Sweet sesame tikkis and a wish for a very happy sankrant!

For a third year in a row I made the same distressed phone call to my mom yet again "but may be its a really tiny step in the recipe that you missed telling me last time! Why doesn't my til-gul ever turn out like yours?!?". You probably got the context right, after tries and tries of tilgul (til=sesame seeds, gul=jaggery/unrefined sugar, tilgul is a traditional Indian sweet made from sesame seeds and jaggery) somehow my tilgul just never comes out right (officially I have blamed it on the quality of jaggery available here btw :D)! My mom makes the best tilgul ever and I have taken her recipe, read and re-read it, even double-checked the instructions from Ruchira! (For all the non-Marathi folks out there, Ruchira is like a bible of Marathi cooking! I got my copy as a wedding gift from my grandmother who was sleeplessly worried of how I'll ever manage cooking an eatable dinner for my husband :D). Anyway, so I tried and tried but always the jaggery would make the tilgul either too soft or too hard! Now mind you it would taste yummy just the texture would suffer and my poor husband would always encourage me by saying "stomach knows only tasty" :)

So, this time when I made the same phone call last weekend my mom had her answer ready "Just skip gul, use sugar, that will surely work". Hmmm, tilgul without gul! Then she told me a recipe of a tilgul that I had very much liked as a kid and seeing as that one did not have jaggery, I decided that may be it wasn't the craziest of ideas to make tilgul with sugar! And what do you know, this was by far my best til-gul.. ever! In all fairness though it should be called sesame tikki or sesame snaps but hey, today is Sankranti and I have a til-sweet for you, thats all that counts, right?!

(Follow the read more link below for the rest of the recipe...)
Sankranti, celebrated on Jan.14th of each year traditionally marks the Sun's entrance to Capricorn zodiac. The day is celebrated by many Indian regional festivals like Lohri, Pongal and Uttarayan. (although I wonder why this day is different from winter solstice day.. anyone know why?) In Maharashtra we celebrate Makar Sankranti. It is traditional on this day to offer each other til-gul (til=sesame and gul=jaggery). Til symbolizes the bonds of togetherness while gul symbolizes sweetness in the relationships. Offering each other tilgul symbolizes fostering a very warm and caring relationship for the year ahead. As a kid me and my brother used to call it signing a bond to not fight for the rest of the year.. :D (that never worked!)

Anyway, without much further ado, here is a recipe of my sesame tikki/sesame snaps/tilgul. Oh and by the way, if anyone over in US has tried making tilgul wadis with store-bought jaggery, please I would love to know your secret to getting this right!

Source: from my mother
1/2C sesame seeds
3/4C white granulated sugar (I am guessing brown sugar would be even better here!)
1 cardamom pod
1/2tsp ghee (clarified butter)

  1. On low-medium hear roast the sesame seeds for 10-15mins until aromatic and until they start to change color. Keep stirring continuously making sure the seeds do not burn. Keep aside.
  2. While the sesame seeds are roasting prepare for the steps ahead. Apply ghee to a large stainless steel plate on which you will spread the hot tilgul mixture. Also grease a rolling pin and a knife for rolling the wadis and then cutting them.
  3. Heat a thick bottom pan on low heat. Add sugar and cardamom pods. Keep stirring continuously until the entire sugar melts. If after 5mins sugar has not started melting, increase the heat gradually. Keep stirring though so it does not burn.
  4. When the sugar is entirely melted add the roasted sesame seeds and mix well.
  5. Remove from heat. As fast as possible spread the sesame-sugar mixture onto the greased stainless steel plate. Using a rolling pin spread the mixture evenly as thin as possible.
  6. Using the greased knife cut small squares. This has to be done before the mixture cools entirely. Note: this is a bit time-sensitive, the part of spreading til-gul and cutting it has to be done fast while the mixture is still hot and before it hardens completely.
  7. Let the mixture cool completely.
  8. Using the knife remove the wadis and enjoy!
Till next time, happy makar sankrant (pongal, uttarayan or lohri whichever you celebrate!) to everyone!


