Chakka Varatti or Jack Fruit Jam

Jack fruit is an excellent source of vitamins and potassium and has good health benefits. Each piece of the fruit or ‘cholai’ as it is referred to is of a beautiful yellow color and can be eaten plain or soaked in honey.The fruit gives out a strong aroma which is not liked by a few. On the contrary the very mention of the fruit and the smell can be so intoxicating, as to tempt you to wards non-stop consumption of the fruit. This jam or Chakka Varatti that is made out of ripened jack fruit forms the core ingredient in making delicious jack fruit based dishes like Elai Adai and Chakka Pradaman [ Payasam]. Refer earlier posts for these recipes.

Ingredients
Ripe Jackfruit Cholais [deseeded & cleaned] – 4 cups
Powdered Jaggery – 2 cups
Ghee – 1 cup
Water – as required

Optional
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Dried ginger powder a pinch

Method:

Pressure cook the jackfruit with just enough water till they are tender and soft. 3 – 4 whistles should do.

Cool and mash well. Grind to a smooth paste in a blender.

Melt jaggery with just enough water and strain.

Take a heavy bottomed kadai and pour the melted jaggery into it. Let it come to a boil.

Reduce heat completely and slowly add the jack fruit paste, stirring all the time.

Mix thoroughly and add ghee little by little. The mix should come together to form a thick paste, that is dark brown in color.

It is ready when most the moisture is absorbed and it gets a jam like consistency.

Remove and cool. Store in clean dry, air tight containers and refrigerate. Use when required but ensure that you use a dry spoon at all times.

Tips:

Continuous stirring is required during the making of the jam. The mix is likely to splutter out of the container. Hence ensure your hands are protected from getting bunrt by the hot paste.

The jam makes an excellent side dish for Rotis and Bread varieties.

Add dry ginger powder and cardamom only if required. Some prefer to retain the original flavor.

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Kuzhi Paniyaaram

Kuzhi Paniyaaram is a round, fluffy, extremely tasty South Indian Snack made of idli / dosa batter.It can be made with left over batter or batter that has turned a bit too sour to make idli or dosa.. Loved by people of all ages, it is easy to make and can substitute as a starter or snack any time of the day.

Ingredients:

Dosa / Idli batter – 3 cups
Besan – 2 tlbs
Onions – 1/4 cup finely chopped
Green Chillies – 3 finely chopped
Ginger – 1 tsp finely chopped
Curry leaves – a few
Oil – To fry,
Appa kaaral or Paniyaara pan made of cast iron or non – stick ware


Method:

Mix all ingredients together to form an even batter . Add a little salt if required.
Place the paniyaara pan [ with 5 or 7 holes as the case may be] on the stove and heat it slightly.
Pour enough oil to fill the holes in the pan.
When the oil is hot spoon the batter into each hole.Keep the heat on low flame to allow even cooking.
When it starts browning turn carefully on to the other side and cook.
Remove with skewers when it golden brown on all sides.
Drain on tissue paper.
Serve hot with chutney or sauce.

Tips: ,
Besan is added only to thicken the batter. If the existing batter is of thick consistency besan can be avoided.
If the batter is of very thin consistency then the paniyaarams will absorb too much oil, which is not healthy.
A little bit of grated coconut and a pinch of asfoetida are optional ingredients.
If you are making it for kids and don’t want it to be spicy for them omit green chillies and ginger,

By Mrs. Mira Balachandran; mira.balachandran@gmail.com

TIPS FOR BETTER COOKING – PART – I

1.Add salt to water while cooking greens [Keerai] to help retain the color.

2.A few drops of lime added to rice while cooking helps in making it look brighter and White.

4.Having problems in cooking Tur Dal? At times we will find certain varieties of Tur dal requiring longer time to cook and we would discover this only after a couple of days of trial by which time it will be too late to return the dal to the store. Add a small piece of coconut to the dal and cook to see the difference.

5.Add a piece of ginger while cooking cabbage or cauliflower to avoid the strong aroma that it emanates normally.

6.While mixing dough for Pooris add sugar to get puffed Pooris that stay crisp for a while.

7.Adding a few pepper corns to oil will help in keeping it fresh for a longer duration.

8.Soaking / immersing Cauliflower in salt water half an hour before cooking [after removing the leaves and stem] will help in getting rid of small germs or worms.

9.Wash onions after peeling the skin off to avoid eye irritation and watering.

10.Idli or Dosa batter will not go sour if you add a few dry chillies to it.

Tips by Mrs. Mira Balachandran; mira.balachandran@gmail.com