Friday, January 20, 2012

Soft Chewy Tilwadi

Of Tilwadi, Traditions and distant memories of days gone by..................

The new year brought with it many new ideas but as a child, I loved welcoming the new year with Sankranti. To me, Sankranta, was tilgul ladoos, kites and of course haldi-kumkum! Haldi- Kumkum was actually the best part about the whole deal, according to me.
Every year, as my Mother and I sat making tilgul ladoos, I would talk endlessly about my plans of haldi-kumkum. The ladies I wanted to invite (yes, aunties of the neighborhood), the 'vaan' / gift I wanted to give, and snacks to be served. I would pester my Mom to take me to Dadar flower Market to buy aster flowers and gajras and the vaan, which was some small gift article like a spice container or steel vaati, oh, it could be anything, half a dozen steel spoons for each guest or forks.. anything that was useful.
Oh I used to be SO excited! I would help my Mom clean the house, dust all corners ( a thing I hate), get a black dress cleaned and ironed, on the day, lay a shawl of delicate design in beautiful contrasting colors on the coffee table and place the flowers on them.

On one side, we would place a small end table with the mango shaped haldi-kunku container (check the last picture in Meera's post), traditional silver attar daani- which had a cotton ball soaked in perfume (attar/ ittar) and a gulaab daani filled with refreshing rose water waiting to be sprinkled on our guests. The vaan- a symbolic gift given to the ladies and  a bowl filled with tilgul and halwa. The snack was ready in the kitchen ( usually poha/ upma/ idli- chutney or something similar) water, glasses, tea-cups all set carefully on the dining table to be carried out at the right moment.
The ladies would arrive, all wearing black saris, there would be some chit-chat and I would get antsy and  wait for my mother to start the 'function'. Sure enough, after all the ladies had arrived, we would start,  Mom would apply halidi- kunku on the foreheads of all ladies and I would be a step behind her, with the perfume and the rose water, I would diligently apply the perfume and sprinkle rose water on every lady, smiling all the while like the cheshire cat. After the perfume and rose  water routine, Mom would bring the vaan and while giving it to the ladies would touch their feet and I would carry the tilgul bowl, one step behind her, do the same.
Finally after  all the formalities, Mom would bring out the snack bowls and  we would all sit and eat, talking of this and that. It felt so good! While we followed many traditions, there was no pressure to do it for religious reasons and I guess that is why I enjoyed all these little functions and cherish the memories even today.

But these are tales of days gone by, today, many things have changed and not for the better, I'm afraid. People  are too busy, working, partying ( I am by no means an old fashioned, orthodox auntie) and not wanting to be shackled by old traditions. 
These days, my Mom tells me, the ladies straggle in for haldi-kumkum, anywhere from 5 pm to 9:30 pm, whereas earlier it was a small get together which everyone looked forward to. 

Stragglers or not, my Mother makes these Tilwadis which are divine! They are soft, chewy and addictive.
Also easy on their ( my parents) aging teeth, she tells me! And very easy to make. No need to stand by and agonise watching the jaggery cook not knowing when it will go from crunchy type to rock solid.

Here is my Mom's super easy Tilwadi recipe:

1 cup sesame / Til- roast n cool and rough grind (makes almost 2.5 cups)
2 cups Roasted peanut powder / daney kut
1.5 cup Shredded Coconut- Dry / sukka khobra powder- lightly roast and powder
1tsp green Cardamom powder / velchi powder
3 - 3.5  cups Grated Jaggery ( 3.5 cups will make it very sweet) I suggest you first check how sweet the jaggery is and then add as per taste.
1tbs Ghee
1 tbs Water

Do the prep. DRY Roast sesame till golden brown. Set aside to cool. Once cool, grind to a semi rough powder. Do not wait for it to become fine, that will result in a paste. You don't want that! 

Roast peanuts till golden brown and crunchy, set aside to cool. Once cooled, grind to a powder , if using 
ready roasted (unslated) peanuts, grind to a powder. Not too fine, we do not  want  peanut butter.

Roast dry shredded coconut, cool and grind to a powder.

To all the above, add 1 tsp. Cardamom powder.

Grate and set the jaggery aside.

Grease a plate with ghee and set aside. Keep a vaati/ steel bowl next to the greased plate. stay with me here, I'll explain why later. Keep a serrated knife or pizza cutter at hand.

Heat a wok/ kadhai over medium heat. 

Add 1 tbsp Ghee, once the ghee melts and is warm, add one Tbsp water.

Quickly add the grated jaggery and mix well.

Wait until all the jaggery has melted ( and DO NOT raise the heat, keep it at medium only) 

Once the jaggery has melted, switch off the heat and add the mixture of sesame, peanuts and coconut.

Combine thoroughly and pour the mix into the greased plate.

Now, apply a drop of ghee to the bottom of the vaati/ steel bowl and use it to flatten and spread the mixture evenly on the plate.

