Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chakka Pradhaman / Jack Fruit payasam

August,September & October is the month of  festivities in India. Starting with Varalakshmi pooja till navarathri, one will have endless opportunities to make payasam or other offerings to almighty.

So, here is a quick and tasty payasam made out of Chakka!.
Chakka ( malayalam), aka Palapazham ( tamil) or  jack fruit is very native to the south and east of India. Did you know that it is one of the largest fruits to bear on trees.
It is very seasonal mainly during the summer moths in the tropics. Jack fruit may not be available readily here in the US, but have seen all the time in asian supermarkets.

                                                                     Source from here

                                                                 Image courtsey

Jack fruit has a unique aroma which you will either love it or hate it. Apparently the aroma can be described as a combo of apple, pineapple etc. No, you don't eat the green part of the fruit in case you wonder. There is fleshy and fibrous fruit inside which can be cooked raw or eaten ripe as a fruit.

Chakka Varatti/ chakka varatiyathu or jack fruit jam is made by cooking jack fruit in jaggery, ghee with cardamom and other spices till it becomes like a halwa. Varatti has a long shelf life and can be used to prepare, ilayada, payasam etc.
I remember my parents making them at home and tastes super yummy when hot.

My dad had bought his ready made chakka varatti from palakkad, Kerala and I brought here after my recent trip to India. I don't know if it is available in Chennai!

Get ready

  • Chakka Varatti 1 packet ( 100 gms)
  • 2 Maggi coconut milk powder sachet  ( 100 gms each or 2 cups in total)
  • 1 cup warm water to dissolve coconut milk powder
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 2 tbsp broken cashews
  • 1 tbsp Ghee/ clarified butter
  • 1/4 tsp dry ginger powder aka sukku podi ( optional)
  • 1 tbsp small coconut wedges ( optional)


  • Whisk the coconut milk powder in water without any clumps and set aside.
  • Heat the regular milk in a heavy bottomed pan
  • Add the chakkai varatti to the milk. Whisk well and turn of the heat.
  • Let it sit for 15 -20 mins as it will help to dissolve the varatti well in milk.
  • whisk again till the chakkai vartti is fully dissolved i nthe milk.
  • Put the milk back on heat and add the coconut milk.
  • Cook on low fire till the mix comes to a boil.
  • If it is too thick add some more 2% milk till you get to the right Kheer consitency. It will thicken with time, so don;t make it too thick.
  • Turn the heat off. sprinkle ginger powder.
  • In another small pan, add the ghee and roast the cashews, coconut wedges till golden.

Serve Hot or cold.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Potato Poha / Aval Upma

 Kids are back in school! Mine are, how about yours? Eventhough they drove me crazy on some vaction days, it was kind of easy to go to work in the morning.

No lunch packing, i mean, how cool is that?

My son has always favored home packed lunch and i am always on the look out for new ideas.

Poha/ beaten rice/ flattened rice/ Aval is an easy snackable item in Indian kitchens. They absorb water and can used for sweet and spicy dishes. This one is an easy snack/ tiffin item that would be liked by the old and not so old!

So, Here we go....

Get Ready

  • 1 cup poha / Aval / flattened Rice
  • 1 tablespoon Peanuts
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 small green chillies slit
  • 1 medium sized potato peeled and small cubed
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds/ kadugu
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds/ jeera
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste


  • Wash the poha under running water 2-3 times. Add water just to cover the poha and let it sit for a minute.
  • Drain the water completely from the poha after a minute. Add a pinch of salt, gently toss. Cover with a lid and set aside for 20 mins.
  • Cook potatoes in water in a microwave safe bowl for 5-6 mins till they are soft, but not mushy .
  • In a pan add oil, once hot add the mustard seeds. After they pop add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
  • Add peanuts, asafetida and fry till peanuts are golden.
  • Add the onions, green chillies and sauté till onions are golden bad well done.
  • Add the cooked potatoes to the sautéed onions and cook for 30 secs.
  • Reduce the heat.
  • Add turmeric powder, poha, salt, sugar and gently toss all together. Cover and cook on low flame for a minute or two.
  • Adjust salt/ sugar according to taste.
  • Turn the heat off, garnish with lots of chopped cilantro.

Enjoy for breakfast , lunch or evening snack with some coffee or tea.