Sonia said…
Happy Sankranti to you and yours! Tiil gool ghya, goad goad bola! :)

I was expecting your post today. Actually, I was reading your Parsnip soup. So lovely soup PJ. You have a very corrupted (read here creative!) mind.:D Hats to you gal!

You know I love Sesame tikkis and we calls it chikki. :) The stack of tikkis looks so good. Gorgeous pics!
Have a good one! :)
Pari Vasisht said…
Til gul (sorry sakhar in ur case)kha ani goda goda bola.
Vadi chhaan diste ahe.BTW I think we share the same name.
Sunitha said…
Happy Sankranti to you. Nice recipe and a beautiful picture to boot
Sushma Mallya said…
Beautiful click PJ...and happy sankranthi..
Preeti Kashyap said…
Lovely pic and recipe! Should try them sometime.
amita said…
Sankrantichya shubheccha. Til-gul ghya aani god-god bola!
Cham said…
Happy Sankranthi! The chikki is made beautifully!
SE said…
these look wonderful and beautiful !!! Happy Sankranti !!
Priya Suresh said…
Happy Sankranti to u & ur family PJ..such a beautiful and delicious tikkis...Looks awesome..
Namitha said…
Happy Sankranti to you too PJ !!!Beautiful tikkis and an awesome click !! I do agrre on that bit about jaggery..I hate the jaggery that we get here. When we went to India, I got a big pack of it and it's almost over now...
indosungod said…
Happy Sankranti! dear PJ.
Tilgul without the gul looks beautiful so we will forgive the absence of gul this once.
PJ said…
Hi Sonia, happy sankranti to you too! Til-gul ghya aani goad-goad bola :) You are too sweet, girl! Just yesterday I visited your new web-site, its looking soooo good! Can't wait for your first new recipe in your new home :)

Pari, tulapan Sankrantichya shubheccha! Til-gul ghya, goad-goad bola. I know, we do share the same name! funny that we should both also opt to use another pen-name. I opted because its just so difficult for people around here to pronounce it :)

Nostalgia, thanks! Happy sankranti to you and your near-n-dear ones too :)

Sushma, thanks! Happy sankranti to you and your family too!
PJ said…
Preeti, thanks! I hope you try this chikki sometime, its really easy and how can we go wrong with sugar and sesame, right! Happy sankranti!

Amita, tulapan sankrantichya shubheccha! Til-gul ghya aani goad-goad bola.. though I can't really believe you will ever talk anything other than goad-goad :D

Cham, thanks and wishing you a very happy sankranti too! I am so glad you liked these sesame snaps :)

SE, thanks! Happy sankranti to you and your near-n-dear ones too :)
PJ said…
Priya, thanks! Happy sankranti to you and your near-n-dear ones too! I am so glad you liked this til-gul :)

Gulmohar, okay, now I don't feel that bad now that I know I am not the only one who messes up with jaggery from indian stores :) I just have had so many misfortunes working with the jaggery bought here that I am now to the point of not trying jaggery recipes anymore! Bringing some from India sounds like a very good idea though.. Happy sankranti to you too, dear :)

indo, thanks! Happy sankranti to you too! Lets just all enjoy this tikki and think in our mind that its true 'tilgul' :)
Rahin said…
happy Sankranti PJ, tikkis look perfect, just like the ones you get in store, v nice
Preety said…
happy sankrati..

I was busy and didn't get the time to make this sweet but after seeing your tempting pics i feel like having it right now:)
Anu said…
First time to your blog.. you have got very nice blog...
Beautiful tikkis and an awesome click... Perfect.. Do visit my space when you get free time.

