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Day 12: Summer Sweet Post!

Today's post is a very sweet one. Read on to know why so. This post brings so many pleasant memories and a great joy. This is a speciality in summer and hence, the title.

As I was clearing my refrigerator today and getting chores done for the next couple of days ahead, I took out a pack of 'chakka varatti' (by the way, as I was typing, this was auto-correcting my varatti to variety)! It is one of my most favorite. Favorite is an understatement. By the way, chakka varatti' means Jackfruit Jam. The reason it got its english name is because, when the Portuguese entered Kerala, they saw this fruit and since it is called chakka, they borrowed it in their language. Hence, jaca in portuguese was used to name it jackfruit in englishInteresting to see how languages and culture evolves!

Picture Courtesy: Palakkad Chamayal Blog
So, this is a jam made out of jackfruit and jaggery (raw sugar). My mom (and my grandma too) usually adds a little bit of dry ginger and cardamom and one can add ghee (just very little). The last one is love. Just a lot of it. Yes, I said lots of it because, you need to have a lot of patience to make it. One needs to put in a lot of effort to get this right.

Jackfruit tree is a very important tree in the state where I come from-God's own country, Kerala. The fruit is used in a variety of ways. From making delicious side dishes for rice, to desserts and sweets, we also make snacks out it. We in fact use almost every part of the fruit. Even the leaf of this tree is used as a spoon to have kanji. We use the wood to make musical instruments. In fact, my A's veena is made of this.

Every India trip calls for at least a little bit of these delicious goodies from home sweet home. Of course, if it is available, it then comes with me to the US. This is surely among one of the best from my mom's adukkala. I have never tried making it, except once when I remember I was just stirring it as my mom was making it. Just a little bit of stirring, nothing much at all. I do wish, I can try my hand at it one day.

It is very hard to explain why I love it so much. Of course, we do not (and it is better not to) eat it regularly. If done well, it can stay fresh for a long time, even longer than 2 years. I have never tried the packaged jackfruit that you see in the Indian stores, here in the USA. In fact, this year for Vishnu, I was able to pick a small fruit from an Indian store. I was very excited, almost shrieked seeing one here. It  looked nice for kani, but surely was not even close to being an edible jackfruit.We got this jackfruit with an idea that it looked like the 'idi chakka' and we could make some side dish (thoran). Unfortunately, it was not usable. We had to discard it.

If you have not tried it, find a Mallu friend and maybe try it. We, malayalees are everywhere, so, it will be easy to find one ! I have also linked the recipe page to the picture. I took the picture from that blog. The first one is a recipe for jackfruit jam and click on this one to know about how to use this jam to make the pradhaman, another delicacy from my state. The first picture's link is one of my favorite cooking blog!

Have 'sweet dreams'. 
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