Saturday, August 19, 2006

All about Jack!!

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Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)/Chakka/jaca/nangka is believed to have originated in the western ghats in India.One could call it a member of the breadfruit family.This melon shaped starchy vegetable/honeysweet fruit is considered to be the largest tree-borne fruit in the world!Recently it did hit headlines as containing

The jack fruit is a melon shaped starchy vegetable that can reach a length of 3 feet, and weigh up to 100 pounds, making it the largest tree-borne fruit in the world. The fruits grow both from the tree trunk and from branches in the tree. They have a rough spiny skin and the uncut ripe fruit has a strong unpleasant smell, resembling rotting onions - but the cut fruit has a strong aroma similar to papaya or pineapple.

The interior consists of large bulbs of pulp enclosing a seed up to 1 inch long, with from 100 to 500 seeds per fruit. The flavor is similar to pineapple & banana but less juicy. The green unripe flesh is cooked as a vegetable and used in curries and salads. When ripe and sweet, it is eaten as a fruit. The large seeds are roasted and have a flavor and texture similar to chestnuts.

In South India, jackfruits are classified as of two general types: 1) Koozha chakka, the fruits of which have small, fibrous, soft, mushy, but very sweet carpels; 2) Koozha pazham, more important commercially, with crisp carpers of high quality known as Varika. These types are apparently known in different areas by other names such as Barka, or Berka (soft, sweet and broken open with the hands), and Kapa or Kapiya (crisp and cut open with a knife). The equivalent types are known as Kha-nun nang (firm; best) and Kha-nun lamoud (soft) in Thailand; and as Vela (soft) and Varaka, or Waraka (firm) in Ceylon. The Peniwaraka, or honey jak, has sweet pulp, and some have claimed it the best of all.

While cutting the jackfruit copious gummy latex ooze out and accumulate on the knife and the hand...well it can be something that puts off many.But if you apply some edible oil on to your hands and the knife the problem is solved.It is first cut into halves and then into small pieces and the fruit bulb is picked out from the rind,the seeds removed, unless they are really tender where even the seeds can be cooked as a vegetable.

Jackfruit dishes
1.Jackfruit can be used in jam,jelly,icecreams,made into chutney,sambar or can be dried up as papads,make chips, payasam(chakkaprathaman),idichakkathoran etc, etc.
2.You can boil the bulbs with milk and when drained off and cooled, will congeal and form a pleasant, orange colored jackfruit custard.
3.Chakkavaruthathu,or Jack fruit chips are quite a common snack like potato chips in India.All you need to do is brine the raw jack fruit pieces cut into thin strips,add some turmeric and leave it for an hour.Drain off the water and remove the water with a kitchen towel and deep fry in hot oil.
4.You want to store the fruit for a long time? Slice the ripe bulbs and add it to sugar syrup,add a pinch of citric acid and keep it frozen. It will last even more than a year!
5. The ripe bulbs are fermented and distilled to produce liquor.

6.The seeds may be boiled,roasted,made into Thoran in the Kerala style, or can be boiled and preserved in syrup,like chestnuts.

Keralites have plenty of recipes which use jackfruit and during the season one could say that they use it to the maximum, ripe or raw.Making Chakkavaratty was a traditional method of preserving ripe jackfruit to be used in a multitude of dishes like chakkayada,chakkaprathaman, chakkayappam.

Ripe Jackfruit bulbs - 4 cups(chopped thin0
Powdered Jaggery - 2 cups(if u r using the jaggery blocks,u may need around 300g)
Ghee - 1 cup
Water - as reqd
Cardamom powder-1/2 tsp
Dried ginger powder(chukkupodi)-a pinch


Cook jackruit either in a pressure cooker or a heavy bottomed vessel till it becomes soft by adding about 1/4 cup of water, keep stirring on medium flame and slowly smash it well using the ladle.Cook it till it becomes real pulpy.Prepare the jaggery syrup by melting the jaggery adding 2tbsp of water.Sieve it for impurities.Now slowly add the syrup to the cooked jackfruit.Cook it on a medium flame till the water content is reduced.Be careful at this stage,it will start splurting and u need to keep on stirring.(Not an easy job!!).Now add Ghee slowly,little by little, and continue to stir till you have go the required consistency.You may store it in the consistency of chappathi dough or can be slightly pulpy too.Cool it and store it in air tight jars.For me usually it remains nearly a year in the refrigerator.Only thing is that u need to be careful to always use dried spoon to take it and allow no moisture.

Chakkavaratty could be called a kind of Jack fruit jam in the traditional way but you can make Jackfruit jam slightly differently using the modern preservatives.

Jack fruit jam

Ripe Jack fruit bulbs - 1kg(cut into pieces)
Clove - 12
Cinnamon - 3 inch pieces(broken into smaller pieces)
Sugar - 1 1/2kg
Citric Acid - 1tsp
Water - 6cups
Potassium meta bisulphate (optional) - 2 pinch
Method :

Cook the chopped jackfruit pieces with enough water(enough to soak it).When the jackfruit has become soft enough and well cooked,remove from the fire. Now grind the cooked jackfruit into a very fine pulp in a mixer and sieve it for the fibrous parts.