PJ said…
Hi Rahin, happy sankranthi to you too! Thanks! I am so glad you liked the sesame tikkis :)

Preety, thanks! They were such a snap to make.. didn't take much time at-all.. I much prefer this version now over dealing with the jaggery :)

Anu, welcome to my blog! A great day to visit it too.. happy sakranti/pongal. I am so glad you enjoyed this space.
Deepa G Joshi said…
hey PJ, nice clicks..too good..Happy makar sankranti..
Winnie said…
Lovely photo PJ and I am intrigued by your sesame treats!
Unknown said…
Sesame Tikki looks superb, beautifully presented.
Rajani said…
tilgul ghya aani god god bola, lovely post :)
PJ said…
Hi Deepa, thanks! I am so glad you liked the tilgul and the snap :)

Winnie, thanks! They were great and very easy to make.. how can I ever go wrong with sugar and sesame candy :D

A2Z vegetarian cooking, thanks! I am so glad you liked these!

Rajani, thanks! I am so glad you liked these. A very happy sankranti to you too.. til-gul ghya aani goad-goad bola :)
Nithya said…
Wow.. this looks yummy and perfect :)

I am here for the first time and should say you have a brilliant blog and your photography is phenomenal. Lovely clicks and writeups. Happy to be here and would surely visit frequently from now on. :) Keep it going buddy.

You are most welcome to my blogs too. Do peep in sometime.

SE said…
Hey do pick up award from my blog !
Rachana said…
This surely looks yummy...A great Photo:)

This is my first time here and am happy to be here, will be visiting you often:)

Cheers and Do visit,
Parita said…
Hey PJ sesame chikkis look mmmmmmm fantastic!! Pics are lovely!
Happy Makar sankranti and pongal wishes!
PJ said…
Hi Nithya, thanks so much for your sweet and encouraging words! I am so glad you enjoyed this space and welcome to my blog!

SE, thanks so much for sharing the creative blogger award with me! I'll be sure to acknowledge it in the next post!

Rachana, welcome to my blog! thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words! I am very glad you liked my recipes and clicks.

Parita, thanks! Happy sankranti/pongal to you and your near-n-dear ones as well :)
pierre said…
your mum is like big chefs they don't give their secrets like this !!!!
cheers from Paris ! Pierre
PJ said…
Pierre, I think you are right! lol. I should tell my Mom this :) Thanks for stopping by.
Lovely blog u have here with fantastic recipes ....
Radhika said…
Happy Sankranti! The sesame tikkis look gorgeous!
Hayley said…
Hi P J

first time here..you have such a nice site and recipes too...tikkis look awesome...i'll be here again

please do visit me


PJ said…
VanillaStrawberrySpringfields, welcome to my blog! Thanks so much for your kind words. I am so glad liked my blog.

Radhika, thanks and a very happy makar sankranti to you too!

Jagruti, welcome to my blog! I am so glad you liked the tilgul and the rest of the recipes!
Wow thats wonderful awesome click.. The sesame tikki, I love it and cute stack...
Hayley said…
Hi P j

thanks for visiying my blog..glad that you liked it..c u sometimes

PJ said…
Pavithra, thanks! I am so glad you liked this dish :)

Jagruti, thanks for stopping by again. You do have a beautiful space there :)
Urmi said…
Wish you a Happy Sankranti.
Sesame tikkis looks wonderful.
Sayantani said…
those are my favourites PJ. love to munch on them. the clicks are great too.
between there is an award awaiting your presence at my blog please check and collect.
Spice said…
Happy sankrant dear...i know it's late, tilgil looks perfect.... about gur I too had a bad experience while making winter sweets yesterday & as usual blamed gur with full heart & I know it's the gur here, doesn't bind the sweets as it should be doing.. but last time got such a nice quality one so this time got same brand but didn't work, was so upset, but now I have a proof that it's gur only & not me...
PJ said…
Babli, thanks and welcome to my blog! I am so glad you liked the sesame tikkis :)

Sayantani, wow, thanks! I am off to visit your blog now. I am so glad you liked the sesame snaps.. yes, I munched on them all throughout last week :)

Spice, yeah, I so much know what you mean! The gur quality here is so unpredictable.. and you say it exactly that it does not hold the sweets together like it does in India! I think I am going to stick with these sesame-sugar 'tilgul' from now on.. like its predictability :)
Hi PJ. These look great, I'll have to try your recipe.
retro sweets said…
hi .look wonderful and beautiful. Happy Sankranti !!