The word Makar Sankrant means different things for different people. For some it signifies the end of winter and the onset of summer. For some it is the harvest festival in most parts of the country. For many it means spending hours on the terrace enjoying Undhiyu and Chikki. For most people from Gujarat it means WAR!!
Sankrant is a war where the battlefield is the sky, the weapon is kites and glass rubbed string called Manja and the opponent is probably your neighbor or cousin!! The winner of the war is the person who is able to cut the opponent's kite by the power of his alertness, speed, agility and sharpness of the Manja. While flying kites, kids and adults enjoy Chikki or brittles made from Sesame, Peanuts, Puffed Rice or Dry-fruits mixed with sugar or jaggery. Here is the recipe for puffed rice brittles with jaggery.
Puffed Rice 3 cups
Jaggery 1 1/2 cup
Clarified Butter/ Ghee 1 tbsp
In a large skillet, add the puffed rice and dry roast on low flame till they are crunchy. Do not keep them on high flame else the puffed rice will burn. Alternatively, lay the puffed rice in a baking dish. Preheated oven at 300 F/ 150 C and then switch it off once hot. Let the puffed rice be there for 10-12 minutes till they are crunchy.
In a large pan heat ghee. Once the ghee melts, add jaggery. Let the jaggery melt slowly on medium flame. Do not keep the flame very high else it will burn. The jaggery will melt slowly and convert to a rich yellow liquid. This is the step that requires maximum patience in the process! While the jaggery is melting, prepare a baking dish or likewise to set the chikki. The simplest way would be to tape down a piece of Aluminum Foil on the kitchen counter and grease with little ghee. This eliminates the cleaning process as the foil can be discarded!! Also line a rolling pin with foil and grease it.
Now that the jaggery has melted, slowly add the puffed rice and mix well. Do it quickly as the brittle will start setting. This is the bit that needs to be done quickly. Turn down the heat and mix till all the puffed rice is coated with molten jaggery. Transfer the mass to the greased foil and roll out with the pin. The thickness should be abut 1/2 inch or so. Once done, use a pizza cutter or sharp knife and make markings to cut the brittle into squares, rectangles or diamonds.