It is the start of the jackfruit season, and our fifteen or more bearing jackfruit trees are heavy with fruit. They don’t ripen all at once, but over a period of two to three months. So, that gives me ample time to prepare delicious jackfruit dishes to share with you all. The other day, my husband brought in one of our first mature ‘varikka’ jackfruits and set it down in the storeroom for ripening. There are many many varieties of jackfruit, but they are broadly classified into either koozha (pazham) or varikka. Koozha represents fruit which when ripe has fibery, stringy, watery pulp inside, whereas varikka stands for fruit which has firm, thick, juicy, relatively fiber-less pulp.
In three days, our varikka chakka (jackfruit) had ripened and was tickling our noses with its delicious smell. I cut it open and took out the delicious fleshy pulp pods (arils), discarding the seeds. Each mid-sized jackfruit easily yields three to four kilos of pulp. The four of us ate our fill, the children thoroughly enjoying the luscious fruit. When no more could be accommodated in our straining bellies, I found that half the pulp remained in the large bowl, and so I decided to bake a cake with it. This time, I wanted to use jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) in place of the regular refined white sugar we use in cakes. The jackfruit cake, as it baked, brought forth an irresistible, heavenly aroma. After an anxious wait for it to cool, the children cut the cake. As soon as I had a bite from my piece, I knew that here was born something rare, something precious, unique. I just had to share the recipe with you! Enjoy!
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