Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chakkakuru-Cheerathandu Avial/ Jackfruit seeds & Spinach stems in a ground coconut sauce- Re-creating a taste from my memory!

As I opened the vegetable crisper and grabbed the sorry looking raw mango, bought from the lndian store, along with a bunch of red swiss chard, and reached for the frozen bags of drumstick, jackfruit seeds and grated coconut from the freezer, I knew I will not be able to re-create that same taste and texture my taste buds still fantasize........yet the recollection of that plate of Avial my grandma served to me and my uncle that late afternoon decades ago, was chiseled on my memory like the rock carving of that gorgeous goddess at the Hindu temple. Like the brush stroke on an artist’s canvas, the pretty pink hue from the stems of naadan cheera/red spinach stained the ground coconut sauce and jackfruit seeds alike and floated beautifully against an yellow backdrop…….the beauty on the plate tickled my curiosity, the moment grandma served the dish and dazzled my taste buds the moment I had the first bite……the firmness of jackfruit seeds and the aroma from fresh drumstick pieces played beautifully with the coarse texture of the ground coconut sauce, with an undertone of mild sourness from the raw mango. For the first time in my life, I realized that the ever popular Avial has a not–so-famous sibling with a pleasantly unique personality!

That small slice of afternoon from my adolescence and this particular dish I was introduced to , still holds a special place in my taste memories as that was the only time I got to relish this dish. It could be my grand mother’s culinary brilliance to use up the bits and pieces of vegetables lying in the kitchen….or my grandma herself was reminded of one of her favourites, when the fish monger gifted her some fresh raw mangoes and drumsticks or she was just using her imagination and throwing some vegetables at the spur of the moment to come up with a dish that completely changed her grand daughter’s perspectives on the popular dish, Avial.

I knew the entire experience of re-creating this dish long forgotten would not let me relive those moments with my maternal grand mother and uncle yet it was like going back to my roots or rather reconnecting with my past ………I was aware of my limitations while creating such a humble dish which grandma made combining native variety of vegetables, while I used a set of frozen ingredients ……….yet the whole experience was worth especially when CJJ who had his own doubts in the beginning, appreciated the dish, even with the funky taste of the frozen jackfruit seeds!! Now, I know what tops my priority list of must-eat dishes in my next trip to home!

Ingredients: (Approx.)
To Cook:
  • 1 cup Chakkakuru/jackfruit seeds, cleaned and cut into medium pieces (I used frozen)
  • 12-14 one inch length Cheera-thandu/red spinach stems (I used red swiss chard)
  • A handful of raw mango, skin removed and sliced ( adjust as per the sourness)
  • 10-12 drumsticks pieces of 1” length, cleaned and split lengthwise
  • 1-2 green chillies, slit opened lengthwise
  • A small piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp red chilly powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • Water to cook the veggies
  • 1tbsp homemade curd (Optional) *
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
To grind:
  • ¾ cup grated coconut
  • A small piece of ginger, peeled
  • 3-4 Indian green chillies
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • A pinch of cumin seeds/jeera
  • ¼ - ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Grind grated coconut, ginger, green chillies , garlic, cumin seeds with salt and turmeric powder into a coarse paste and keep it aside.
  • In a “mann-chatti” (an earthenware from Kerala), cook jackfruit seeds, stems of red spinach, drumsticks, sliced raw mango, ginger and green chillies by adding some water (very little, just to cook the veggies) along with salt,turmeric and red chilly powder. When the veggies are cooked well, add the ground coconut paste and stir well to coat all the veggies in this ground mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes. Adjust the salt. Crush the curry leaves in coconut oil and pour it to the veggie-coconut mix. Stir gently and turn off the stove. Close with a lid and lock in all the aroma and flavours to embrace each other.
Note *: Addition of curd is optional as traditionally either mango or curd is used as the souring agent. Here I have added both as the raw mango I got last time did not really have the desired sourness.

Related Posts:

Avial Chakkakkuru-Maanga curry


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  1. I have not had chakkakuru after getting married.
    And that will make 18 years ago.
    Wish I had that delicious dish with some rice.

  2. Chakkakuru is something I would die for all the time n miss the most now..I cant find it in indian stores either..:(
    Coincidentally I saw the same recipe in Eastern cookery show(Asianet) y'day..They skipped the drumsticks though..Anyways I got again all-so-nostalgic after seeing this..

