Sesame seeds/Til/Ellu comes in white and black. While googling found it comes in a tan color too,but that is not popular. Anyways, I am used to white and black only. In my house, I have seen more of black than the white. Ellu has religious significance too for Hindus. On most of the poojas, laddus or other sweets made of ellu and jaggery is offered as Neivadyam.
Amma always makes ellu urundai (sesame balls). For a change instead of making balls, I tried making chikkis of it. Either black or white can be used. I had some black sesame seeds left after being purchased for a pooja. Using black makes the cleaning process a bit messy.
Some nutrient info on Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are a very good source of copper and a good source of magnesium and calcium. Not only are sesame seeds a very good source of manganese and copper and calcium, but they are also a good source of iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc 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. Rich In Beneficial Minerals.
Before you get bored and stop reading this, I shall go the recipe now.
Sesame seeds/Ellu/Til - 1 cup
Powdered jaggery - 1/2 cup
Wash and soak the seeds in water for half an hour. Drain and let it dry on a kitchen towel for 10 minutes. When using black, the skin will come out on soaking. So you will need to wash 2/3 times to discard the skin that has come off. Dry roast the sesame seeds in a kadai till you can smell the flavor. Also as it gets roasted, the seeds will start crackling. When you hear more of the crackling sound, remove from fire.
Boil with jaggery with 1/2 cup of water. Strain to remove any impurities.
Take a kadai, add the strained jaggery liquid. Jaggery syrup should be thick and it is called 'thakkali paagam'. Thakkali/tomato is used to signify the color of the syrup. To test for the consistency drop a spoon of syrup in cold water. You should be able to roll into a ball and when dropped from a height, you should be hear the sound of it hitting the surface. With the amount of jaggery mentioned, this stage will be reached quickly.
Slowly add the roasted seeds to the jaggery syrup. Mix well and cook for few minutes, till it come together. Transfer to a greased plate and press down with a spatula. When warm, mark the pieces using a knife. Dip the knife in cold water as you mark to avoid sticking. I got 12 pieces with this measurement.
When cool, it will be crunchy. Store in an airtight container.
This goes to Mythrayee, who is celebrating the sweet series with chikkis and laddus for the current month.