Let the mixture set for a few minutes. Now using the knife or pizza cutter make diamond shapes and let it cool completely.

Once cool, remove and store in an airtight container.

* Edited to add: My Mom uses 4 cups of jaggery and claims it is the perfect ratio. I probably picked a batch or type of jaggery that is cloyingly sweet and hence had to reduce the quantity.
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  1. irresistable & hearty..cant wait to giv a try now..;)
    Tasty Appetite

  2. Can't wait to prepare your tilwadis. Great recipe.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  3. I love this any time of the week..You are making me to have it now..


  4. Very different tradition from us, is there a reason why all wear black?
    I agree with you, nowadays people give a reason for not celebrating like no place, busy working parents, etc... I felt kids in US are much aware those festivals and rituals than India these days.
    Love the diamond shape tilwadis :)

    1. Cham,I guess the reason is as black keeps the body warm... and other than that, it is not plain black, usually embroidered.
      Also as we believe black is inauspicious, we do not get a chance to wear much of it otherwise, so maybe this is a way of showcasing back with colorful embroidery, of course!

  5. The memories of the haldi kunku brings back floods of emtoions for me also. It was surely a day to look forward to. when I started working, we had a haldi kunku in our was a blast and we did evrything in under 45 was so crowded, that we passed the haldi kunku to be applied by whoever is sitting next to us..LOL..My mom gave bindi packets or small clips to all small girls who accompanied with their moms. and then we all sat in a corner and compared the clips even knowing they were the same. and the snacks were to think about, idli chutney, sanja, sabudana khichadi...yum yum...
    Love ash.

    1. Haldi-kumkum in the train! What fun! Oh yes, tiklyanchi packets or 'packita' as we call them! We have so many such memories, I feel sad that kids our generation will miss that, though we do celebrate many festivals.

  6. Hi Mansi,

    This is the first time I will be trying to make it and wanted help from you.

    1) Can you tell me if I can make balls out of this ?

    2) If I have to use a thali, how big a size thali do you recommend ?

    Many thanks !


    1. Mala, This makes a soft wadi, so you can try making balls out of it, but since they are soft, it is likely that the ball will crumble a bit. Try some balls and see how it works, but it is slow work and spreading on a plate and cutting diamonds is quick!

      Regarding the thali size, I use a full size round thali, the one we have at home and use for a proper dinner. If u have smaller ones, please grease 2 ( i'm talking of thalis with border as the mix needs to set).

      I also suggest you check the sweet level. Sometimes the jaggery is very sweet, in which case, 3 cups may not be needed.

    2. Thanks Manasi. I will definitely try and let you know ! :)

  7. Wow! Looks fantastic! I am drooling all over it :)

  8. I remember all the haldi-kumkums I tagged along with my mom to, the laddoos and the return gifts were my favorite parts:). I love this soft wadi, looks delicious!

  9. Mouthwatering here, wat a terrific and super tempting tilwadi.;

  10. First time on your page. This recipe is awesome! I would love to see your sweet & romantic recipes for my ongoing ''Valentine's Day Event'' So glad to follow your lovely blog :)

  11. That looks extremely tempting and delicious!!!!!

  12. wow...yummy sweet...Looks so tempting..:)


  13. Lovely introduction and write up, Manasi! To me it is not just food but the memories that are associated that make them so special! I am going to carry these tilwadis in my memory for a long time to come!

  14. I used to look forward to the haldi-kumkum program for sankrant too. :) I would be dolled up by my mom in a ready-made sari or a tailor made parkar-polka and lovely traditional jewellery. After sprinkling the rose water liberally :D till the aunties would laugh and request me to stop, I would wait eagerly for my turn to put attar on their hands. I would lose count on the number of ladus I ate or the colourful tiny balls of halwa I would have. I think this whole program facinated us because it was a real grown up tea party that we were a part of and which girl wouldnt love that?! and then this is just the beginning, since there are several such haldi-kumkum ur invited to in this season. I miss those good ol'days! :)

    - Priti

    1. Priti, U are so right about the-real grown up tea party that we were a part of- bit, i think I loved being a part of the 'ladies' as much as the other bits!
      I miss those days too :)

  15. Just discovered your blog and i am really impress by your skills; As a new member i will definitively follow you to learn to make good and elaborated receipe; you are my new inspiration; Keep up a good work;

  16. til wadi looks so warm and inviting! would love to try them. how have you been. How old is your lil one now!

    1. Thank U Sharmi! We are well... the little one is 3.5 yrs old! Whoops... where did time go? Hows ur little one? going on 3 now?

  17. Hey just found your blog,. I love your recipes.
    As I am new to blogging. I am going to follow you.


  18. YummY so dilicious....i want to eat this.........

  19. loved the little story about your childhood....i so agree with u we have become tooo busy .....little things wld give so much joy and togetherness are like a task to be finished :) lovely recipe and great blog

  20. Hi pallu.....just try this recipe's really testy ....dilicious....thank you thank you


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