  3. I have to try something with jackfruit seeds now!am yet to make something with those. Bookmarking this recipe.

  4. Whoa....I remember eating chakka kuru roasted right from that old fashioned Aduppu burnt with wood.I have to find out whether we do get this here in boston indian stores. Keep dishing out all these recipes and am trying it all on my poor north indian husband and not even compromising on the amount of green chillies :)

  5. ooohh..i looove chakkakuru and cheera avial..i wanted amma to make this for me this time when we went to India, but she cudnt get chakkakuru when we were there.. :(

  6. u make my mouth water as always...kurachu rice kudi kittiyal santhosham !!! :)... hey just curious...what is your name? I know its not Shiny as Shn makes u feel...

  7. This is simply superb.I have everything at home except for the cheerathandu,will manage without it i guess....am making this for lunch tomorow.Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  8. chakkakkuru anything is my absolute absolute favorite. amma always says that the mezhukkupuratti is the most demanding because you take ages to get the seeds ready and once done, they hardly amount to anything.

  9. I am drooling over the pic. This version of avial is not very common in palakkad side. But I have heard about it from my aunt in Aluva. I am going to try this soon. May be I will hv to wait for jackfruit season to arrive.

  10. Looks pretty yummy mishmash..As the scrumptious chakkakkuru-cheerathandu tastes heavenly,it is only natural that we will have an incomplete feeling.esp,grandma's dish ormayil ille ? enkilum undaakkiyallo,kurachu parcel ayakkamayirunnu..lol

  11. oh lawd gal! you got drumsticks in there too?! I'm coming over for some :)

  12. Where did you find Jackfruit seeds here in the US?!?!?!!!!! Is it known by some other name?? Avial looks yummy!! in Karnataka, we make it a little differently.. Avial is a sambhar like gravy for us here!! :)

  13. The jack fruit seeds brought me here. Love them ... but do not get them. HAve been trying to master the art of making Avial ... maybe I'll try your version. :-)
    That's a lovely pic.

  14. even i was thinking of making the same aviyal when i saw the recipe in asianet cookery show ..athil drumstick,curd illa..anyway im going to try this soon.

  15. i dont how you manage to come up with dishes which are my absolute favs...it has been ages since i have had this avial but as I read it the taste simply came to my mind..Everyone at my relations know chakkakuru is a favourite of mine and they usually make it as chakkakuru maanga curry..this one is sure so naadan...as you have said it has recreated the taste atleast in my memory!!:-)

  16. ammmammooo...the Christmas feast!!!!
    what am I seeing...honestly, everything starts with appam n stew, cutletc, duck was a main part and parcel of life for us esp during christmas n easter....but sathyam parayamello, from ur menu...what I was longing to have the mooooost is the payamporie!!!..miss you, dear porie...

  17. Avial looks yummy...I never had jackfruit avial though...umm this avial is calling me try it....nice pic

  18. WOW! I just need that plate now!
    I have so fondly eaten and made a jackfruit seed stirfry with green leaves, but the gravy base was poppy paste(posto in Bengali)
    this just looks so delicious and yummm..
    hugs and smiles

  19. Never tasted anything with jack fruit except the roasted seeds,which strangely tasted tad like chocolate(or was my friend fooling me when she use to bring those chocolaty oblong things and saying those were roasted jack fruit seeds)
    Avial sounds gr8,and anything traditional is divine in taste too isn't it?

  20. this looks awesome eventhough i never heard about this dish before....its usually chera avial for me...but will try it if i can find the chakkakuru here....thanks

  21. hey looks very tempting, never heard of it. will try someday.

  22. Hmmm..i just just love chakkakuru....love anything with it...in my grandma house ,she make a curry with which i absoultely adore...i wish i could have some now....another great dish...


  23. Wow what a dish, things that I would normally have thrown away have been used so beautifully

  24. love this combo!! kodi aavunnu. i used to love these stems in sambhar.

  25. GOD! I have absolutely crazily fallen in love with ur blog!! Cooking is really not what i look forward to .. but am an absolute foodie! and i really appreciate ppl who, unlike me, are fond of cooking! But you!?!?! You're MIND BLOWING!! all the stuff!!! its WOW!!! (am definitely going to make my boy friend visit your blog and be a religious follower of the same!)

  26. Oh, how did I miss this post! Looks delicious. I made a Jackfruit dish too, will post next wednesday. Mine is from the can though, that's all I get! :D

    Have a wonderful weekend, got to go shopping now! :)

  27. Frozen chakkakkuru, that's something I didn't know about.:)
    I do not like jackfruit (I'm odd that way!) except as chips and chakkavaratti but chakka kkuru is something I like. Though I've never seen this combination in an aviyal. Sounds interesting.
    I remember fire roasted chakkakkuru...............

