Chakka Kuzhachathu/ Jack fruit Kuzhachathu
Chakka Kuzhachathu/ Jack fruit (unripe) cooked with coconut, is a classic dish devoured in Central Kerala. Unripe Jack fruit/ Raw Jack fruit is cooked with coconut – commonly known as “Chakka Vevichathu or Chakka Puzhukku”. This recipe for Chakka Kuzhachathu is served with Moringayila (Drumstick leaves) chutney. The difference between Chakka Kuzhachathu and vevichathu is the way you chop the unripe jackfruit flesh and scraped coconut is mixed without grinding. Also, a little more water is used to cook, while preparing ‘Chakka Kuzhachathu’.I have slightly modified the recipe by grinding the coconut with green chillies and turmeric for added taste.
Kappa (Tapioca) and Chakka always bring nostalgic memories of childhood. We used to relish all Kappa and chakka delicacies. While Kappa is enjoyed all year round, Chakka season starts in Kerala by February and extends till June-July. It is relished from when it is small and unripe – “Idichakka thoran” is a favourite dish of mine; Idichakka cutlets is another classic. Chakka Kuzhachathu, Chakkakuru(Jack fruit seed) thoran, Chakka varuthathu, Chakkakuru manga curry, Chakka avial – there are umpteen dishes you can prepare with green Jack fruit. The ripe golden fruit is sweet and can be used in preparing chakka payasam, Chakka Halwa, Chakka puttu etc.
This recipe for Chakka Kuzhachathu is Ammamma’s recipe (my dear aunt, an awesome cook, and a very loving, sweet person). A blessed soul who spread so much joy and warmth around. She is still missed dearly, and I can still feel her presence on some days when I am in my kitchen, it is like a soul connection. She used to make this dish during chakka season, and mostly during lent season when we would be abstaining from meat. I drew a lot of inspiration from Ammamma’s cooking, her Prawns Roast and Squid fry recipes are already in my site.
I was just lucky to get some green Jack fruit so early in the season, from my dear friend Binu, God bless her! When she got Jack fruit from her hometown, she asked me if I would like to have a share and I was ecstatic. If you are from Central Kerala, you will love this recipe as much as I do. Kappa Vevichathu and Kottayam Fish curry, Chenda Kappa, Meat Ball curry, Ellum Kappayum, Veppilakkatti, Tharavu pepper roast, Mathi peera, Unakka chemmeen chammanthi, Fish molee, pressure cooked Mathi curry etc. are other native favourites.
Unripe Jack fruit is very healthy and has lots of fiber. It is protein rich, low in calories and boosts immunity which are great for diabetic patients and aids in digestion. Moringayila or drumstick leaves is packed with antioxidants and has calcium, protein, iron and amino acids. The combination of Chakka Kuzhachathu and Moringayila chammanthi makes this dish super beneficial. This is a simple yet tasty dish with few ingredients.
Ingredients for Chakka Kuzhachathu:
Unripe Jack fruit flesh/ Chakka chula
: 1 kg
: 1 cup
Small Onion/ shallots
: 4 -5 nos.
: 2 nos.
: ½ tsp
Cumin Powder (optional)
: ¼ tsp
Ingredients for Moringayila chammanthi:
: ¾ cup
Small Onion/ shallots
: 1 ½ nos.
: ½ tsp
Shallots/ Small Onion
: 3 nos
Dried Red chilly
: 2 nos
Moringayila/ Drumstick leaves
: ½ cup or more
: 1 ½ tbsp
Hope you all know how to cut Jack fruit. Make sure you have a thick sharp knife for easy cutting. Also make sure to grease your hands and knife with coconut oil to prevent the sticky sap from sticking to your knife and hands. Chop into small triangles and take out the meat/ flesh. Remove seeds from the flesh. Cut The flesh into thin strips. For chakka vevichathu, we cut it lengthwise. However, for this recipe – Chakka Kuzhachathu, we cut it width wise for easy cooking and mashing. Grind the coconut, onions, green chilies and turmeric powder coarsely. Adding cumin is optional, in Central Kerala we do not usually add cumin.
Heat a pan and boil 1 and ½ cup water. Add salt to taste. Mix in the chakka strips and mix well. Reduce the flame and cook covered for 3 -4 minutes. Stir well, cover and cook again for 4 minutes, stir and cook more if required. Once it is cooked, and the water is almost absorbed, add the ground coconut mix. Cover and allow the coconut mix to cook on steam for 3 minutes. Mix well and adjust salt. Cover and cook for another minute. Chakka kuzhachathu is ready.
Next, Pluck the drumstick leaves, wash and drain. Grind half cup scraped coconut with shallots, green chili, salt and little water. Heat a pan, add 1 ½ tbsp coconut oil and crackle mustards. Put chopped shallots and fry for a minute and add dry red chilies. Add the moringayila and mix well. Just for few seconds. Switch off the flame. Now, add the ground chutney mix and combine well. Adjust salt if required.
Transfer Chakka Kuzhachathu to a serving plate, part and make a hollow cavity in the middle to pour the chutney.
Serve immediately. Enjoy!
- Cutting the Jack fruit is a little tedious task. Make sure your hands and knife are well greased with coconut oil.
- Coconut should be coarsely ground. You can add curry leaves also while grinding coconut for Chakka Kuzhachathu.
- For this recipe, we cut the flesh width wise into thin strips.
- Cook the unripe Chakka flesh till soft. Adjust the water as per requirement.
- Raw, unripe Jack fruit should be used for preparing this.
- Moringayila leaves should be separated from stem carefully.
Hope you will try this recipe for Chakka Kuzhachathu. Let me know if you like it or share with your friends using the buttons on the side. God Bless!