Chakka Pradhaman

Jackfruit is an acquired taste. The yellow, fig-like fruit pods held inside giant ripe jackfruit have a very distinct tropical aroma. Even those who do not particularly care for this strong-scented fruit in its raw stage love it when it is presented in pudding form. When cooked in ghee and simmered with coconut milk and brown sugar, jackfruit loses its strong aroma and evolves into a delicately creamy dessert that is hard to resist.

¼ cup water

1 cup jaggery or brown sugar

1 cup ripe jackfruit jam (recipe below)
6 cups coconut milk
3 tablespoons ghee
1 tablespoon fresh coconut, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons crushed cardamom


Combine the jaggery (or brown sugar) and water in a heavy saucepan, and place it over medium heat. When it begins to boil, stir in the jackfruit jam, and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir in the coconut milk, and simmer over low to medium heat for twenty to twenty-five minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not let the coconut milk come to a boil; boiling will result in separated coconut milk.

Heat the ghee in a skillet, and fry the coconut pieces until they are golden brown. Pour the ghee and coconut over the pradhaman, and stir in the crushed cardamom. Remove it from the stove, and keep the pot covered until it is time to serve. Serve either warm or cold. It stays fresh for up to four days in the refrigerator.

Jackfruit Jam

4 cups ripe jackfruit segments*

4 cups jaggery or brown sugar 
1 cup ghee

Remove any remaining seeds from the jackfruit segments, cut them into thin slices, and place them in a heavy-bottomed pot. Pour in just enough water to cover the fruit pieces. Cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally to make sure that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. In about half an hour, it will be well cooked. Mash the cooked jackfruit with a potato masher or a heavy spoon. Add the jaggery (or brown sugar), and mix well. Cook while stirring continuously and adding ghee, a few tablespoons at a time. After about thirty minutes, the jam will be thick and smooth, and it will start leaving the sides of the pot as you stir. It will be glazed with ghee. Remove it from the stove, and let it cool. This jam stays good for months in a cool, dark place and in a refrigerator for even longer time.

*Frozen or bottled ripe jackfruit segments in sugar syrup are available in Indian grocery stores. Drain the segments, and proceed with the recipe above to make jackfruit jam. These fruit segments will take less time to cook.

 

 


AMMINI RAMACHANDRAN