Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jack in the Parcel

Recipe: Steamed Jackfruit Parcels / Kumbal Appam

It's jackfruit season and the jackfruit trees are full of them.



Jackfruit is eaten in many forms in Kerala. In fact, even the jackfruit seeds are cooked / fried and relished. The raw jackfruit is a good source of carbohydrates and cooked with coconut and spices and eaten as a main course and substitute for rice. A certain variety of raw jackfruit can also be fried to make jackfruit chips. When the jackfruit is ripe, it is very sweet and can be eaten uncooked as a fruit or made into a variety of sweet dishes.

With such a large number of jackfruits at our disposal when we were in Kerala, we made many dishes out of them and had our cravings satisfied.. at least for a while.

The recipe I'm posting today is of a really easy and common dish in Kerala, made with ripe jackfruit and roasted rice-flour. They are traditionally wrapped in the fragrant Malabathrum (Elamangam / Edana) leaves and steam cooked. Malabathrum leaves have a lovely cinnamon-like fragrance. This fragrance is imparted to the dish when it is wrapped in these leaves and steam cooked.

In case, this particular type of leaves are not available, this dish can also be made wrapped in banana leaves and then steam-cooked. On doing so, since the dish will not have the wonderful smell from the Malabathrum leaves, a tiny pinch of cinnamon powder can be added to the dough before steaming it.



This recipe is actually a combination of the my recollection of mom's version + MIL's version + Suja chechi's version (Suja chechi is our all-in-one help around the house). I just took what I felt best from each of these versions :)

STEAMED JACKFRUIT PARCELS / KUMBAL APPAM
Recipe Source: MIL, Mom, Suja chechi


Ingredients:


Mashed jackfruit pulp - 1 cup
Roasted rice flour - 3/4 to 1 cup
Jaggery syrup - 3-4 Tbsp (Adjust this as per the sweetness of the jackfruit and individual preferences)
Grated coconut - 3/4 cup
Cumin powder - 1 pinch
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch
Salt - 1 pinch

Malabathrum leaves - 10 - 12 nos
(If these leaves are not available, then these can be made in banana leaves as well. If doing so, in order to compensate for the lack of the lovely cinnamon-like fragrance of the Malabathrum leaves, add a pinch of cinnamon powder as well.)

If the jackfruit is of the very fibrous variety, then strain the jackfruit pulp in a strainer with big holes and discard the long fibres.

Start with 3/4 cup of roasted rice flour and mix all the ingredients together (except the malabathrum leaves) to form a dough that is not flowy and can be formed into shapes. If the dough is still not thick enough, add a couple of Tbsp more of roasted rice flour.

Wash and dry the malabathrum leaves. Form the leaves into a conical shape - the shiny side inside. Use half a   tooth-pick or a piece of bamboo skewer to hold the leaf in the conical shape. I used the stiff mid-rib of a coconut leaf (eerkili)

Fill the conical shaped leaves with the jackfruit dough. Place the steamer on a medium flame. When the water starts boiling, place the leaf parcels filled with dough into the steamer.

Steam them covered for about 25 minutes or till a toothpick / bamboo skewer when inserted  into the leaf parcels and removed comes out clean.

When cooked, the malabathrum leaves will lose their dark green colour and be faded.




On unwrapping the parcels, and biting into these soft delicacies, the heavenly smell of cooked jackfruit and the spices is simply amazing. Kids love them especially for their conical shape






Off these go to the Kerala Kitchen of this month hosted by Ria.

This jackfruit and rice flour based sweet also goes to Sugar High Fridays featuring Rice sweets hosted by Rose of Magpie's Recipes

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