Creating a blog was out of the question for a long time for me, as measuring everything in the kitchen was like biting into an eggshell. I enjoy cooking and don’t want to waste even a slightest bit of enjoyment in that small world of mine. But little did I know that everything will change, when my husband came home with the Oscar nominated film ‘Julie and Julia’( a real life story) where Julie Powell (part played by Amy Adams) challenged herself to make all the 524 recipes from Julia Child's cook book ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and blogging all her experiences (The Julie/Julia Project). It was an inspiring movie. A few days later when we were discussing this casually with a friend of ours over tea…everything changed dramatically…..” How about you making at least half of it in one year? Not French but your own. 262 recipes that will inspire others and present it as a blog?” For a minute my mind traveled faster than light… With an experience as a helper in my mother in laws kitchen for 6 years followed by a three year everyday struggle to satisfy the palate of my foodie husband, if I cannot do it then why should I cook? But on the other side with an experience in English literature extending no more than expanding outline stories in English grammar class when I was 18 and two small kids that come in handy at times, will a commitment for the next one year work? Anyway my ‘cook's ego’ didn’t allow me to say no...

So my friends …here I am opening my recipe book, trying to perfect and present 262 recipes in the coming 365 days….A Challenge that will of course tastes good. Come.. Have a walk with me along my journey.. Cheering and inspiring….Forgiving and tolerating…Testing and tasting….for ‘A Tasty Challenge’

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Kappalandi/ Kadala Mittai (Indian Peanut Brittle with Jaggery)

Recipe No: 232
Weekends in College Hostel especially Saturdays used to be a blast in most of the ways… Waking up late, even though 5:30 a.m. is the wake up time as per the time table… talking during the morning study time, as the Warden and other Catholic inmates will be away attending the morning Holy Mass in the nearby convent…. thinking that there will be a lot of visitors (handsome brothers/ cousin brothers of fellow inmates?) that morning to comment on (!!)…hmm good old days… The only thing that destroys that beautiful morning will be the usual Saturday breakfast,  Chappathi and Green Peas Curry. 

Many of those days we sat in the corridor commenting about the visitors and wishing the next one will be ours… with the rejuvenating smell of Kappalandi Mittai from the nearby Kappalandi Mittai Factory. The moment that enticing smell hit our brains, we will start arguing about who will ask the Warden for permission to visit that factory for some of those delicious Kappalandi Mittai. (Well, we used to buy them individually if our pocket money is thick and will share the money and the Mittai if it is thin!!) After all those efforts, when that warm Kappalandi Mittai  hits our taste buds… the comments , the visiting cousin brothers and the dry Chappathi and Peas Curry will be miles away form the present...and  I had never tasted Kappalandi Mittai more fresh or tasty than that… And in front of all those memories that can never be replaced, but still fresh in my heart, I dedicate this post…

