Chakka (Jack fruit) is a seasonally available fruit and there are several delicious ways in which we can prepare jack fruit. Chakka varatti is a popular jack fruit delicacy of Kerala which is made with fully ripe jack fruit bulbs. Chakka varatti is mainly a preserve and if made in the right consistency can be stored and used for more than a year. It can be used as a jam or it can be served as a dessert. This is also used as a main ingredient to make Chakka pradhaman( Kheer) which is made by diluting varatti with coconut milk , or used as a stuffing to kumbilappam and ila ada ( as a filling to make steamed dumplings). Making this preserve involves lot of patience and labor. Fully ripe jack fruit bulbs has to be first cooked with jaggery and ghee and then reduced to the form of a halwa. There is also a quicker version. You can steam the jackfruit and make it into a puree,if you like the jam like consistency. Here I have used the traditional method itself. I like mine a bit like crunchy, so did not mash it evenly. I also like adding a little of thick coconut milk while cooking the jack fruit. It enhances the taste but the shelf life will be reduced. This can be served as a wonderful dessert.
Ripe Jack fruit chopped- 31/2 cup
Jaggery powdered- 2 cup
Ghee- 1/3 cup
Cardamon powder- 1 tsp
Dry ginger powder- 1/2 tsp( optional)
De-seed jack fruit bulbs and cut into small pieces. Discard the seeds. Boil jaggery with 1/2 cup of water till completely dissolved, strain and keep aside.
Take a heavy bottom pan and cook the chopped jack fruit with 1/2 cup of water. Stir occasionally.Let it cook completely and starts getting mashed up or mash with the aid of a potato masher. Add in jaggery and let it cook and reduce. Stir continuously at this stage as the mixture will have a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add in ghee little by little and when mixture thickens add cardamon and dry ginger powder and stir continuously till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and roll to form a dark soft ball. Let it cool down completely and keep it in air tight containers. You can refrigerate it for more than two months.
Hope you will all enjoy.