Makar Sankranti With Til Laddoo, Til Chikki, Gur Gajak And Pinni
Image Credit: Iconic sweets of Makar Sankranti, Dreamstime

Makar Sankranti conjures vivid images of a sky full of colourful kites and people dressed up in new fineries, a series of rituals expressing gratitude to the Sun God, nature and cattle and kitchens busy preparing festive dishes. In the latter part, i.e., ceremonial grubs, there are a few iconic foods without which the festival loses its essence. There is nothing grandiloquent about them. But the simplicity of the recipes that have been passed down the generations for ages holds their charm and retains their patronage. The list includes til chikki, til laddo, gur ki gajak and pinni. If you have yet to try them, read on to know them well. 

Til Laddoo

Sesame laddos, Image Source: stockimagefactory

Til Laddoos make Makar Sankranti unthinkable without them. This traditional treat comes in a variety of recipes. Sesame seeds, jaggery, peanuts, and desiccated coconut make one of the straightforward laddoo recipes. Some people choose to boil the jaggery syrup until it reaches a softball stage. It gives the laddoo a gooey, velvety texture. Tilgul is another traditional Maharashtrian dish for Makar Sankranti. These spherical laddoos are made with til or sesame seeds, jaggery, or gur. That's how they got the moniker, i.e., Tilgul. In Makar Sankranti, these two ingredients have great religious importance. You can also boil the jaggery syrup until it reaches the hardball stage to form firm and hard laddoos.

Gur Ki Gajak

Gajak is one of the classic Indian sweets many crave during winter. This simple dessert is cooked to commemorate the first harvest and devoured by friends and family around a bonfire on Lohri evening. Gur ki Gajak, made for Lohri and Makar Sakranti, is incredibly delicious. This delicacy can also be made into a dessert and aids in better digestion following a large meal. It gets crunchier with the addition of peanuts. Additionally, jaggery's deliciousness ensures nutritional health. Sesame seeds and other dry fruits are frequently used in place of peanuts when making gur ki gajak.

Til Chikki

freshly made til chikkis, image source: marathiiswaad@Instagram

This is another famous typical sweet made during this festival. Til or sesame seeds have special significance in our religious scriptures, especially the black ones. During Makar Sankranti, many make Til Chikki offer as prasad to the gods, apart from as an addition to the festive spread. Many also call it til papdi when the sesame and jaggery mix is rolled into thinner consistency. Traditionally, the sesame seeds are dry roasted on low flame, and then ghee, clarified butter, jaggery, or gur syrup is added and stirred to coat everything well. The mix is then spread on a greased surface and cut into thick square shapes. 


Aatte ki pinnis, Image Source: nidz_kitchen_au@Instagram

The Makar Sankranti festival highlights Punjab's pinni. However, in Punjabi, the word "pinni" simply refers to desserts or sweets with a circular shape. A few popular variations are urad dal (split black gram), chawal (rice), and aatte (whole wheat) ki pinni. One of the most popular kinds of pinnis is called ate ki Pinni and is prepared throughout India, particularly in Punjab. The pinni mixture is prepared by combining wheat flour, ghee, sugar, and milk at a low temperature in a heavy bottom pan. It is continuously stirred until it turns brown and emits a pleasant aroma. Pinni is loaded with nuts, including cashews, almonds, raisins, and green cardamom, making it aromatic, decadent and healthy.