Jackfruit (Chakka) grows abundantly in Kerala and other tropical regions. You can find a jackfruit tree in the backyard of almost every house in Kerala. Ripe jackfruit (Chakka pazham) is really sweet and tastes best when in season. There are two varieties of ripe jackfruit in Kerala : Varikka Chakka (firmer and crunchier inner flesh) and Koozha Chakka (soft and moist inner flesh). Raw or unripe jackfruit has a mild flavor and is used in many dishes and also for making crunchy jackfruit chips.
This summer, we were blessed to visit our home town in Kerala and we enjoyed wonderful dishes made by our loving mothers and aunts. Here is the recipe for Chakka Vevichathu or Chakka Puzhukku – Raw Jackfruit cooked with coconut. This is a main dish and is usually served with Fish or a Meat-based curry.
My favorite side dish with Chakka Vevichathu is any spicy Chicken curry like this one. The leftovers can be reheated by either steaming in a Steamer (Appa Chembu) or my preferred way is to saute it in some oil. Sauteing it in coconut oil with mustard seeds, shallots and curry leaves makes it really special. In fact, I feel it tastes better than the original.
- Raw Jackfruit – 1 medium sized
- Water – 2.5 to 3 cups
- Salt – to taste
- Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
- Curry Leaves – 1 sprig (for garnishing)
- Grated Coconut – separated from 1 small coconut
- Green Chilly – 1
- Curry Leaves – 5 small sprigs
- Garlic – 2 or 3 cloves
- Shallots (Kunjulli) – 3 or 4
- Whole Peppers – 1.5 tsp
- Whole Cumins – 1 tsp
- Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Water – 2 tbsp approx
- Cut open the jackfruit and separate the petals or flesh from the seeds.
- Cut the flesh into long strips of more or less the same size. Wash thoroughly. Drain and keep aside.
- Grind the coconut and other ingredients with little water to form a coarse paste. Keep aside.
- In a big pot, add 2.5 to 3 cups of water and a little salt to the jackfruit. Cover and cook on medium heat for around 10 minutes till it is steamy inside.
- Give it a good stir and check if the jackfruit has become soft. It should still be firm and not mushy.
- Add the ground coconut mixture to the jackfruit. Do not stir. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes till more steam is seen on top.
- Now, mix everything thoroughly and do a taste test for salt. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add 1 tbsp of coconut oil to the mixture and stir once more. Remove from heat. Garnish with more curry leaves.
- Do not overcook the jackfruit or it will end up being mushy.
- If there is less water in the pot, the jackfruit might end up sticking to the pan. So adjust water accordingly.