Heat water, sugar,cinnamon,cloves and citric acid in a vessel.Add the fruit pulp to the boiling water. Stir continuously.You may remove the cinnamon and cloves now once the aroma has really got into the pulp.Now stir further till the solution thickens.Once it has thickened enough to the consistency of jam remove from fire.Add potassium metabi sulphate to a small quantity of jam.Mix thoroughly to make it uniform and now mix this small qty of jam with the remaining bulk, stir well.Cool the jam and pour into sterilised bottles.If you are adding potassium metabi sulphate do not use the jam for a week.
Note: To test whether the jam is done, cool the jam on a ladle. When cool the jam should fall from the tilted ladle as flakes rather than as drops.It should not flow.


Chakka varatty-6tbsp
Rice flour-1/2 cup
Copra pieces-2 tbsp(cut into small pieces)
Cardamom powder-a pinch
Oil-as rqd
Water-as rqd

Mix the chakka varatty,rice flour,copra pieces,cardamom powder into a nice medium thick batter..Heat oil in a wok with lot of indentations
  • Unniappa kara
  • .Pour the batter into each indentation and fry them till all the sides are golden brown.Chakkayappam ready!


    Chakkayada can be made using rice flour or even maida.Traditionally rice is used as the covering.But I somehow like maida rather than the rice ada.

    Rice flour/Maida/wheat flour - 1 cup
    Warm water - As rqd

    For filling:-
    Grated Coconut-1 cup
    Cardamom-a pinch

    TraditionallyAda is cooked in banana leaves cut into squares,but can also be done in parchment paper cut into squares as demonstrated well by
  • Surya

  • Mix chakkavaratty with grated coconut&cardamom into a uniform mixture.

    Now mix the flour with salt adding warm water.Knead it to a smooth dough,smoother than the chappathi dough.Now place a big lime size ball on to the leaf/paper,wet u'r palm with a little water and spread it out uniformly into a very thin layer.

    Now place the chakka filling on one side.Close the ada from the other end and press the edges slightly.Place the folded adas in a steamer or idli stand and steam it for nearly 20 minutes or till it is cooked well.Remove the adas from the banana leaf and have it!


    Jackfruit pieces-2 cups(chopped very small)
    Jaggery powdered - 1 1/2 cups
    coconut milk ( thick ) - 1 cup
    coconut milk ( thin ) - 1/12 cups
    coconut pieces/copra-2tbsp(fried in ghee)
    cardamom powdr-a pinch
    Ghee-1+1 tbsp


    Fry the jackfruit pieces in a heavy bottomed vessel adding 1 tbsp ghee into a very pulpy consistency,stirring constantly.(Alternatively you can grind the jackfruit pieces into a coarse paste and then cook it adding ghee.) Make jaggery syrup adding some water.Sieve for impurities.Add the syrup to the cooked fruit. Mix well.Cook for 3 minutes.Now add the second extract of the coconut milk and boil well.Once it starts thickening reduce the flame to a simmer,and add the first extract.Cook for a couple of minute.Add coconut pieces,raisins,cashew roasted in ghee and pour it on the pradhaman .Add cardamom,mix well and serve it hot or cold as u like.

    If you have chakkavaratty stock you can straight away add coconut milk,dilute it,add jaggery if required and follow the remaining procedure.Some add cooked moongdal(fried in ghee before cooking) like you do in
  • Parippu prathaman
  • to the fruit pulp for a thicker prathaman.

    Check out this step by step chakka varatty post from
  • Annita

    Annita said...

    hey..what a coincidence..I'ver also posted chakka varattiyathu recipe yesterday...So we think alike...

    mathew said...

    mm..cruel..should say wicked..!!
    Torture of third degree..

    never wonder govt says blogs should be banned..

    Okay...Could you plz parcel some of those stuff for me!!! :)

    Anonymous said...

    Hey! wow! I loooooooooovvvve jack fruit. who doesn't right? You and annita, njangale kodhipi-kyaanello? :)..hmmm.... I'm drooling right now... My amma's chakka varattiyadhu is my all time favorite. I've never tasted chakka appam though, how is it made? would it be possible for you to post that recipe here? thanks.

    indianadoc said...

    >Annita,I saw your post...u r amazing dear, with all those step by step snaps...hmm...we both seem to be ardent food lovers!!
    >Mathew it is less cruel than your 'silverine torture'!!Mathayicha njangal paavam 'swavideshikal'aamashayam kathipokunna vilayum koduthu chakka vaangi kazhikkumbol,naattil sukhayittu parambil ninnu parichu thinnukayalley vendoo...hmmm...kurachu chakka parcel ayachu thannal varattunna karyam yeattu!!
    >my dear anony friend...i shall definitely post the recipe held up with some guests and some work at home...hmmm...aarkka chakkayum mangayum vendathathu...naattil irikkumbol ithinteyonnum vilayarinjirunnilla!! :(

    wheresmymind said...

    I don't know jack!! lol

    indianadoc said...

    >WMM,Oh u dint know Jack?He stays next to u,Fat,thorny,bulby,with a very odd odour....U hit him or hurt him...his white blood oozes out.... and will stick to u'r hand so much that u'll never dare to hurt him!! :)

    3:25 AM

    Achu said...

    I have gone through your site and found the way you made the chakka prathaman. It is really fantastic. Thank you very much and expect more fro you.


    indianadoc said...

    thanx archana for dropping in :)