  28. I think I hated most of the malu veggies growing up and now I miss all those goodies!! I'm looking forward to being with family for vishu and having chakkakuru avial, and some fresh chakkapazham too!

  29. Happy Cook, so u divorced chakkakuru, huh?? just kidding..:D

    Varsha Vipins, really? I dont get asianet....i hope u find some chakkakuru soon...mostly kerala stores carry frozen packets.

    DK,hmm. ...it's somewhat similar to chestnuts...

    Sakshi, I forgot the name of the place, but i know for sure that there is a kerala store in boston...a very small store...you may check with your friends.

    Superchef, when i told my mother that i want this dish next time when i come home, thats exactly what she said...that it should be in season !

    Resh, rice ethra venamenkilum tharallo :) yeah , u re right,my name is not Shiny :)

    Nithya, so did u try? how was it?

    Nags, yeah she is so right....ho fresh chakkakuru nte taste adipoli thanneyaa.. :)

    Jayasree,my graqndmother is from alappuzha....i think this is more popular towards aleppey-ktym side

    Ann, hahha....theernnu poyee...eni undakkumbo theerchayayittum ayakkam :)

    Cynthia, hmm...read it frozen drumsticks :D

    Ramya, I found frozen seeds from a kerala store in chicago. yeah, i guess in tamilnadu too, avial is a bit gravy-like...atleast the dish served in our hostel :)

    Sharmila, I hope you enjoy the dish...I have blogged the popular version too...try and let me know...Thanks for dropping by :)

    Prajusha, ellarum aa show ne pattiyanallo parayunne.....online kaanan patto ennu nokkatte :)

    Mathew, hmm...thhat comment puts me at ease....if u re comin home, i need not break my head to fix the menu....i just need to take out all ur comments from the archives to get ur favs and then ofcoz make some "chekkuvinu chakkakuru-manga...: :D

    Sona, hmm...naadan pazhampori and choodan chaaya....naatilekku ticket edukkan thonnunnille?? :))

    Priti, so did you try? :)

    Jaya,wow...posto must be real good with jackfruit seeds...can imagine the taste.....you might like this dish coz of the same creamy texture it brings.

    Alka, hahhah...i think u have every reason to doubt ur friend here :P

    Malli, avial with cheera? i have never tasted that.

    Sneh, thanks for dropping by :)

    Rashmi, grandma;s dishes are always tasty right ?:)

    Sandeepa, I tried coz of the strong taste memories i had :)

    Mallugirl, kurachu ayachu tharatte :P

    Inklets, me fond of cooking..? hmm...debatable...check my latest post :) Thanks a lot for all those encouraging words....it wd be nice if he could cook it for u too..;)

    Asha, hehhe...and mine is from a frozem packet :D

    Aparna, yeah frozen chakkakuru, is the luxury of marunaadan malayalee :)) yeah...i remember u have told me about ur dislike for chakka....send me ur share too :))

    Jyothsna, hmm...i understand...just like I hated puttu and idli...:) so tickets booked for next vacation?


  30. ya i know it bcoz i have read ur previous blogs....but u didnt tellme ur name? u dont want to reveal ur name?? then its ok ...i am sorry, just forget i asked!:)


  31. avial looks very delicious ..love all photos of ur blog

  32. Wow what a coincidence,i wanted to comment and let u knw how it came and u jes asked.I cud make this only yesterday,it was too good.But I made this without the cheerathandu,it still tasted good.Thanks for the wonderful recipe:)

  33. I have never tried avial with chakkakuru...sounds interesting...looks delicious :-)

  34. my lil one would've looked at this one and probably exclaimed "enté maathavé" - super delicious... though i have never had cheerathandu and chakkakuru avial I can imagine the combination and so this is something I will try soon. except cleaning chakkakuru (if i do manage to source it) sounds like pain. btw... inspired by your koorka post i got some recently, even the cleaning was not so bad cos i was thinking of the end product. my kid loved it too - only 2 and she's already a kanji, payar, chammanthi girl!!

  35. Just wanted to tell you once again that I just Loveeeeeeeeeee your blog and am a huge fan. Best part about it is the authentic recipes which you take back home to ur childhood. But your narrative is the cherry on top...and its such a pleasure just to read thru ur experiences. Hats off to you :)
    PS: Is there a section to request recipes from you :D

  36. Dear SHN,

    I really like the look of this. I am going to try this out. You surely are a life saver for every DIL (daughter in law) wishing to make an impression before MIL (mother in law).

    Kolllllamm Adipoli.



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