Monday 13 January 2014

Nolen Gurer Til Gajak

Getting back to a normal routine after an amazing and relaxed holiday is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do. I have been back from a splendid time spent in Allahabad for almost a week now and am struggling to find  enthusiasm to click and share some food on the blog. I am literally rubbing my cold fingers to warm them up and start the new year with a bang. 
Well, a bang it was, as Vaanya started Montessori last week and I as a typical Indian mother had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat to see my little pumpkin being taken away to her class. She cried most naturally being taken away from the warmth and protection that she has known since birth but I cried even more and tried my best to hide my tears from other parents who perhaps have gone through the very same thing. 
Vaanya is still taking time to adjust and will hopefully very soon love the idea of going to a place called school, a place to make new friends, learn new exciting facts of life and thus enter the inevitable social world. 
Amongst all the craziness in our world nowadays, I just realized that it time of the year to feel cozy warming yourself against the heat of the bonfire, munch on loads of gajaks, rewadis and popcorns and sing merry songs. It is Lohri time. 
Lohri is celebrated to denote the last of the cruel coldest days in North India. It is celebrated in lieu of the harvesting of Rabi crops. All over India, this time of the year is festival time which is known by different names. For Sikhs it is Lohri while for Hindus it is Makar Sankranti just like it is Pongal down South and Bihu in Assam. 
When Kolkata Food Blogger's got together to celebrate Poush Sankranti by sharing sweet delicacies, I was in pretty much a fix as I have never tried the regional sweets devoured at this time of the year. Since the same is celebrated as Lohri by us, I decide to put my hands on this extremely easy and quick recipe called Til Gajak. To add some Bengali flavour to this Punjabi sweet, I made one batch with Nolen gur. For the other batch I used normal jaggery. Both came out wonderful but the Nolen gur ones had a lovely deep colour and looked amazing with the white sesame seeds doing a peek-a-boo. The normal jaggery ones hid the sesame seeds in its own colour and so needed some extra sprinkling on top while rolling thin. 
Both ways it is the easiest way to spend a wonderful cozy time with family doing chit chat, warming yourself against the fire and munching endlessly on goodies  enjoying the last day of the cold winters.

Ingredients : Serves 4-5

  • 1/3 cup grated Nolen gur/normal jaggery (I made 2 batches with both)
  • 3 tbsp white sesame seeds

Procedure : 

Take a pan and dry roast the sesame seeds on medium heat till they begin to change colour.
Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.
Heat the pan and add Nolen gur/normal jaggery. Stir continuously till it dissolves.
Remove from heat and add the roasted sesame seeds.
Quickly spread the mixture on an oiled surface like your kitchen counter or a plate. 
Allow to cool for 5-10 secs and then put a sheet of plastic on top and roll with a rolling pin as thin as you want. (For the normal jaggery batch I had to sprinkle some extra sesame seeds on top as they hid in the colour of the jaggery, but this is completely optional)
Trim the edges with a sharp knife and make desired shapes out of it. I made rectangles. 
Gajak with Nolen gur

Gajak with normal gur/jaggery

Notes : 
  • You can make rewadis out of the same by simply rolling the gur-sesame seeds mixture into round or flattened balls. Be careful as the mixture can be very hot for your fingers.
  • Try your hands on Moongfali gajak by substituting sesame seeds for halved moongfali/groundnuts. 
  • You can make the same with sugar in which case you will get white gajaks. 
Check out here to see some amazing sweets served for the festivity by my friends at Kolkata Food Bloggers.

Happy Lohri


  1. love to have this gajak, especially this is the perfect season for it...

  2. one of my favorite .
    Easy to make ad a healthy one too

    1. It truly is very simple and turns out amazingly yummy

  3. Hi Amrita, lovely clicks! My son recently started pre school too, and for the first few days he was unsettled but now he loves school and can't wait to go everyday! Am sure it will be the same for your daughter soon :)

    1. Hi Yen, I hope Vaanya starts loving school very soon :) Thank you for the encouragement

  4. Hello Amrita,
    Your gajak looks market bought. You've rolled out so thinly and sliced so perfectly! I am sure Nolen Gur gajak must be tasting great.
    Congratulations to you for Vaanya starting a new phase of her life. She will adjust very soon and believe me, she will insist on going to school on Sundays too. Blessings and love to her!

    1. Hi Namita, thank you for the appreciation. I so hope Vaanya starts loving school very soon.

  5. We have a similar sweet snack over. Its usually with palm sugar yet I am excited to see another with jaggery.

    1. The world is such a small place Nava-K. We share such similarities.

  6. love gajak a lot and they look absolutely yummy dear :)

  7. Love this traditional recipe and clicks are awesome!

  8. Hi Amrita, something new to me but your this snack look very tempting.

    1. Thank you Amelia, it is a very common snack here.



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