The earliest memories of Sankranti was probably when I was a Five year old girl & I remember being all excited about the whole Ellu Bella distribution.
It would take almost a week for my mom & my grandmother to make Ellu Bella & a couple of days before Sankranti they would spend atleast half a day making Sakkara Achchu /Sugar Candies & safely stored them away so that we kids wouldn't eat them before the festival
As kids, we loved eating Sakkare Achchu/Sugar Candies & there would be quite a bit of leftover Sakkare Achchu / Sugar Candies post the festival, & I would carry one sugar candy in my snack box each day until the stock got over
During my early School Days, we moved to Mumbai & the concept of Sankranti was a little different there. Instead of Ellu Bella Mixture, Maharashtrians make Sesame Laddoos/Ellu Unde known as Tilgul.
'Tilgul Ghya & Goad Goad Bola' is what say while sharing these Laddoos with near & dear ones.
I love Sesame Laddoos or Ellu Unde as they are known in Kannada. Sesame is loaded with Vitamin C & since these Laddoos are jaggery based, & has no fat in them, it makes an almost guilt free indulgence.
I have a post dinner Sweet craving these days, so instead of diving into a jar of chocolate cookies, I am going to eat these
You Will Need:
- 2 cup White Sesame Seeds
- 1 cup Chikki Jaggery / Antu Bella in Kannada
- 1/4th cup of Water
- Oil to Grease your palms
In a heay bottomed pan, dry roast Sesame seeds on low flame until it turns slightly golden & is aromatic. It should take about 3-4 minutes
Sesame Seeds tend to burn quite quickly & if they are over toasted, they turn very bitter so make sure the heat is low.
Once the Sesame seeds are toasted, transfer it to a wide plate & set aside
In the same pan, heat about 1/4th cup of water. Bring it to a boil & add Jaggery. Once the Jaggery melts, strain for any impurities.
Add the syrup back to the the pan, once it starts boiling. Keep a bowl of water handy. To test the syrup for the right consistency, Add a drop of the syrup into the water filled bowl. It should form a solid mass & once you take it in your palms & roll it, it should form a round ball.
Now add the toasted Sesame seeds immediately & mix well. Turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool just a little & while it is still warm but cool enough to handle, Grease your palms, quickly take a spoonful of mixture with the help of a spoon & roll them into balls.
Once you are done working with the mixture, arrange on a tray & Air them for about 4-5 hours & store them in airtight jars.
You can use regular Jaggery too, But Chikki Jaggery or Antu Bella works very well. I don't know what it is known in other languages.
Make sure you work with the Laddoos while the mixture is still warm. Do not allow it to cool down completely & it will harden. You will need some practice to roll them fast.
If making large quantities, it is always better to work in batches.
Sesame is known to increase body heat & that is the exact reason why Ellu Bella, Sesame Laddoos & other Sesame based goodies like Gajak are made during winter. But too much sesame can induce a lot of body heat so be careful while you indulge in them