This is a fruity dessert made with jackfruit pulp, coconut and jaggery (evaporated cane juice). A sip of this is the perfect end to a south Indian meal.
Pradhamans are payasam (kheer/ thin puddings ) made with jaggery and coconut milk . These can be made with broken wheat , rice noodles (Ada Pradhaman), lentils (Parippu Pradhaman) or fruits like banana or jackfruit. As long as it is not tart or bitter pretty much anything can be made into a pradhaman. My favorite is ada pradhaman but this , jackfruit pradhaman or chakka payasam, is a close second.
Summer in Kerala meant an abundance of mangoes and jackfruit. As kids we had a lot of fun harvesting both. My grandparent’s house sat on a hill side and only part of the property was visible from the main house – this meant a chance to explore away from adult supervision. It was not an easy thing to get permission from mom or aunt to go off on our own – so these harvest expeditions were not an opportunity to pass up.
These usually were an adventure, of courses there were no tigers where we lived, but there were quite a lot of bandicoots, mongoose and snakes. The bravest among us used to freeze in the tracks after coming upon discarded snake skin. But there were an abundance of friendly butterflies, flowers, birds and wild berries as well. And quite often we will will discover that we don’t have the right gear or that there were no viable footholds on the way.
We used to get back with a few cuts and scrapes and a sizable load of fruits. The fresh jackfruit petals are very sweet – while the raw ones have a wonderful meaty texture. The raw ones are perfect for making curries or frying while the ripe ones were usually polished off faster than the adults to clean them up.
A few of these that managed to escape our attentions were turned into halva (think of thick blocks of fruit leather) known as chakka varatty or mixed with rice flour and jaggery and steamed (ada) and served as snacks. Once the jackfruit season is over we would go searching for the halva and often times polish off the whole box before mom becomes aware of it.
Making jackfruit halva or chakka varatty is a laborious process, but was the perfect way to process the plentiful fruit and save it for the rest of the year. It is this chakka varatty that is usually used to make chakka pradhaman or chakka ada for the rest of the year. Refer to the notes below if you want to find out how to make the payasam with chakka varatty . I don’t make chakka varatty but my mom still does whenever she can. The difference between them and now is that she no longer as to hide the boxes from us 😊.
Here we get canned or fresh frozen sweet jackfruit is throughout the year in the Asian stores, and sometimes even whole fresh jackfruit. So this is the recipe for Jackfruit payasam using fresh fruit.
So here are the steps
- Cook and puree the jack fruit (not in pic above)
- Melt the jaggery
- Fry cashew nuts, raisins and coconut pieces
- Add the puree to the pan roast till almost all the water evaporates
- Add the jaggery water
- Add thin coconut milk
- Bring to simmer and thicken
- Adjust sugar and add the thick coconut milk
- Add the powdered spices
- Serve with the fried garnishes
The traditional version will use fresh squeezed coconut milk and is definitely more flavorful than canned or powdered coconut milk. I like to add a good helping of fried coconut bits to this payasam. It is adds nice contrast to the fairly smooth texture.
This recipe is naturally vegetarian , and can very easily be made into vegan. The only non vegan component here is the ghee used for frying the garnishes and roasting the puree. You could easily substitute it with coconut oil or dry roast the garnishes.
- 500 g Ripe Jackfruit Notes
- 200 g Grated Jaggery About 3/4 C Use as Needed
- 1/4 Tsp Cumin powder
- 1/2 Tsp Ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp Cardamom Powder 2 Pods
- 2 C Grated Coconut Packed
- 3 – 4 C Water Use As Needed
- OR 1 Can Coconut Milk or Equivalent Powder
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Pieces Sliced thin
- 2 – 3 Tbsp Cashew nuts Halves / broken
- 2- 3 Tbsp Raisins
- 1- 2 Tbsp Ghee As needed
Place the jackfruit petals in a pot with 1/2 C water. Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low , place the lid on and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool and blend to a fairly smooth paste.
Melt the jaggery in 1/2 C water. Warm it until the jaggery dissolves completely. Strain and reserve.
Warm the water for coconut milk. Soak the coconut in warm water in batches to extract 1/2 C thick milk , 1 C Medium thick milk and 1- 2 Cups f thin milk. Reserve (See notes).
Heat a thick bottomed pan and add the 1 tbsp ghee to it . Fry the cashew nuts, coconut bits and raisins separately . Reserve.
Add the ground jack fruit to the pan and saute it stirring constantly to prevent burning. When almost dry add 1/2 t 3/4 of the jaggery water to it . Stir to mix. Let it come to a rolling boil and allow the jaggery to caramelize a little.
Add the thin milk and stir well . Let it come to a slow boil over medium heat. Taste and add the remaining jaggery water if necessary. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes for a syrupy consistency.
Add the medium thick milk and bring to boil. Stir continuously and reduce to desired thickness.
Reduce the heat and add the thick milk . Stir well and bring back to a slow simmer. Turn off the heat and add the spice powders and a portion of the fried garnishes. Stir and rest covered for at least 10 minutes.
Transfer to serving dishes, top with the remaining garnishes and serve.
- I can of jackfruit usually yields around 250 g yellow petals. 10 – 15 whole pods.
- For a detailed description of making fresh coconut milk for cooking click here .
- When using canned milk , dilute 1 tbsp of coconut cream with 1 C water to use as thin milk. And use as full strength for thick milk.
- When using coconut milk powder follow the instructions on the packet to make regular strength coconut milk , and dilute to make thin milk.
- Using coconut milk in stages gives it the characteristic caramelized coconut flavor.
- This payasam has a fairly smooth texture. I add a liberal helping of garnishes to add a textural contrast. Use as much/less per your taste.
If making the pradhaman using chakka varatty , heat the thin milk and the chakka varaty together stirring often. The heat will melt it and you will end up with a syrupy liquid. In this case you may need little no jaggery and just adjust the spices and coconut milk to taste.
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