Rajgira Chikki/Amaranth Brittle
Chikki is a traditional Indian sweet. Rajgira/Amaranth is the seed of the Amaranth plant. Rajgira Chikki is a sweet bar made with popped Rajgira/Amaranth seeds and Jaggery. Though, the label on the bag of Amaranth says that it is a grain, it isn’t a grain like oats, wheat or rice. It is a seed like Quinoa. It is a seed used like a grain. It has many vitamins and minerals and it is gluten free. Rajgira/Amaranth is mostly eaten during Navratri festival/vrat/fasting period when grains are not consumed.
I love home made traditional sweets. Since many years, I have been making different varieties of chikki/brittle like peanut chikki, sesame chikki and dry fruit chikki. Sesame Ladoo and Peanut chikki are must have items at our home, for the Pongal festival every year (in the month of Janauary). You can find the recipe for Sesame Ladoo and Peanut chikki here.
Rajgira chikki was on my to-do list since very long time but I attempted to make it for the first time, just few days ago. Rajgira seeds need to be popped(like popcorn) and used in the recipe. I was able to pop Rajgira/amaranth seeds after many trials and errors. I couldn’t figure out the right technique on the day, I started experimenting. I gave up after a few trials. Next day, I called my mom, asked her few questions. I watched few you tube videos and attempted again. Finally I understood the technique after few attempts. Once you understand the technique, it is a very simple process. I am sharing the recipe of Rajgira Chikki along with the tips and techniques to pop the Amaranth/Rajgira seeds.
Let’s begin the process of making this nutritious sweet treat.
Measuring cup used: 1 cup = 250ml
Rajgira/Amaranth seeds – 1/2 cup (this will yield more than 2 cups of popped seeds)(We use 1 heaped cup(approximately) of popped seeds in this recipe. The remaining popped amaranth can be eaten just like that or it can be added in a sweet or savory trail mix.)
Vegetable oil – 1/2 Tsp.
Grated Jaggery – 1/2 cup
Water – 1/4 cup
Vegetable oil – 1 Tsp.(To grease the parchment paper)
We need to pop Rajgira/Amaranth seeds.
Heat a heavy bottomed wide pan on medium/high heat until it is very hot(about 3-4 minutes). When the pan is hot, add 1 Tsp. Rajgira seeds at a time and keep stirring them. The seeds will start popping. You can hear the popping sound of the seeds and they also look puffed up. It will take less than 40 seconds to pop 1 tsp. seeds. Not all seeds are going to pop. There will few unpopped seeds in each batch. Transfer them to a mesh sieve and shake it to separate the unpopped seeds. Repeat the process.
Here is the picture of Rajgira/Amaranth seeds before popping(left) and after popping(right).
I have added the picture of unpopped seeds(bottom) in this picture. Unpopped seeds can be used whole to make porridge/kheer. They can be ground into flour and used to make Poori, Chapathi or many other recipes.
Tips: If the pan is well heated, the seeds will start popping within 5 seconds.(If the seeds doesn’t start popping within 10 seconds, it means that the pan is not hot enough. The seeds will roast and turn into brown color, but they will not pop. Remove the seeds and heat the pan for few more seconds or minutes. Add a fresh batch of seeds.
Once the seeds start popping, do not reduce the heat or close the lid. We need to stir the seeds continuously so that they do not burn.. If you think that the pan is too hot, you can lift the pan off the flame for just few seconds and shake the pan. Place it again on heat.
I tried to pop more than 1 tsp. seeds at a time, but the quantity of unpopped seeds was more.
I am sharing a small video to help you understand the process better.
Add the grated jaggery and 1/4 cup water in a suace pan. Heat the pan on medium heat and keep stirring until the jaggery is melted. Turn off the heat and strain the melted jaggery liquid into a thick wide bottomed pan. This step is done to remove dirt from the jaggery, if any.
Add 1/2 Tsp. of oil to the filtered jaggery syrup in the wide pan.
Place the pan on low heat and keep stirring it continuosly. The mixture will start to bubble and thicken gradually.
We need to cook the jaggery syrup until the desired consistency is reached.
Tip: To check if the jaggery has reached the required consistency, put a small amount of the syrup in a small bowl filled with water. The syrup should come together to form a ball. If you drop it on the kitchen counter top, it should sound like a stone.
After this stage, the jaggery syrup needs to be cooked for few more seconds on heat until it turns a little darker in color and thicker in consistency. Add the popped Rajgira/Amaranth seeds(approximately 1 cup(heaped) popped seeds) and mix. Transfer the mixture on to a parchment paper greased with oil. Roll it into a thin layer(desired thickness) with a rolling pin greased with oil. While the mixture is hot, make marks on it with a greased knife. Separate the into pieces when it cools down completely.
Try this age-old recipe at home. Enjoy this traditional and nutritious snack!!!