Gajak is an Indian confectionery that is made with ‘Til’ (sesame seeds) and ‘gud’ (jaggery). Other than these, a lot of dry fruits such as almonds, cashews, walnuts and pistachios are an integral part of the recipe. This delicious Praline and Brittle like dish is part of the Indian festival cuisine and other than being delicious it is highly nutritious as well. Rolls, Peanut, Cashew, Dry Fruits and Classic Gajaks are some variations of this sweet.
History of Gajak Recipe
Gajak originates from the Indian sub-continent where it was and still is prepared during festivities, more so around the harvest time when the yearlong crop is harvested and the year to come is celebrated through a festival called “Sankranthi” or “Pongal”, especially in southern India, where the recipe has a variation in terms of the way it is prepared (sesame and jaggery are cooked together) and these are also known as ‘Til Laddus’. On the other hand, the same ingredients are used for making the flat and flaky sweet.
Preparation of the Til Sweet
Gajak is prepared with sesame seeds and jaggery. Cinnamon is added for flavor. Dry fruits such as cashews, almonds, pistachios, and walnuts and other nuts such as peanuts are optional. In south of India, this sweet is prepared by sautéing the sesame seeds and then added to the cooked jaggery. Once, they reach a one-string consistency, the contents are poured into a greased tray or rolled into balls as it cools. The extent to which jaggery is cooked determines the softness or hardness of the sweet.
Variations of Gajak Recipe
This flaky sweet has many variations in India based on the region where it is prepared. If it is in south of India, it is usually prepared as round balls known as ‘laddus’, and on the other hand, in the north of India, the recipe has many variations such as substituting jaggery with sugar, which of course does not give the same rich taste as jaggery. Another variation is using peanuts instead of sesame along with jaggery; however, this is not a substitute for the traditional recipe.
Nutritive Value of the Gajak Sweet
The flaky sweet is traditional prepared with sesame, jaggery and at times with dry fruits. All these ingredients add to the nutritive value of the sweet.
Because of the high content of proteins, minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus and iron and also vitamins such as E & B, the sweet made of the sesame seedsis believed to prevent oxidative damage of the liver, provides relief from Rheumatoid Arthritis, enhances bone health, combating cough and respiratory problems. Moreover, the seeds are high in amino-fats, which is good for improving the memory and the seeds do not contain cholesterol at all, which is again a positive sign.