Chakka Ada ( Steamed jack fruit cake)

“…the usual should be made unusual; extra ordinariness should cloak the ordinary.”

I wait all throughout the year for two seasonal fruits- Mango and Jack fruit. Mangoes are easily available in Bangalore but its hard to find jack fruit like we do in Kerala. And the ones we get in malls in packed form is exorbitantly priced. It’s always hard to pay for stuff that grows back home in your backyard. So like every typical Malayalee we avoid buying coconut and jack fruit which is dutifully provided by both our parents. My mother is a professional when it comes to preserving stuff she wants to share with her daughters. So every year I receive a packet of ripe jack fruit pulp, jack fruit  seeds and raw jack fruit in frozen form to last me 3 months. Mom has been continuing this tradition ever since I got married and this year too she showed up with her produce. Last year I made chakka uniyappam with the ripe jack fruit pulp a recipe that never showed up here and still awaits in my folder. I made this ada from the pulp I received this year. I regretted not having banana leaf to make my ada. The ada I made was wrapped in a plastic sheet in a plastic city making us miss Kerala so badly. Had we been home we would have had no issues grabbing a banana leaf from our backyard. But we at least had the jackfruit all the way from home to compensate for our lack of everything else. Now I didn’t have to work from scratch for this because the jackfruit pulp had jaggery and cardamom powder in it and was prepared in the form of what we call a ‘chakka varatiyathu’ ( jackfruit pulp with spices). So all I did was add some rice flour and grated coconut and steam this ada. But technically if you have ripe jackfruit in store you have a longer procedure to follow. I will share the recipe borrowing half from mom because she did the first half and the other half of what I did.
Jack fruit  is apparently  considered to be quite healthy a fruit and it is believed to prevent cancer, good for eye sight, blood pressure, anemia and digestion. So don’t miss this fruit, I have heard they pickle raw jack fruit in the north of India and that’s on my wishlist for next year. Wait for my post on the chakka uniyappam but for now try some ada its a steamed delicacy and therefore very healthy.

By the way any idea why it’s called Jack fruit? I am clueless

Ingredients for Chakka Ada

Ripe Jackfruit- 300 gm
Jaggery- 200 gm
Coconut grated- 1 cup
Rice Flour- 1 cup
Cardamom powder- 1 tsp
Water- 2 cups
Ghee- 1/4 cup


Now this might seem too tedious to many of you. You have to start with heating the jaggery with 2 cups of water till the jaggery melts completely. Let this mixture cool. Chop the ripe jack fruit into pieces. Cook it on slow fire. There is no need to add water as the jack fruit breaks down it will release water. Once the jack fruit is cooked ( don’t mash it completely let some pieces be there to bite into) add the jaggery and cardamom powder. Cook till the water content is lost and the jack fruit becomes a thick pulp.

Method 1

Boil some water in another pan. Add salt to the rice flour and set aside in a bowl. Now pour the boiled water into the flour and mix it using a spoon at first and one the dough cools down with your hands. You can now for thin crepes out of this dough and fill in the jack fruit pulp and there after steam these adas.

Method 2
 I chose another method. I added the rice flour directly into the pulp along with some grated coconut and made thin pancakes that were eventually steamed. If you have access to banana leaves apply some oil onto a small piece of the leaf and make the pancake by spreading the dough onto the leaf. Fold into half and steam the adas. I used plastic sheets.

This does not require oil so I directly applied the dough onto the plastic sheet and closed them into half and finally steamed them for 10 minutes. I was lazy to knead the dough separately so I mixed flour into the pulp but traditionally ada is made both ways.

I am not someone who snacks and never had the fortune to snack on these stuff in my childhood. Being far away from my granny in a foreign land, I was denied these treats and my mom never was home to make us snacks for tea. So these treats are rarely made in my kitchen.  We often call these treat ‘naalu mani palaharam’ which means ‘four ‘o’ clock’ snacks. But in today’s busy world who has time for such elaborate snacks? So whenever we get together with our loved ones during vacation, I try to experiment some of these stuff to chronicle them for my kids and loved ones who are in search of these recipes. It’s more like my effort to salvage some of the dying recipes that might not be seen in the next generation. With mom coming down for Christmas, I plan to learn some authentic snacks from her, my last refuge in this renaissance cooking spree :)

Stay tuned for some diabetic recipes coming up soon…….

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