Story behind Lonavala Chikkis:
Lonavala was so named because of the word ‘lenya’ which means caves in Marathi. There are many rock-cut caves, which surround Lonavala. It was Shri Maganlal Agarwal (the fourth generation of Maganlal Agarwal’s family is now running the chikki business) who brought chikki to Lonavala more than 125 years ago. His great grandson, Ashutosh Agarwal says that it all started when Shri Maganlal began selling ‘gurdana’, a mixture of jaggery and groundnuts in a huge sack to the laborers who were laying tracks on the Khandala–Pune railway line. (Opened to traffic in 1858) He used to stand with the big sack, next to the railway line, literally outside where the Maganlal’s main shop stands now in the market street on the east side and sold the ‘gurdana’. ‘Gurdana’ is rich in protein and iron and the laborers used to consume it for the instant energy.
Later, the simple ‘gurdana’ graduated to the groundnut chikki and over the years other chikki varieties were introduced. Nevertheless, the whole and crushed groundnut chikki are still Maganlal’s bread and butter product making up for 70% of the total chikki varieties sold.
Recipe: Lonavala Chikki
1-1/4 cups Dry fruits (Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts, Raisins, etc)
1 cup Sugar (or you can substitute Gor/Gud)
1 tbsp liquid Glucose
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
Melt sugar in a non-stick pan as it just about to melt add liquid Glucose to it. Crush the dry fruits and cardamom powder. Add it to the melted sugar. Put this mixture immediately into a greased wooden surface. With the help of a roller pin, spread it evenly. Now cut it with a greased knife or cutter. Allow it to cool and break into pieces. Lonavala chikki is ready.
And if it does not turn out the way you want it add little butter just before sugar melts. You may also dust surface with cornstarch before you pour hot mixture on hard surface.