Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Makar Sankrant!

It is Makar Sankrant today. Sankrant as it is commonly called, is a harvest festival celebrated on January 14 every year. Til (sesame seeds) and gul (jaggery) are the star ingredients of this day. In Maharashtra, tilgul (sesame seeds and jaggery fudge) and gulpoli (jaggery filling stuffed inside whole wheat dough and then rolled out) are the two main preparations made on this day. We were lucky to always receive tilgul packets from India as some of our friends happened to be in India during December-January. This year there was no home delivery of Tilgul (pronounced: teel-gool) :( so I decided to make it myself.

(makes about 20-25 squares of 1"x1")

1 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup coarsely ground peanuts (optional)
1 cup jaggery
2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)

Before you start, please note a couple of things. If you decide to use sesame seeds and peanuts the total mixture would be about 1 heaping cup. In this case use 1 cup flat of jaggery. You can totally skip the peanuts and use sesame seeds alone. In this case, use a heaping cup of sesame seeds and use exact one cup jaggery.

1. Toast sesame seeds in a pan and set aside.
2. Start melting the jaggery in a pan. Let it melt until it is of the consistency of thick sugar syrup.
3. Add ghee and stir well. Turn the heat off.
4. Mix in sesame seeds and peanuts.
5. Take out on a cookie sheet and roll out about a quarter to half of an inch thick.
6. Immediately cut it into squares while still hot, and then let the squares cool.

A couple more things to note: Put some ghee on the cookie sheet before pouring the mixture so that it will not stick. If you cover the mixture with a plastic wrap it will be easy to roll it out.

Happy Sankrant to everyone. "Tilgul ghya god bola" :) For those of you who celebrate Pongal... Happy Pongal!

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