One of the many memories that conjures up when you think back to your childhood, will be these Peanut chikkis. They come in different shapes and forms. Best known is always those flat, pressed chunks of square delights. When I was thinking of what to make for the Back to Hostel Food, I was reminded of this right away. I have always been wanting to make this, though I have already made a laddu version, chikkis are hardly the same. Well I might be wrong again, I have had the same texture in the store bough laddus as well.
Let's say I just fancied to make these again with the correct consistency of the jaggary mixture. The inspiration of making this right away, was of course after reading an article in The Hindu "In search of Kovilpatti Kadalai mittai". It talks about the famous mittai available in this place and how one can find lanes and lanes of shops lined up with makers of Peanut chikkis.
They say the speciality lies in the water and the special peanuts that's used and the three different jaggary that are used. So I ended up using three different varieties. The brown one, a white and the pressed one. Now don't ask me the names, I could hardly ask the shop keeper on the names. Be assured the taste was different in all three. The hight light of making the chakki lies in cooking up the syrup to the consistency of the three thread or the ball consistency.
Peanut Chikki | Kadala Mittai
Peanuts / Roasted Ground nuts - 2 cups
Jaggery - 2 cups
Water - 1/2 Cup
Liquid glucose - 2 tsp
Salt a pinch
How to make Kadala Mittai
If you are using roasted peanuts, you can skip this step. Else roast the Peanuts on medium heat till toasted and slightly brown all over. This takes about around 8-10 minutes. Keep stirring throughout the process.
Allow it cool down and crush them very lightly, and deskin it.
In a thick bottom pan on medium heat, melt Jaggery and Salt in ½ cup Water. Once the jaggary melts, strain to remove the impurities.
Pour it back into the pan and boil it, stirring, till it attains a soft crack stage / 270 Deg F/ 130 Deg C. * Read notes
Add the prepared Peanuts, stir as fast as possible; remove on to a greased rolling board. With a thick ladle, spread it into 1 cm . Press it down and start rolling it down.
Make marks on top and cut lightly to divide the portions, don't cut all the way through as it will be sticky while hot and let it cool for 10 minutes.
Cut along the already made lines to divide the portions and let it cool down before serving. Store the leftovers in an airtight container.
The partially crushed Peanuts will bind everything together; so it is important to crush them slightly.
You have to cut the Mittai lightly before it completely cools down or it will become very hard to cut through the desired lines.
The stage of the Jaggery to add the Peanuts is very important in making Kadala Mittai.
The stage used to make this is when you get a ball when rolled in water. This comes after the one thread, three thread stage. But this is very critical as you might not be able to gauge it most times. When you are able to roll the syrup as hard ball is what we need here. This happens at about 130 Deg C
Any temperature below the soft crack stage will make the Mittai chewy and sticky.
If you have a Candy Thermometer, do use it to get the temperature of the Jaggery syrup correct. If you are using one, remove it from the syrup before adding the Peanuts and don’t put the hot Candy Thermometer immediately in cold Water. Wait till it cools down.
If in case your Mittai is a bit on the chewy side, refrigeration will help a bit.
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