I should say it took a lot of Jaggery and Peanuts to get this correct. I remember, the first attempt was with Sugar which gave me the insight that the western Peanut brittle and our Kappalandi Mittai are not twins, but cousins. So on a visit to an Indian store, I read the ingredient list from one of the Kappalandi Mittai packets and confirmed that the sweetness is from Jaggery. Even after that confirmation I wasted a lot of Peanuts because of the Syrup consistency and the fact that the Mattai was not weighed down. So after all those efforts here is my precious recipe...
Ingredients                                               
  • Peanuts………………….1 ¼ Cups (without skin; don’t used roasted and salted)
  • Jaggery…………………1 Cup
  • Water…………………...1/2 Cup
  • Salt a pinch
Method of Preparation
To Prepare the Pans
  • Select two pans in such a way that one fits inside the other (Rectangular or square preferred, as it makes cutting easy). Line the big pan with parchment paper (for east removal). 
  • Apply a light coating of Ghee on the parchment paper and the underside of the small pan. (This is to weigh the Kappalandi Mittai mixture down.)
To make Kappalandi Mittai
  1. Roast the Peanuts on medium heat till toasted and slightly brown here and there. (This will take around 8-10 minutes.) Keep stirring throughout the process.
  2. Let it cool down and crush them very lightly in a food processor for 3-5 pulses or in a mortar and pestle . (This will separate the two lobes of the Peanuts and will crush some of them partially; but do take care not to over crush them.) Keep aside till ready to be used.
  3. In a deep pan on medium heat, melt Jaggery and Salt in ½ cup Water and strain two  times to get rid of the impurities.
  4. Pour it back into the pan and boil it, stirring, till it attains a soft crack stage/ 270˚F/ 132˚C. (Read notes for more information about the stage)
  5. Add the prepared Peanuts; stir as fast as possible; remove it to the parchment paper lined pan; spread it into 1 cm (or less if you prefer) thick; level the top and weigh it down with the smaller pan.
  6. Let it sit for a minute (Mittai will be almost set by this time); take the Mittai out of the pan; press it to make it even (or roll with a rolling pin); cut lightly to divide the portions (don't cut all the way through as it will be sticky while hot) and let it cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Cut along the already made lines to divide the portions and let it cool down before serving. Store the leftovers in an airtight container.
Notes:
  • The partially crushed Peanuts will bind everything together; so it is important to crush them slightly.
  • I used dark Jaggery and hence dark Kappalandi Mittai. The use of light  colored Jaggery will result in a lighter colored Kappalandi Mittai.
  • Peanuts tends to float in Jaggery resulting in uneven distribution(Jaggery on the bottom and Peanuts on the top) if you don’t weigh the Mittai down.
  • You have to cut the Mittai lightly before it completely cools down or it will become very hard to cut through the desired lines.
  • The stage of the Jaggery to add the Peanuts is very important in making Kappalandi Mittai. Most of you will be familiar with the one thread stage, which is the stage at which Sugar forms one thread when pressed between thump and the index figure. This is around 230˚F/ 110˚C. After that is the two thread and three thread stages where the sugar will form two and three threads respectively when  pressed between the thump and the index finger. After this will be a soft ball stage, when a drop of syrup put in cold water  becomes a soft ball which is pliable. This is followed by a hard ball stage, a drop of syrup when put in Water hardens very fast into a hard ball. This happens at 260˚F/ 127˚C. Around 45 seconds to 1 minute after the hard ball stage is the soft crack stage/ 270˚F/132˚C, a bit of syrup in cold Water will become a pliable non brittle thread when pulled (At this stage the bubbles formed will be very small). (I was unable to photograph this, as I had to work fast to make the Mittai; but I assure that it took around a minute after the hard ball stage on medium heat to attain this temperature)
  • Do stir the Jaggery syrup constantly after the one thread stage till it attains the consistency to avoid burning.
  • Any temperature below the soft crack stage will make the Kappalandi Mittai chewy and sticky; also the Mittai will not crack when you bite into it.
  • If you have a Candy Thermometer, do use it to get the temperature of the Jaggery syrup correct. If you are using one, remove it from the syrup before adding the Peanuts and don’t put the hot Candy Thermometer immediately in cold Water. Wait till it cools down.
  • If in case your Mittai is a bit on the chewy side, refrigeration will help a bit (yes, only a bit).
 


Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

8 comments:

Jaisy James said...

wow its come out perfectly yummy

Priya said...

Omg, feel like munching some kadala mittai,my anytime favourite...

Reshmi Mahesh said...

Perfect mittai...They are so yummy...

sojo said...

wow....looks delicious.... this is my favourite...its in my drafts for more than a month now but i made it with sugar...recipe got from vanitha!!!

Sensible Vegetarian said...

Love this kadala mittai. Looks so delicious.

Kalpana Sareesh said...

wow tats perfect ..nice demo of perfect jaggery consistency...

CakeArtGallery said...

oh my god you are great in cooking...mouthwatering.

minu antony said...

I will definitely try this

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