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.
- Peanuts………………….1 ¼ Cups (without skin; don’t used roasted and salted)
- Jaggery…………………1 Cup
- Water…………………...1/2 Cup
- Salt a pinch
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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- Cut along the already made lines to divide the portions and let it cool down before serving. Store the leftovers in an airtight container.
- 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…