Wednesday, 18 April 2012




          For generations, Malayalis have used jackfruit to make their favorite ‘chakka puzhukke which is enjoyed either by itself as the main dish or with ‘kanji’ which is rice gruel. The seeds and the fleshy pulp jacket of fully mature, unripe jackfruit are used to make this wonderful dish. Though there are many slightly different versions prevalent all over Kerala, I wish to give you two of my very best recipes.

          For both recipes, I use only ‘varikka chakka’, the best among the two broad categories of jackfruit in existence. The other category, ‘koozha chakka’ or ‘pazham chakka’ is avoided because it is full of fibrous strings in slushy flesh when cooked and gets stuck to one’s throat.

          However, the second category is good for making crispy jackfruit chips, ‘chakka varattiyathe’ (a sort of jackfruit jam which can be enjoyed as such or used as a chief ingredient to make other jackfruit dishes), jackfruit wine, salted jackfruit, etc. So if you can manage to get your hands on the right jackfruit, be sure to prepare and to enjoy this recipe.

Ingredients (for 6 to 8 persons):

     1)    Clean pulp jacket extracted from a fully mature unripe ‘varikka’ jackfruit – 1350 gm.

     2)    Cleaned jackfruit seeds with the thin red inner skin intact – 350 gm.

     3)    Medium sized fresh coconut – 1 no.
     4)    Hot green chilies – 3 Nos.
     5)    Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
     6)    Garlic – a small pod
     7)    Tender curry leaves – 3 sprigs
     8)    Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
     9)    Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
     10)     Powdered salt – 2½ teaspoons

To Cook:

          Peel and separate the garlic cloves. Cut the jackfruit pulp jackets roughly to square pieces of around an inch in size (see note no. 1).

          Chop the seeds to half inch bits (for tips on cutting up the jackfruit, see my crispy jackfruit chips recipe).

          Put the chopped bits and pieces into a 5 litre pressure cooker and set aside. Break the coconut taking care to collect the coconut water. Sieve and set aside. Grate the coconut. Put the grated coconut, the green chilies, the cumin seeds and the garlic cloves into a food processor and grind to rough paste without adding any water.

          Sprinkle the turmeric powder and the powdered salt over the bits in the pressure cooker. Put in the coconut paste. Mix well with a ladle. Pour in the coconut water. Now pour in plain water to immerse just more than half the ingredients. Pluck the curry leaves off their sprigs and tip them in. Mix nicely again.

          Close the lid and set on high heat. As soon as you hear the first whistle, turn down the heat to minimum. Continue to cook for 2 more minutes and then switch off the heat. Let the cooker cool naturally. Do not let out the steam. This will give it enough time to cook the jackfruit to perfection. Once all the steam has subsided, open the cooker. Dribble the coconut oil over the chakka puzhukke.

          Serve fresh and hot. The aroma of the chakka puzhukke is so inviting and appetizing that you will find yourself hungry and salivating. So set out your plates and tuck in.


     1)    The fruit pulp and the seeds need to be scrupulously clean. No other parts such as the nylon-like strands or the plastic-like whitish seed coat should find their way into the puzhukke. It is worse than finding bones in fish fillets since these things stick to one’s palate and throat

     2)    This is the mild version which is much loved. If you need more heat, you can add more green chilies.

     3)    Chakka puzhukke helps greatly to relieve constipation since the fibre in the jackfruit aids in cleaning out the intestines.

     4)    Chakka puzhukke needs to be eaten fresh and hot since it loses taste when chilled or reheated. So if you are cooking for just 2 or 3 persons, take care to reduce the ingredients proportionately.

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