Ever since I saw Ela Ada on blogs and cookery shows, I had wanted to try it out home, especially the Ela Ada using Chakka Varatti/Jackfruit Preserve. I thought I'll do it during the last jackfruit season but it so happens, that jackfruit season coincides with school summer holidays and I am usually not at home and I keep missing it. This year also I thought that I'll not be able to do it, but just towards the end of the season I finally got to do it. Today's post is Chakka Varatti, a fruit preserve made with jackfruits and jaggery and I also made the Ela Ada using this preserve and will be posting it soon. I had mixed thoughts while making it, whether we would like it, especially the flavor because, as such jackfruit has a strong scent and I thought that it would intensify when cooked. But it turned out the other way, it smelled and tasted so good, that my daughter who doesn't like jackfruit at all, liked the Chakka Varatti very much. You can eat Chakka Varatti just as such, the texture is like Halwa and it tastes like one too or you can use it in making other dishes like Ela Ada and Payasams. The dish belongs to Kerala where jackfruits grow in abundance and they make a variety of dishes using both the ripe and unripe jackfruits and for Chakka Varatti, we use the ripe ones. Cutting a big jackfruit, and removing the fruit arils/bulbs from it is a huge task by itself and needs a separate post and I don't want to go into the details of it today and I usually ask the fruit vendor to do it. The process takes a little time but the taste at the end is worth all the effort, do try it when you next buy jackfruit..
Need To Have
- Jackfruit Arils/Fruit Bulbs - 25, medium size
- Grated or Powdered Jaggery - 2 cups
- Ghee/Clarified Butter - 1/4 cup
Original Recipe here
Take the jackfruit pieces, remove the seed inside as shown in the picture, slice the fruit and keep.
Pressure cook the sliced fruit with 1/2 cup water for 3 whistles. Remove it from the cooker, let it cool and then make a puree with it, I had 2 cups puree.
Take the jaggery, add 1/4 cup water, heat it through till the jaggery melts, then strain the melted jaggery and keep.
Put back the strained jaggery syrup back on the stove, add the jackfruit puree and mix it well.
Now comes the time consuming part, we have to just keep cooking the mixture on medium-low heat, stirring in between to prevent it from sticking to the pan. When the mixture starts thickening and starts sticking, add the ghee little by little and keep stirring and cooking till it reaches the jam consistency, it took me about an hour. When the mixture is thick, like it falls very slowly from the spoon, remove it, cool and store.
The 2 cups of jaggery was perfect and also the original recipe mentions that jaggery acts as a preservative too, so do not reduce it, same with ghee too and it gives a wonderful flavor to the preserve.
We can store it outside for sometime at least but I was not too sure about it and since I didn't have the plan of consuming so much sugar within a couple of days, I stored it in the refrigerator.
The mixture thickens as it cools, so remove it from heat, exactly when it falls slowly from the spoon.