Studded with lots of nuts, seeds and edible gum resin, not only does chikki taste great, this gluten- and grain-free snack is good for you, too. Feel free to use any nuts or seeds, and add crasins, dried cherries, cranberries, dehydrated blueberries or raspberries.
- ¼ cup ghee
- 2 cups makhana (foxnuts), roughly chopped (see Note)
- ¾ cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- ½ cup dried coconut shavings or flakes
- 2 tbsp gond (edible gum resin) (see Note)
- ¼ cup melon seeds (see Note)
- ¾ cup raisins
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 cup caster sugar
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- a few saffron strands, soaked in 2 tsp warm water (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 30 minutes
In a kadhai or heavy-based saucepan, heat 1 tbsp ghee over low heat. Add the foxnuts and roast for 2–3 minutes or until you smell the aroma. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add another 2 tsp ghee and the almonds, walnuts and coconut. Cook for 2–3 minutes or until you smell the aroma. Take care that the nuts do not change colour. Transfer to the bowl.
Add another 1 tbsp ghee and the gond. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1–2 minutes or until the gond crystals puff up and become opaque. Transfer to the bowl.
Add the remaining 2 tsp ghee and cook the melon seeds for 2–3 minutes or until toasted. Turn off the heat, add the raisins and stir for 1 minute or until combined. Transfer to the bowl.
Toss the roasted nuts, seeds and gond to combine, then let sit for 5–8 minutes to cool slightly.
Grease and line a baking tray or pan with baking paper and set aside.
Pour the water and sugar into the kadhai and bring to the boil over medium heat. When the mixture starts to bubble around the edges, add the cardamom and soaked saffron, if using. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2–3 minutes or until the syrup thickens slightly but does not change colour. Remove from heat and immediately pour over the nut mixture. Working quickly, stir with a spatula so that the nuts are coated in sugar and transfer to the pan. Evenly spread with your hands or a spoon. Let sit at room temperature until completely cool.
Break into desired-size chunks to serve.
• Foxnuts (makhana) are the edible seeds of the lotus plant. Available from Indian and Pakistani food stores.
• Gond or edible gum is an extract from the bark of the gum tree and is used a lot in Indian sweets. It is either white or brown in colour, and crystal like. When cooked in oil, it puffs up like popcorn and becomes opaque. Make sure that it is completely dry before using or it will not bloom well when you roast it. Available from Indian and Pakistani food stores.
• If you can’t find foxnuts or edible gum, increase the quantity of coconut, almond or walnut by the equivalent amount.
• Melon seeds are the seeds of white melon fruit. Available from Indian, Pakistani and Middle Eastern food stores. Substitute sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
Recipe from Sinfully Spicy by Tanvi Srivastava, with photographs by Tanvi Srivastava.