Chakka Pradhaman (Ripe Jackfruit Pudding)

The sweet, pudding-like dish has several names across India, depending upon the region you hail from – payasam, payesh, kheer and many more. These are traditional preparations, often using refined sugar or jaggery. The South Indian ones tend to be watery and is often drunk from a glass. The North Indian ones are thicker and can be had like a pudding. But whatever consistency it comes in, kheers are delicious. These are often prepared as offerings to the Gods on festival days. This one, using ripe jackfruit, is one of my favourites. It is only rarely that you find ripe jackfruit in North India, though it is now in season and plentifully available in other parts of the country. I was fortunate to find some for Vishu (the Kerala New Year) and made this delicious payasam.

Ingredients
1 heaped cup of finely chopped, ripe jackfruit
3/4 cup water
1 cup date paste
1 cup thin coconut milk
1 cup thick coconut milk|
1/4 tsp ginger powder (sonth, chukku)
1/4 tsp cumin powder (jeera powder, jeeraga podi)
1/2 tsp cardamom powder (elaichi powder, elakai podi)
10-12 unsalted cashew nuts
10-12 raisins
1-2 tbsp finely chopped coconut bits
Method
Clean and deseed the jackfruit
Chop into fine pieces
Transfer to a vessel and add water
Cover and cook on medium flame, till the jackfruit is soft and mushy (add more water, if necessary)
Switch off flame and mash (or blend) the pulp
Add date paste to the jackfruit pulp
Adjust water to desired consistency
Put the vessel back on the stove, on low flame
Add thin coconut milk and mix well
Simmer till the mixture thickens
Reduce flame to minimum and add the thick coconut milk
Mix well and switch off flame
Add ginger powder, cumin powder and cardamom powder
Mix well and set aside
Heat a wok and roast the cashew nuts, stirring often
Once the cashews are light brown, add the raisins and coconut bits
Roast for about 30-40 seconds
Switch off flame and add this to the cooked jackfruit
Cover and set aside for about 5 minutes
Serve hot or chilled
Enjoy!


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