“How many harvest festivals do Indians celebrate?” was the smart-aleck Anya question this past weekend.
Reason- I had made Til ki Patti (Sesame seed Brittle) at home; and was forcing her to try a bite under the pretext that it was a special dessert made for Harvest celebration as marked by Makar Sankranti.
My first reaction was annoyance. Her tone really had that early-teen disdain for everything “parent”. One deep breath later, I figured that if she asked that question; she probably remembers the other Harvest Holidays and stories that I have told her and Baby P. This is good, in fact- better than good. After all, isn’t the goal to make them aware of our special traditions and celebrations?
So I ventured into my convoluted, Wikipedia-verified version(s) of why we celebrate Sankranti. Anya rolled her eyes and went back to doing whatever she was doing, but remained close and kept her earphones out of her ears. A big enough achievement, under the circumstances. Baby P hung on to every word, asked tons of questions and chattered on while I tried to google apt responses for her. Somehow, she made me wish that I could hold on to her years a little longer….having a teenager on hand is surely a trial!
Til Ki Patti
Sesame Seed Brittle
What you need:
½ Cup White sesame seeds (Til)
½ Cup Assorted nuts (I had a mix of cashew, almond and melon and flax seeds)
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1Tbsp unsalted Butter
A pinch of salt (OPtional)
A pinch of baking soda
How I made it:
- In a non-stick pan, dry roast the sesame seeds on lo heat slightly, just 2-3 min- till they begin to turn brown.
- Next, roast the flax and melon seeds lightly and mix them in with sesame seeds.
- In the same pan, dry roast the remaining nuts individually, as the times may vary to get them toasted.
- Cool slightly, and then coarsely crush the nuts. I used my coffee grinder to give a quick spin.
- Line a cookie sheet with Parchment paper and grease it.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt sugar and butter together. I kept mine for 30sec intervals, with stirring in between. Took me a total of 2.5min to get the sugar melted. Now you have to be quick.
- Add the pinch of salt and honey and mix.
- Add the pinch of baking soda. As you stir, sugar will start frothing and rising.
- Now quickly add the roasted seed and nuts.
- Quickly spread the mix on the parchment paper. Put another sheet of paper on top, and using a rolling pin, spread it thin. Score it to make easier to cut; then let it cool.
My two cents: This is my second time making patti at home. The first time, I didn’t add salt or baking soda. That version was sweeter and crunchier. Adding the soda makes this brittle chewier, and my family and I like the sweet and salty as much as the sweet version. This measurement gave me one sheet of brittle approximately 5x8 inches in size.
Eating gur (jiggery) and til (sesame) is a tradition on Sankranti. Usually, I just buy the brittle from Indian stores, or make the til-ke-laddu. This brittle was borne out of necessity, as a trip to the Indian store wasn’t possible. Hence, the substitution with Brown sugar. You can use gur instead, and make the traditional version just as easily as this one.
The whole process took me 10min- so I definitely recommend using the microwave. Also reduces your chances of burning the sugar!
Happy New Year!