Makar Sankranti is the day when, according to Hindu astronomy, the sun enters the rashi (zodiac) of Makara (Capricorn). This happens in the English month of January, on the 14th to be exact, when the sun passes through the winter solstice, from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. Makar Sankranti is considered very auspicious as it signifies a new beginning. It is also known as Uttarayan. In the coastal regions, it is a harvest festival.
To celebrate Makar Sankranti, it is a ritual to make and distribute Til-gul (sesame seed and jaggery) Barfi which signifies the feelings of brotherhood and harmony. Not to offend anyone but I generally don’t follow (read believe) any of such rituals which are being followed but as a foodie, I love to try out anything new. So last year around the same time, I tried my mother-in-law’s recipe (with the little help of husband) to make Tilgul Barfi and to my utter surprise, I simply loved it. And I fell in love with the recipe because it is so simple. Please note that the texture of the Barfi is not soft, it is more like Chikki.
- Sesame Seeds or Til (white) – 300gms
- Jaggery (gur), grated – 300gms
- Ghee – 3 1/2tablespoons
- Cashewnuts, roughly chopped – 10/15
- Almonds, roughly chopped – 10/15
- Raisins – 10/15
- Pistachio, roughly chopped – 10/15
- Green cardamom powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
- Roast the Sesame Seeds (til) in a non-stick pan on a medium heat until they are lightly brown and crispy.
- Remove Sesame Seeds from the heat and mix in cashewnuts, almonds, raisins, pistachio, salt and green cardamom powder. Mix them uniformly.
- Prepare a flat plate by greasing it with half teaspoon melted ghee. Keep aside for later.
- Heat 3 tablespoons ghee in a deep non-stick pan. Add Jaggery and mix well until it is melted completely.
- Put the heat to medium and keep stirring the melted jaggery. To check if it ready for barfi, take cold water in a bowl and drop a few drops of melted jaggery in the water. It should solidify and when bitten it should be crunchy, not sticky. Keep stirring continuously until you have reached this stage, not letting the jaggery burn or catch the bottom of the pan.
- Take the melted jaggery off the heat and add the sesame-dry fruits mixture to it. Combine the mixture, please note the addition of sesame seed mixture brings the temperature of the melted jaggery very fast so you have to work very quickly in combining the dry ingredients into the melted jaggery.
- Immediately, empty the mixture onto the greased plate and working fast flatten the mixture onto the plate using the back of a flat bottom bowl. Please note that mixture should be flattened out into a roughly uniform thickness.
- Once done, while the flattened mixture is still warm, use a pizza cutter or a knife to mark it into any shapes of your liking so that they can be easily broken into Barfis when the mixture is cool and hardened. Please refer the above picture for the square shapes I cut.
- Leave the mixture for at least a couple hours to let the Barfis solidify.
- Break the Barfi into the shapes you laid out earlier.
Wish you all a very Happy Sankranti 🙂 🙂