The food thread

Made chikki today.
Peanuts in melted jaggery, which is reduced sugar cane juice.


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I have relatives and friends in Hyderabad, 1000 km or so away, and I get messages and calls asking for salty peanuts, they are not easily available there.

The first time they saw them, it was like 'Huh? What is so great?'
They learned after eating!

Chikki about 500 grams by 1.5 people (7 year old and grandfather) in 4 days flat?
One of the peanut roasters here makes it in pure North Indian style, with caramelized also has ended up in Virginia and Calgary. Highly appreciated.
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The raw nuts can be stored in dry conditions for up to a year, in ventilated boxes ( with holes), or woven fabric bags.
Roast as needed.
The microwave method was developed by my sister, she lives abroad, and what she had got finished, so she obtained African and Chinese peanuts, did some trials.
Says African nuts are stronger in flavor compared to Chinese, but both are weak in front of Gujarat peanuts.
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That would get pedantic, the fat content in beef and goat is very different...
And the USA has an average meat consumption, per capita, of more than 100 kilos per person annually.
India is at 3.6 kilos, much lower.
So the quantity of fat, proteins, and preservatives of meat origin will be quite different in the diet of people from both countries.
I was merely pointing out that you were trying to make out peanuts coated in sugar were 'healthy'. If you'd just said 'delicious' I'd have had nothing to argue with you on. And you quoted a raw statistic of meat/population not taking into account the high percentage of vegetarians in India.
You somewhat over-reacted there with some superb man-splaining.
Anything in excess is unhealthy...even your favorite food.

Chikki in moderation is good, it is distributed in schools here, and the government clinics at the primary health centers give it out to pregnant ladies, good source of instant energy, with protein and fat as well.
It also has a lot of iron and is overall more familiar and balanced compared to say a chocolate based energy bar.

The mid day meal scheme in rural government schools was found to be a main reason for high attendance, it is a big food source for poor children. Eggs and chikki are big attractions. Now urban centers are also being added to the mid day meal scheme.

The Indian population is 70% meat eaters, but the frequency and quantity of meat consumption is much less than that in the USA.
Fish is a staple in the coastal states, and also a lot of ladies are vegetarian, though the men eat meat regularly.

The average Indian has 4 non vegetarian meals a week, out of 14 possible lunch and dinner meals, eggs for breakfast happen about once a week. So 5/21...not as frequent as in the West, but okay.

I agree, sometimes long explanations can get boring.

Bill, your wife is of India origin, so you are somewhat familiar with our conditions, not everybody is familiar.

And 70% of ladies here of child bearing age are anemic, so the chikki distributed to pregnant ladies here has vitamins added to it, and iron as well. It helps a lot for malnourished ladies.
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The fun part in sending chikki was that it got finished so fast, because people found well made crisp chikki so tasty.

It is about $2.50 a kilo here, not particularly expensive at artisanal shops.
Really expensive dry fruit content can make it go to about $50 a kilo. Sometimes much more...
Being thanked by small kids who loved it has its own enjoyment.

That said, one of my friends, lives in Virginia, always takes them back when he comes to India, he says the American nuts are tasteless, they are bland it seems.
So the nuts themselves need to be of the right quality.
The South Indian nuts are smaller, with a light coffee colored inside. They have a fried sort of taste when roasted.
And the North Indian nuts are bland, though they look like the nuts in my photo, ....

Aw God... the double entendres here are simply too fabulous to pass.

American NUTS are BIGGER, of the HIGHEST QUALITY... it's as simple as that!

