Love chikki? Chef Juliano Rodrigues shares a cheesecake recipe using Lonavala's favourite snack

Anglo Indian Cafe & Bistro's Chef Juliano Rodrigues shares his recipe of Chikki Cheesecake
Chikki Cheesecake by Anglo Indian Cafe & Bistro
Chikki Cheesecake by Anglo Indian Cafe & Bistro

Nestled in the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats, about 90 kms from Mumbai and 60 kms from Pune, is the hill station Lonavala. Arguably one of the most visited hill stations in the state of Maharashtra, it is famous for several things - and among them is chikki - a bar made using peanuts, melted jaggery and ghee.

According to historians, in the 19th century when thousands of workers were employed to build a railway line connecting Mumbai and Lonavala, a sweet shop owner called Maganlal Aggarwal decided to offer them a cheap but high-calorie snack called Gud-Dani. It went on to become so popular that he was commissioned by Central Railway Board to supply them to the passenger trains and it was then that Maganlal and his sons came up with the name Chikki. Soon Lonavla became synonymous with Chikki and today, almost every other shop in the town stocks these bars.

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So, when the team behind Out Of The Blue, a 21-year-old restaurant in Khar, decided to open an all-day dining Anglo Indian Cafe & Bistro in Lonavala, they wanted to include chikki in their menu. 

“The idea was to make a crunchy treat that instantly connects you to Lonavala, and since chikki from Lonavala is so famous, it was only fair for me to create something using it,” shares Chef Juliano Rodrigues, who first tried it on a train to Madras (now Chennai). “The first encounter that I remember is when I was 9 years old, travelling to Madras. Chikki vendors would enter the train and sell these delicious groundnuts rolled in crusty sugar.” For the restaurant, he decided to give the desi chikki a modern twist and came up with the idea of the Chikki Cheesecake. 

The chef shares his secret recipe exclusively with Indulge. He says, “Since chikki is the hero of this dish, it's added in different layers to do complete justice to it. It has to be roughly chopped for the base and ground to a fine powder for the layering.”
Recipe for Chikki Cheesecake

Ingredients: Chikki 100 gm (crushed), Digestive biscuits - 100 gm (crushed), honey - 1 tbsp and butter - 3 tbsp, cream cheese - 80 gm, Chikki powder - 100 gm and whipped cream - 150 gm, a little crushed chikki to garnish

• Mix all the ingredients and spread evenly on a baking pan, allow it to set in the refrigerator for about four to eight hours, depending on how fast it sets.
• For the filling, add cream cheese, chikki powder and whipped cream to a steel bowl and blend. Then pour the mixture on the set base and allow it to sit for another four hours.
• Cut the cheesecake as desired and garnish with crushed chikki.

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