Ganesh Chaturthi meant Modaks (kadabu) made by amma just once a year. Yeah, just once and that too on this day alone. Imagine the torture and desperation that makes us wait a year long! Then, Diwali had treats like Karjikai, Shankarpoli, Payasa, etc... Tulsi Pooja made us wait long for the Panchakajjaya. The Til laddu was the most awaited for Sankranti. While at my paternal grandma's place, festival like Navratri mean huge feasting for 9 long days with 20 odd dishes for each day followed very religiously as a mark of respect, tradition and offerings to Goddess.
This tradition is now slowing drifting away from my hands and I am unable to live up to what my parents and grandparents followed, though I try my best to follow when ever I possibly can. It's my hectic work schedules that seizes away at least 10-11 hours of my time at work, the rest for home chores, while I am drained and left with little sleep for the day. It's no excuse, I know. But with posts like these, I am trying to compensate on what I have lost.
Til laddu is a common traditional recipe for Sankranti, a festival that marks the beginning of Spring or the harvest season. The recipe remains the same, irrespective of the laddus or chikkis. I opted to make these chikkis as they were quicker and easier. Time saving factor, again for ease??? With Ugadi that went by more than 2 months ago or Sankranti about 4 months ago, I do not mind making these again to review those festive spirits again and again. I am here with these simple and traditional Til chikki.
Til Chikki/Sesame Bars
1 cups white sesame (til) seeds
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp butter
Roast sesame seeds in a saucepan till they become light brown. Keep them aside.
Grease an inverted stainless steel plate (flat side) and knife.
Heat 1/2 cup brown sugar and butter so that it melts to a syrupy consistency. Allow it to heat up till it comes to a boil. Remove from flame. Add in the white sesame seeds to the syrup and mix.
Immediately transfer this mixture to the greased plate. Using a rolling pin spread the mixture across uniformly. This needs to be done very quickly, else the sugar will start setting up making it difficult later. While it's hot, run a greased knife across it to serrate it into squares or rectangles as preferred.
Traditionally these are made with jaggery. But getting the right consistency is not an easy task, especially if you are a beginner. It needs a little practice to master. My mom and grand-mom mastered that art well. I have a long way to go till I reach that stage! I opted brown sugar which was the closest I could get with jaggery. They still tasted exactly similar. You may use normal white sugar instead of traditional jaggery or brown sugar, which will work excellent. These caramelized nutty bars with delicate flavors of sesame and cardamom will stay for long when stored in air-tight containers.