I might have to ask my wife if American nuts are tasteless, I wouldn't know.
Made chikki today.
Here it is known as peanut brittle. It is not hard to make but one must be careful. We usually start with a combination of granulated sugars, caramelize and right at the end before you pour it over the nuts, you add a small amount of baking soda and stir vigorously. This adds a large amount of small bubbles, giving the brittle its distinctive texture. Much easier on the teeth when biting. Is this something you do in India as well?
The microwave method was developed by my sister,
Perhaps. It has been done here since the eighties when we all experimented with the new toy on our counters.
Peanuts good. Eggs in their shell bad.
a raw statistic of meat/population
Yes, reading the fine print, that list is not an accurate example of individual consumption.
you were trying to make out peanuts coated in sugar were 'healthy'
Healthy for you mind, healthy for your mouth. Hey, two outta three ain't bad.
Being thanked by small kids who loved it has its own enjoyment.
Giving to others what has come from your own hands is one of life's greatest rewards.
The chikki made here is usually made by melting 'gud' (jaggery, reduced cane juice), and many commercial chikki makers add corn syrup, sugar and other stuff, partly because of cost, and partly due to gloss, it looks shiny compared to jaggery. Also makes it crisp.
Baking soda is not something used here, to my knowledge, it has a distinctive taste.
The gud is melted, heated to the right temperature, at which point it changes color, and the solids added (peanuts, sesame, shredded coconuts, fennel seeds, puffed rice, dry fruits are all popular), mixed into the mass, then the whole thing is taken out and spread on to a greased flat surface (I have used baking paper at times), and allowed to cool down, fine cuts to make it break off are made with a knife or similar if needed.
I find sugar needs a faster response, it can caramelze too fast if the heat is too much! And you may be adding water, which is not done here.
It then goes to packing or storage.
The test, as it were, of good chikki is that it be crisp, and made of pure gud, getting it right is the mark of good preparation.
Commercial makers also add preservatives for long shelf life, another thing I try to avoid.

Roasted peanuts have a taste that comes from even heating, baking, frying and pan roasting do not achieve the same result.
The earth / sand / stone powder method could be described as fluidized bed heat treatment in metallurgical terms...
So the microwave comes closest, and it is a common kitchen item as far as equipment is concerned.. Also, good for small batches, so why not?
I forgot, commercial chikki contains added oil, which can make the product easy to process, but spoil the taste.
Palm oil, and trans fats are common, I personally try to avoid those.

There is a famous 'Lonavala glucose chikki' in India, started from the town of Lonavala (between Bombay and Poona), which contains a high amount of corn syrup, which is called liquid glucose here.
Some North Indian style chikki is made from raw sugar powder (before crystallization), it is a little translucent.
The tiny amount of baking sofa is used to add bubbles to the caramel and make it easier to snap off pieces of the finished brittle. You must add it and whisk at a vigorously in order to incorporate it. The amount is too small to ever taste it. The nuts are spread on a pan lined with parchment paper and the caramel is pour over and around. There is no stirring. It sets how you pour it so getting the nut to caramel ratio is important.
In Gujarat, raw shelled peanuts are sold by weight in grocery shops. Most of India, I suppose....

They are added raw to dal (lentils), and fried when used in chiwda (savories) and poha (flattened rice snack).
Adding raw peanuts to dal when cooking makes them soft, frying makes them crisp. Different texture than roasted.

There is a company called 'Jabsons' in Bharuch, about 70 km. south of my city.
They are one of many processors, and a look at the variety may be informative.Many flavors, including BBQ.
Their website exists, and works, and will give you some idea of the variety sold here, no ties to them.

There also makers in different scales of coated peanuts, roasted peanuts coated with savory dough, then fried, very spicy at times.

My favorite local processor has about 24 flavors, including strawberry, usually achieved artificially for the sweet ones, best avoided...the spicy ones are made by him without artificial additives. $4 a kilo and upwards.
One of the reasons I go to him, charges a little more, but good stuff.

Also, look at 'gajjak', 'revdi' and 'til patti', all different winter snacks, sold in large quantities in North India, where winter is more chill compared to South India.
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You could add boiled or steamed peanuts to steamed corn, finely chopped onions, finely chopped tomatoes, a little salt, touch of lemon juice, toss it with herbs for a nice light snack.
Or as a garnish in other salads, though I prefer crunchier fried or roasted peanuts in those.
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There are also Vietnamese snack peanuts which are either boiled or steamed. Crazy Vietnamese. :)
Huh, and here i thought it was just us ”crazy” southerners…….in October you can’t hardly get a mile on the odometer without passing a roadside boiled peanut stand. I love them spicy cajun style….eat the shell and all if they’re cooked right. :cool: