Beautifully caramelized, sweet, perfectly crisp, and crunchy peanut chikki or gajak is the most loved delicacy and a staple in Indian homes. Speckled throughout with peanuts, this Indian version of peanut brittle is a simple fare made with just four ingredients and 20 minutes of your time.
In addition, it is gluten-free, egg-free, and vegetarian. It’s my family favorite during the winters but can be enjoyed any time of year!
For those who love peanuts, this traditional Indian sweet is for you. Both simpler and decadent than the usual dessert fares, this peanut chikki or gajak is a marriage of peanut and jaggery in which the two components are equally matched to create a nutrient-dense and addictive treat.
The blend of these two ingredients is so satisfying that with every bite you take off this crispy and crunchy peanut gazak, it’s like having a party in your mouth.
What is Peanut Chikki or gajak
Chikki is an Indian sweet candy made with jaggery and nuts like peanut, cashew, almond, etc. It can even be made of puffed rice, roasted dal, etc.
In Marathi, it is known as chikki, and in Hindi, it is referred to as Gajak.
While growing up, Peanut chikki was my favorite treat. Though Peanut Gajak is great to have any time of the year, but for some reason, I like to munch on it during winters.
Reasons You’ll ♡ Peanut Chikki or gajak
This bite-sized Indian peanut candy is —
- Super easy and fun
- Energy booster snack
- Rich in antioxidants
- Kid-friendly recipe, and
- Makes a perfect homemade gift that friends and family will appreciate.
Though peanut chikki or gajak is available easily in supermarkets, they are usually laden with preservatives like corn syrup and liquid glucose to increase their shelf life. But then, our homemade version is healthy, nutritious, and without any additives.
The best part, if you are not using ghee, it becomes dairy-free and vegan too!
Ingredients for Peanut chikki or gajak
This ingredient list for peanut brittle is relatively short, and it comes together quickly with no complicated ingredients or procedures to follow.
Peanuts — Raw peanuts work the best. You can use whole or chopped peanuts for this recipe. Avoid using salted or flavored peanuts for this recipe. However, you can use store-bought roasted peanuts for that extra nutty flavor.
Health Benefits — Peanut is a legume loaded with fat, protein, and fiber. They are rich in good fat. Peanuts are usually considered a healthy snack for diabetic patients since they are a good source of protein while low in carbs. This plant-sourced protein contains 30 different vitamins and minerals, making them the ideal snack to munch on.
Jaggery — To sweeten our peanut gajak. I have used a darker shade of jaggery. The color of the peanut chikki is dependent on the jaggery used. If dark-colored jaggery is used, then the chikki will be dark brown, whereas if we use yellow jaggery, the color of the chikki will be light brown.
Health Benefits — Jaggery is unrefined cane sugar with a unique flavor profile and a taste similar to molasses. It cleanses the body while assisting digestion. This healthier sugar can cleanse the body by removing the toxins and purifying the blood.
Ghee — To grease the tray in which you will set the chikkis. Vegans can use coconut oil or vegan butter to grease the tray.
Cardamom powder — Optional, but it enhances the flavors of other ingredients. Besides that, it adds a pleasant aroma too.
How to make Peanut Chikki
Though making peanut chikki is easy, ensure not to make it fast since each step is crucial. The peanut chikki recipe is straightforward. They are two significant steps while making this quintessential winter snack.
- First is roasting the peanuts and discarding the cover.
- Second is preparing the syrup with jaggery and water, which determines how our candy would be.
Roast the peanuts — Add peanuts to a heavy-bottomed wide pan. Dry roast peanuts in a heavy-bottomed pan until light brown and toasty. Do not leave the peanuts on the pan while roasting, as they can get burned soon.
Cook on low heat and slow-roast them for that perfect crunch and nutty flavor. Don’t be tempted to cook the peanuts on high flame. Dry-roasting will take somewhere between 7-8 minutes on low heat.
Remove the peanut skin — Once cooked, remove the peanuts from heat and allow them to cool. When comfortable to touch, start rubbing peanuts in between your hands, and its outer layer will begin to come off.
Make sure that the outer cover of the peanut is completely removed before adding the jaggery syrup. When the peanuts are medium roasted, the skin will start coming off halftime. But then you need to roast them more since they have to become at least slightly golden color at the end.
Jaggery Syrup — Combine water, cardamom powder, and jaggery in a bowl and bring it to a boil. Cook the jaggery syrup over medium-low heat, constantly stirring until the mixture starts to boil.
Peanut brittle syrup
The consistency of the jaggery syrup plays a crucial role while making this peanut brittle. The right consistency of the syrup can make or break the recipe. Therefore, cook the jaggery syrup to the right consistency. If not cooked to the right consistency, the brittle will be very soft and chewy.
There are multiple ways to check the consistency –
- Spoon a drop of the jaggery syrup into the cold water. If it sinks to the bottom and solidifies immediately, you can be assured that you are on the right path and march forward. On the other hand, if it dissolves, it needs to be boiled further.
- It would be thick and coat the spoon’s back.
- Or if you have a digital candy thermometer, you can check the syrup temperature. The hard ball stage is 250- 265 ° F. If you chew on this hard ball candy, it should feel brittle and not chewy or sticking to your teeth.
