm your hands in front of the oven.
The jaggery molases is easy. Just grate one knob of jaggery and add double the amount of water and place in a pan. Simmer till it becomes a dark, honey like syrup that smells of jaggery and dates. Cool and bottle and store in a dark cupboard.
Til Gud Chikki Biscuit / Cookie Strip Cookie-Chikki
3/4 cup whole wheat flour or Atta
1 pinch baking soda or bicarbonate of soda
1/4 cup desi ghee or brown butter or clarified butter
1/4 cup raw cane sugar or brown sugar or demarara sugar
1 tbsp jaggery molasses
1 pinch salt
3-4 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp peanuts
LINE a 8 inch cake tin with parchment paper . Turn your oven to 180℃
In a dry pan, lightly toast the sesame seeds. You don’t want any colour…they just need to begin puffing up. 2 -3 minutes is all it needs.
Remove to a plate to cool. Repeat with the peanuts. Remove, cool and crush in your mortar and pestle or between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Not in the mixer,coz we’re not looking for peanut butter.
Lightly whisk the cane sugar and ghee. My ghee wasn’t solid. Those of you on north India will have to cream the ghee and sugar.
You can of course melt the ghee, just don’t make it liquid. The texture of the cookie-chikki will change.
Basically mix around a minute.
Add 2 tbsp sesame seeds.
Add the molasses. Now add the flour and the salt and baking soda.
The mix will be like wet bread crumbs. You’ll need a little water to bring it together. Just about a tbsp or so. We’re not looking for a dough… Just an almost dough.
Plonk it onto the parchment and press down with the back of a glass. Your cookie-Chikki will be approx 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the peanuts and the remaining sesame seeds and press them down too.
If your pan is bigger, get a thinner cookie-Chikki. Fabulous.
Only you’ll need to bake it for less time.
Once the mix is spread, cut out your tray into 16 or 25 pieces. We won’t be able to cut them later.I did 16.
Pop into the freezer for 5 minutes (if you live in Mumbai)and then straight into the oven for 15 minutes.
Hover nearby after 10minutes. Whole wheat and nuts burn very fast.
When you start to get those aromas of toasting flour and nuts and you feel you can smell the kadhah prashada of a gurudwara… You know its done.
This will need to sit till it cools. It will appear as though its soft and undercooked, no matter…let it cool and it will become crisp.
If this is your first time making cookies, do not wait for the cookie-Chikki to become hard in the oven. Bring it out and allow it to cool.
Once it cools if its still not crisp enough pop into the oven another 5 minutes.
That will do it.
Pull out the paper and with a large knife cut along the cuts again to separate the cookie-Chikki.
Serve with tea or around the Lohri bonfire. Or make them and stash them to eat later.
So enjoy the same taste of Punjab ,the til gud gajak in a healthier form.
Less sugar, healthy ghee and nuts and the best whole wheat flour.
Oh and if I’d been there…this is what I would be wearing. My banarasi brocade Salwar Kameez, with my Lotan Jhumkis.
Happy Lohri to you.
And Sankranti…May god bless you with all the abundance this harvest season.
Punjabi or not, Lohri also heralds the bountiful harvest ,warmer days, good business prospects and good tidings.
Another reason to celebrate.
Coz life is what you bake of it.