Tag Archives: healthy sweets

My love for nutty jaggery Brittles – 2. Kadalai Mittai/Peanut Brittles 3. Dry Fruit Brittles


Smitten by the brittle bug, I continue my jaggery journey with peanuts and dry fruits. If anyone tells you – Kadalai Mittai and Ellu Mittai are one of his or her favourite snacks, waste no time in guessing their age. They must surely be in their late thirties or beyond…. Rarely early thirties…. More certainly, they grew up in a traditional environment with no space for the likes of popular fast food Giants.

Before our children look at us as bizarre creatures from an alien world – who say no to burgers or croissants for snacks, it’s high time we train them to accept the goodness of healthy traditional stuff. If you are already an alien, waste no time. Start immediately. Make them feel comfortable with their snack boxes with no junk. Now, before defining what is junk to our children, I think WE should understand JUNK.

One can’t actually make out what is junk and what is not. Correct me if am wrong…….

Junk can just be that which is craft fully made, temptingly displayed, yet made with UNHEALTHY ingredients.

A good snack or food can be equally craft fully made, temptingly displayed, yet not accepted as it is what your mother served you at home.

This acceptance of home made or even store bought traditional foods, would develop only if we change as a community of parents. Peer pressure seems to be the most common and simple reason for falling into certain traps… especially into the trap laid by fast food Giants . Peer pressure contributes to what children prefer packing to school for snacks and lunch.

With no more thoughts to elaborate, let us start making Kadalai Mittai (peanut brittles) and dry fruit brittle… Anytime healthier than snacks that constitute white flour, white sugar white butter. Brittles are called Chikkies in the northern part of India.

I didn’t want to do separate posts for both brittles… The method being the same and just alteration of nuts, this is a post with dual recipes.

Kadalai Mittai (Peanut Brittles)

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Ingredients

  • kadalai/peanuts – 2 cups
  • vellam/jaggery – 1 1/2 cups
  • water – 1/2 cup
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 2 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder- 2 tsp

Dry fruit Mittai (Dry fruit brittles)

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Ingredients

  • combination of almonds, walnuts, cashewnuts, peanuts (one may also include pecan nuts, hazelnuts) – coarsely chopped – 2 cups
  • vellam/jaggery – 1 1/2 cups
  • water – 1/2 cup
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 2 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder- 2 tsp

Method of Preparation

  1. Dry roast peanuts and keep aside / Coarsely chop mixed nuts, dry roast them and keep aside.
  2. The procedure is the same for any brittle…
  3. Grease a flat tray
  4. Heat up jaggery and water until jaggery dissolves
  5. Strain the liquid
  6. Boil the jaggery water along with cardamom and dry ginger powder until it reaches hard ball consistency – place a bowl with water and drop the syrup into it. If the syrup doesn’t melt and turns to a harder ball, that’s right for making brittles
  7. Switch off stove, mix the roasted peanuts and spread on greased tray.
  8. Make slices while hot with a greased sharp knife
  9. Break the pieces when cold.
  10. Store in air tight containers.

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Note:

  1. If one is unable to cut perfect bars, just break the brittles into random pieces… The crispy bars are what you want.
  2. If one hasn’t got the right consistency, if the brittles are chewy…no worries they are equally good while sticky
  3. If they turned out harder…. they taste like toffees, first suck the jaggery juice and then eat the peanuts.

Come along, Life is all about positivity.

The Good Fat Black Ball

Whatever the title makes you comprehend, I am here to clarify. 

Nowadays we hear people say – ’40 is the new 20′. Times are changing and we seem to ‘age’ slower with advanced medical facilities, anti-aging feel-good slogans and social media messages.  In contrast, children less than 15 are falling prey to life style diseases, which used to be post-middle age illnesses.

The classification as middle age illness or old age disease doesn’t hold good anymore. Anyone gets it anytime. While 40 seems to look like the new 20…. is 20 the new 40?? Kind of role reversal here? The reasons for this contrast may be varied. But, as a food blogger and believer in providing healthy food to the family, my focus is on a few factors- primary being  ‘Choice of Foods and Ingredients’.

We all seem to be living in ‘DANGER ZONE’ amidst junk food outlets and super markets  with evil jaws inviting us into the harsh and tragic world of dangerous health hazards.  Making better choices is something written and preached about for a long time. It is not enough if we just understood better choices – but its high time  ‘making right choices’ an important part of our life style.

