Jackfruit and it’s seeds (Chakkakuru) used to be abundant to the point that many were wasted in Kerala. Not anymore!
It’s difficult to get the superfood jackfruits and the seeds are to be dried and stored differently.
But when it comes to making a dish with jackfruit seeds, the mezhukkupuratty is the default solution.
Removing the skin is difficult. So I pressure cooked the seeds for four whistles, took them out and removed the skin. and cut them into medium sized pieces.
In a vessel, poured 2 tbsp of coconut oil and allowed to heat well. To the boiling oil a tsp of mustard seeds were thrown in. When it crackled added ten sliced shallots, one tsp of turmeric powder and the steamed and cut jackfruit seeds.
Allowed the mix to cook for 5 minutes and added 1 1/2 tbsp of Kashmiri chilli powder, and salt.
Now I did an innovation. Added half a grated coconut and some water for further cooking for 5 minutes. Curry leaves were thrown in and cooked on reduced heat till it turned semi dry.
The jackfruit I got was a bit overripe to eat fresh. And then it’s Vishu and what is a better day to make something good and traditional.
Chakka varatty, the top picture and in process is reduced jackfruit flesh with pure ghee and a spoon of dry ginger powder. When done a little more, it’s an apt filling for Chakka ada or can taken with Puttu and the like. In fact when layered with rice powder for making Puttu, the steamed output will taste better.
The balls below are chakka undas made in the summer of 2018. They are still intact even after these 3 years and I enjoy them occasionally with fresh coconut slices. For unda consistency the Chakka varatty is to be cooked and reduced for another 6 hours.
The varatty I am making is without jaggery. Jaggery is recommended for making undas as it acts as a preservative too.
For a fruit lover like me, oranges and apples are likely items in the fruit basket. But I have taken a conscious decision to try and get what is seasonal and locally available.
Perhaps there’s a scientific explanation as I have read it in some of the diet/ wellness articles. Of course, I didn’t see much of the details on the science behind, but it’s certainly less expensive.
Some of them, like the pappaya and water melon in the picture could be pesticide free also. Though seasonal and locally available, the mangoes and grapes will need that extra washing before consuming.
Including fruits in one’s diet is good for wellness. There’s a tendency to go soft on fruits in the process of avoiding sugar. However, I am of the school considering whole fruits (not in juice form) as good to go for.
I usually break my intermittent fasting with some fruits. This is a major breakthrough as we have a tendency to eat fruits after a meal when the stomach is full. Wellness recommendations are against having fruits after a meal.
A star absence in the picture is jackfruit. This is the season and they are devoid of any chemicals. And I live in Kerala where the availability should be plenty. Most important- I like it very much.
But jackfruit is health food, difficult to pluck from tall trees etc etc and hence one has to take an effort to get to it. Which I must now.
This jackfruit tree is in my sister’s house and it’s a most pleasing thing to see such a relatively small and young tree bearing these giant fruits.
Like coconut oil, jackfruit is also going international. I say going because I consider both coconut and jackfruit native to my childhood environment.
When British Prime Minister Theresa May visited India, the grand dinner menu had jackfruit biriyani in it. Apparently this biriyani is a craze in London restaurants.
Admittedly, it’s not something we have tried. We have been busy with the numerous uses of jackfruit and the tree, like the solid wood, leaves in Ayurveda treatment, fruit from its formation stage to the ripened and even the seeds.
Then the finding that jackfruit cures diabetes! Wow!
So jackfruit biriyani is in the radar, with or without any meat.
And of course, I have to plant a few of these lovelies.
One of the things I miss with the decision to stay back in Bangalore, is the abundance of good quality jackfruit in Kerala. And along with that the thrill of making chakka undas and chakka chips.
Jackfruits are available in Bangalore too. Pealed ones, sold at roadsides are not very welcome in this virus times. And without proper tools, buying the whole fruit needed more courage than what I could muster.
Not quite though. Horticulture unit HOPCOM of the state government, brings fresh fruits and vegetables to the compound, twice a week. And while buying fruits and vegetables, I saw a lady asking for half of the jackfruit. The aroma and colour were too hard to resist and I took the other half.
Good, brave decision indeed. The fruit is very fresh and delightfully tasty. And the Chakkakuru (seeds) make unique dishes.
I have done a few things with jackfruit in the previous seasons. Like making chakka unda (jackfruit balls) and chakka chips (jackfruit chips). In fact some of the chakka undas are still there in our Kochi home.
Some nine full sized jackfruits were worked on in one season.
Now that we’re stuck in Bangalore, it’s not easy to work on full jackfruit without some of the specialty tools. I must also admit that it’s highly priced here while the jackfruits came free from siblings while in Kochi.
So the only option is to get the product, fresh and ready to eat. I got some good ones from a small vendor. I asked for fruits worth 100 rupees. Of course, no bargaining with small vendors, especially now.
Some whole sellers purchased jackfruits from my brother at ₹10 per fruit. Each full fruit has about 30 fleshy ones like in the picture. Converted, that’s about 20 times the price for these ones I bought.
It’s uniquely tasty and now a health food. But the thrill is in making chakka undas. Maybe next season!