Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Cashew Sweet

Lovely Sam of Beck & Posh chose vegan theme for this month’s IMBB. I never knew that vegans are called by these names or they feel that way about themselves here in US until I read her introductory post to this event. With much improved knowledge of stereotypes, here is my vegan contribution, ‘cashew sweet’: a traditional snack, my mother used to prepare and give us after school, when we were kids. The only thing I did differently because of vegan theme is I applied peanut oil to the settling pan instead of ghee.
The following recipe is simple, easy and adaptable to other types of nuts particularly peanuts.

Cashew Sweet:

2 cups of lightly toasted cashews
2 cups of powdered jaggery
1 cup of water
A greased tray to pour the cooked cashew mixture

Cashews and Jaggery

In a large sturdy pan, combine jaggery and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until jaggery dissolves into water. Bring this to a boil. You see lot of bubbling and raising to the surface action going on by now. Cashew Sweet Cooling in a pan Stir, stir and stir until the jaggery syrup reaches soft- crack stage meaning when you drop a bit of this syrup into cold water, it will solidify into threads.

When jaggery syrup reaches this consistency, immediately & quickly add cashews, and stir constantly for few minutes. Turn off the heat and pour this mixture onto a greased pan. When it is still hot, make lines with a knife and leave it to cool. When cooled, break along the lines to make squares. Store them in an airtight container.

Cashew Sweet, Kaju Tikki,  Cashew Brittle, Jeedi Pappu Paakam

These Cashew brittles or tikkis are natural-food alternatives to the very fatty and sugary standard editions, a sublime and perfect pairing of nature’s goodness and man’s intelligence (or is it sweet tooth). The flavor is completely different and the jaggery really sings out. Go on.. try them.

Some tips:

1. Only a small quantity of water is sufficient while making the syrup. One cup of water is enough for upto 3 cups of jaggery powder.

2. Time it takes to make this sweet is maximum 30 minutes. Prepare to spend all this time infront of the stove, no multitasking.

3. And the most important thing is gauging the jaggery syrup readiness. When you are making this sweet, or any kind of brittle for that matter, always keep a cup of cool water by the stove side. You can check the readiness by drizzling a few drops of syrup into the cool water. If it forms strings that you can easily prod into a ball, it’s at the soft-crack stage. This is where you should add nuts to the syrup. As soon as you add the nuts to the syrup, the mixture starts to solidfy or reaches the hard-crack stage very fast, within a couple of minutes. You made a perfect brittle.
If the syrup dissolves and disintegrates in the water, the syrup is not cooked enough yet. If it tightly balls up and sinks to the bottom or if syrups color turns from gold to black, then you have overcooked it.
This website very clearly demonstrates the various stages of sugar syrup, check it out if you want to know more about candy making. It also has video demonstration of various sugar stages (applies to Jaggery syrup too) both in real player and quick time, cool!

4. Finally, even after following all these steps, if it doesn’t come out as brittle as it should be, then blame it on weather and high humidity. What I do in those cases is, keep the greased tray with cashew mixture in the freezer for atleast one hour. I don’t know how, but the freezer turns the sorry mess from saggy to solid brittle like and they can be easily breaked along the lines made earlier. This freezer version tastes ok but they will test your dental health. :)-

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Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Cashews,Indian Sweets 101,Jaggery,Mitai (Friday September 30, 2005 at 9:07 am- permalink)
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