Food I Eat: Chikki
In the US, each year my mother would make peanut brittle during Christmas. She’d melt the sugar, add the flavoring, then pour it all into a shallow pan and put it out in the garage – which was well below freezing at that time of the year. We’d wait a couple hours, then bring the pan back into the kitchen and bash it with the handle of a butter knife, cracking the candy into small pieces. I can remember vividly that look on my mom’s face when it all came together and she was satisfied with her creation – pure joy. My mom passed on her love of nuts to me, so it was a treat to discover that India has it’s own style of peanut brittle called Chikki.
Chikki can be made with a variety of nuts – peanut, cashew, pistachio or all of them together – and is often made with jaggery instead of sugar. Sometimes they’ll even make ground nut chikki, which has a wonderful texture and flavor. Some people will say that Ahmedabad is the main chikki town, but I’d have to put my money on Lonavala as the Chikki Capital of the World. Not only is this the birthplace of chikki, but a walk down the main street will prove my hypothesis – with every storefront taken by chikki shops for what feels like several kilometers. Sold by the kg, Chikki is a very popular treat for rural and urban Indians alike. Tasty & economical.