With ‘making right choices’ comes the most important ingredient of our culinary indulgences – ‘FAT’. Everyone is talking about Good Fat and Bad Fat – understanding FAT has become an essential element in averting several health related disasters.

While our diet needs to be balanced with all necessary components, why say NO to Fats? 

A few of the noticeable consequences of ‘Say No to Fats’ theory, according to me are-

  • Margarine replaced Butter
  • Refined oils that boast to protect your heart replaced Cold pressed Oils 
  • Low fat fruit yoghurts (the added sugar went unnoticed) replaced Plain Natural home made Yoghurt 
  • Canned/bottled Fresh juices most of which hide the added sugar replaced Fresh fruits
  • Diet drinks with added Aspartame and Aerated drinks replaced freshly squeezed juices
  • Brown bread in varied Avatars (whole meal, multi grain etc. ) with very little reduction of white flour replaced white bread which itself substituted indigenous grains decades ago

These are only a few to be named… the list is longer.

Unknowingly, we as a whole generation have fallen prey to many misconceptions and unclear theories. While I am neither a dietician nor a physician to guide my readers, I only know for sure that Not all Fats are Bad. It is quintessesntial to understand the differences between Good Fat and Bad Fat. 

I am not attempting to write a post of Good Fats and Bad Fats… internet is bloated up with information on this. Please read those carefully. Nor am I trying to justify indulging in sweets. This is a humble post to encourage using better ingredients for indulgence too.

Now, understanding Good Fats and Bad Fats would let us make Right Choices. Making Right Choices is the Core.  This by itself would bring in a huge Positive Life Style Change.

As sweets/desserts are major contributors to Fat, I chose to introduce this Urundai/Sweet Ball with better choice of ingredients.

When it comes to desserts, I have realised, traditional sweets of any culture with the choicest of unrefined ingredients, eaten in moderation cannot be hazardous.  If your physician has adviced you to stop any kinds of sugar, then this recipe is not for you, but the post is for everyone aiming at a healthy life style.

So, for the benefit of all sweet toothed members of the household, in consideration of the FAT intake of my family, I say NO to these –

  • white sugar
  • white flour
  • margarine

and replace with unrefined cane sugar, jaggery, mollases or palm sugar;  substitute white flour with milled wheat flour and use clarified butter, which is medicinal instead of margarine.

I cut down my Bad Fats  and  include Good Fats such as nuts and oily seeds. These are simple changes made to bring out different nutritious combinations. 

Atlast, I have arrived at the reason for naming the Sweet Ball that I made for Deepavali. The GOOD FAT BLACK BALL has ingredients with Poly unsaturated Fats – Sesame seeds and Flax Seeds – which are Good Fats. White sugar has been replaced with unrefined cane sugar.  Very little clarified butter has been used for binding them into urundai. Cardamom powder for flavour and dry ginger powder for digestion. 

Benefits of the ingredients

Aalli Vidhai/Flax Seeds

Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s. Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-flaxseed#1

Ellu/Sesame Seeds

Not only are sesame seeds an excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber. In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84

Naattu Sarkkarai/ unrefined cane sugar/powdered jaggery

It activates the digestive enzymes in our body, thus helps in proper digestion of food.  It acts as a detox, as it helps cleanse the liver by flushing out nasty toxins from the body. Jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals like zinc and selenium, which help prevent free-radicals (responsible for early ageing). It helps boost resistance against infections, hence building stronger immunity.  
www.indiatoday.in/benefits-of-eating-jaggery


This is certainly a guilt free sweet. Please have in moderation.

THE GOOD FAT BLACK BALL

Ingredients (makes 22-25 urundais)

  • ellu/sesame seeds – 100 gms – 1 cup
  • aalli vidhai/flax seeds – 100 gms – 1cup
  • naattu sarkkarai/unrefined cane sugar – 50 gms
  • nei/clarified butter – 2 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • chukka podi/dry ginger powder –  1 tsp

Method of Preparation

  1. Dry roast sesame seeds and flax seeds separately till crispy

2. Cool both and blend well  with cane sugar, cardamom and dry ginger powder into a fine powder

3. Transfer into a bowl

4. The oil in both the seeds would make the powder greasy. That is why, very little clarified butter is used to bind

5. Heat clarified butter and pour inside the blended powder

6. Make medium sized balls 

7. Store in air tight container. It lasted well for over two weeks.

8. I preferred using black sesame seeds, but white sesame was available at home. Use as per preference.