In India, Makar Sankranti signifies the end of long, cold wintry days. It heralds in spring and a feeling of festivity.
In a Maharashtrian household, Sankranti is traditionally celebrated with til laddoos. These are a delicious combination of sesame seeds (til) and jaggery (gul). If you haven’t experienced them already, they can be jawbreakers.
My dad loves them but invariably this would involve a trip to the dentist soon after.
My aji (maternal grandmother), feeling sorry for him, would make him this kurmure chikki. It’s not as tough on the teeth and is a quirky addition to our Sankranti menu.
If you don’t have kurmure (puffed rice) around, Rice Krispies are a good substitute. Think of it as Rice Krispies brittle.
250 grams jaggery
3 cups kurmure (puffed rice)
1 teaspoon ghee (to grease the platter)
a generous pinch of cardamom powder (made from 2-3 cardamom pods)
1. In a large pan, melt the jaggery.
2. When it has completely melted, add the cardamom powder and pour in the kurmure. Mix gently and until all the kurmure are coated with the jaggery.
3. Grease a steel plate or a large platter with the ghee.
4. Pour the kurmure and jaggery mixture into the platter and smoothen with the back of a spoon.
5. Let cool for about 15 minutes.
6. Using a sharp spatula, cut the chikki into squares or any other shape you fancy.
7. If the chikki has stuck to the platter, warm the platter gently for 3-5 seconds, over a double boiler and then use the spatula to prise the pieces off. (This is where a sturdy steel plate helps.)
It’s a great way to end a spicy meal. Conversations can trail off quite quickly once you pop a piece of this in your mouth. Be warned!