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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Amrakhand or Mango Shrikhand

Shrikhand is a very popular sweet dish made of thick Yogurt, that is an intrinsic part of Gujarathi & Maharastrian Cuisine. It is a very popular dessert which is a must at all festivities. It is also served as an accompaniment for main dishes like poori & roti.There are variations to this dish. When mango pulp is added it is called Amrakhand. Some prefer to add fresh fruits to the yogurt and it is popularly know as Matho.

Ingredients:
Thick Yogurt or home made curds – 2 cups
Mango Pulp – 1 cup
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Cardamom Powder – 1/2 tsp

To garnish
Sliced Pistachios – 1 tblsp

Method:

Strain the yogurt or curds till all the water is drained. This is traditionally done by straining it through a clean muslin cloth by tying it up and leaving it to hang over night.
Similarly ensure that the mango pulp is also thick devoid of any water.
Blend all ingredients in a blender till thick in consistency.
Pour in individual cups and garnish with chopped pistachio slices.
Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours
Serve Chilled.

Tips:

A few strands of saffron soaked in warm milk can also be added to the mix.
Some like to add a few pieces of mango to the shrikhand.
After blending you can add the mango pieces and then chill in individual bowls.

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