So, make sure that the peanut brittle reaches the hard ball stage, and your peanut chikkis will come out perfectly brittle everytime.
Assemble the peanut chikki
Once the jaggery syrup reaches the hard ball stage (at 265° F), the color of the syrup will become darker, like dark amber color. Take it off the flame. Add the roasted peanuts and mix until all the peanuts are coated well with the syrup.
Work very quickly here, as the mixture will harden pretty fast. Spread the peanut mixture to a greased flat plate and cover it with parchment paper.
Roll the peanut chikki mixture to 1/4-inch thickness using a rolling pin. Lift the parchment paper and mark the chikkis with a sharp knife into squares. This way, the gajak will snap easily once cooled. Set it aside to cool completely.
Expert tips and Variations
Measure your ingredients — Timing is critical; therefore, keep all your ingredients measured and ready before you progress with this recipe.
Jaggery — Strain the jaggery if possible to remove the impurities.
Pan — A heavy-bottomed wide pan or kadhai would be an excellent choice while making Peanut chikki.
Raw taste — If the peanuts still have the raw taste, roast them longer on a low flame. Or else take a peanut between the thumb and the index finger and rub. If it has light golden color inside, it means it is correct.
Microwave — Instead of roasting the peanuts on the stove, you can also roast them by heating them in the microwave on high power for 3 to 4 minutes.
Sweetness — The ratio between jaggery and peanut is 1: 1, but you increase the jaggery amount from 1 ¼ cup to 1 cup of peanuts for more sweetness.
Jaggery syrup — The jaggery syrup should be stirred constantly at low heat to prevent burning so that it doesn’t overcook. If overcooked, it will burn, leave an unpleasant taste, and become stiff.
Extremely hot — The jaggery and peanut mixture will be exceedingly hot, so be careful while handling the mix.
Consistency — If the brittle becomes soft due to incorrect jaggery syrup consistency, nothing can be done to rectify it later.
Rolling the chikki — It is better not to roll the peanut jaggery mixture on a wooden board since there is a high chance for the mix to get stuck to it. The best option would be to use a steel plate or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Moreover, grease the surface and the rolling pin with ghee if possible. Instead of a rolling pin, you can also use the base of a steel cup.
Ghee — Add a teaspoon of ghee to the peanut gajak for a glossy finish.
Other alternatives — Instead of peanuts, you can substitute them with cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts. Or use a blend of nuts to create a healthy treat.
Sweetener — Instead of jaggery, you can use white or brown sugar. Jaggery, though, is the better option since it is unrefined.
Slice — Slice the peanut brittle while it is hot. Once it becomes cold, it will become challenging to slice, giving us irregular pieces.
Cardamom — The addition of cardamom, especially green cardamom, can increase the taste of the chikkis. If you prefer, you can add cinnamon, ginger powder, or nutmeg powder to the chikkis.
Let me know what you think!
If you’re looking for an unusual Lohri gift for your friends and family, then treat them with some homemade peanut chikki goodness! Sing and dance to the tunes of Sundar Mundariye hoye and spread the cheerness and positivity around.
Should you make this peanut chikki or gajak, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below.
And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
Similar festive Indian treats that you should try —
Peanut Chikki or gajak
- Add peanuts to a heavy-bottomed pan. Dry roast peanuts in a heavy-bottomed pan until light brown and toasty. Cook on low heat and slow-roast them for that perfect crunch and nutty flavor.
- Once cooked, remove the peanuts from heat and allow them to cool.
- Make sure that the outer cover of the peanut is completely removed before adding the jaggery syrup. When the peanuts are medium roasted, the skin will start coming off halftime. But then you need to roast them more since they have to become at least slightly golden color at the end.
- When comfortable to touch, start rubbing peanuts in between your hands, and its outer layer will begin to come off. Set it aside to cool. Grease a tray with ghee and set it aside.
- Combine water, cardamom powder, and jaggery in a bowl and bring it to a boil. Cook the jaggery syrup over medium-low heat, constantly stirring until the mixture boils.
- Once the jaggery syrup reaches the hardball stage (at 265° F), the color of the syrup will become darker, like dark amber color.
- Check the consistency – the gur syrup will look thick (almost like 2 string consistency), and when dipped in syrup, it will coat the back of your spoon. That shows your syrup is ready.
- Another alternative way to check the consistency is to spoon a drop of the jaggery syrup into the cold water.
- If it sinks to the bottom and solidifies immediately, you can be assured that you are on the right path and march forward. On the other hand, if it dissolves, it needs to be boiled further.
- When removed from the water, the jaggery will harden to a brittle consistency, and if pressed, it will snap. Take the syrup off the flame.
- Add the roasted peanuts and mix until all the peanuts are coated well with the syrup.
- Work very quickly here, as the mixture will harden pretty fast.
- Spread the peanut mixture to a greased flat plate and cover it with parchment paper.
- Roll the peanut chikki mixture to 1/4-inch thickness using a rolling pin. Lift the parchment paper and mark the chikkis with a sharp knife into squares.
- This way, the gajak will snap easily once cooled. Set it aside to cool completely.
- Cut and store the pieces in an airtight container. Good for 3-4 weeks.