Sunday, June 8, 2008

Idichakka Thoran – Tender Green Jackfruit pounded and stir-fried with a touch of grated coconut!

Multi-colored candy rings of Poppins for a pack of Camel crayons…a stack of paper labels for a sheet of sticker labels… Archie & Jughead Double Digest for a packet of Luxor sketch pens… Bobanum Moliyum for a bar of 5 Star….colour chalks for those pretty white erasers wrapped with blue paper coming from Gulf…… SportsStar Magazine poster for a one day loan of ankle shoes to wear on the dress down day in bangles for ‘foreign’ hair band……..Don’t you think the elements of barter system was quite deep rooted in our lives even as kids? Did those elements fade away when we grew up?If you are beginning to say yes, wait….. How about that time, when you borrowed your friend’s branded jeans in exchange of your Physics record book? and the other time you exchanged a Nike cap for a Bryan Adams cassette ..and the other time you exchanged your jute handbag for an ikat dhupatta….and then other time you gave your history lecture notes for passing …… to …….you know it, don’t you? :P

Well, the practice of bartering was not just with stationery items or for a piece of cloth, it extended to food too, especially during the college days…….don’t you agree? We used to exchange our lunch and sometimes lunch boxes itself…..A’s appam and chilli chicken used to be with L whose chammanthi podi and kovakka mezhukkupuratti was for S, whose Idichakka thoran for my chappathi and beef fry! Butterfly days filled with rainbow colors!!! I was always excited about S’ Idichakka Thoran, which she used to bring over a layer of rice, mixed with Ulli Theeyal, in an oval shaped stainless steel lunch box, wrapped with a white and blue checkered cotton towel …….it was a simple preparation of tender green jackfruit with a touch of grated coconut, lightly spiced up with green chillies and a dash of pepper powder.

For my father, Idichakka Thoran is more than a side dish……during his childhood, it was an evening snack served with Kattan chaya/Black Tea! Surprising, isn’t it? But if you go back to 5 or 6 decades and look at a family with a dozen kids ( Oh yeah, my paternal house has enough members for an army battalion!) and a huge backyard with plentiful traditional veggies and fruits, enough to prepare a traditional feast and then sometimes, even the side dishes used to get its prime time show at the coffee table!

Side dish or snack, Idichakka Thoran is a traditional member of Kerala Cuisine that sometimes finds its place on ‘Thoosan ela’, depending on the season. Idichakka is tender green jackfruit, which weighs somewhere from ½ kg to 1 kg ; cleaned and diced, it goes into the ‘ural', and then pounded with a ‘ulakka’ (hence the name Idichakka) , the bigger version of today’s tabletop mortar and pestle set and then steam cooked and stir fried with a touch of grated coconut , mildly spiced up with green chillies, ginger, shallots and cumin and seasoned with our quintessential coconut oil, mustard seeds, dry red chillies and last but not the least, the fresh and fabulous, curry leaves.

  • 280gm cleaned and diced Idichakka/Tender & young green jackfruit ( I used canned, brined in water from a brand called, CHAOKOH)
  • ½ tsp + ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Around ½ cup water or just enough to cook Idichakka/Tender & young green jackfruit
  • 1/3 cup tightly packed grated coconut
  • 2small red pearl onions/shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 green chillies, finely chopped
  • ½ - ¾ tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper powder
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 1 ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 whole dry red chillies
  • ¼ tsp Uzhunnu parippu/Black grams/urad dal
  • Start by rinsing the drained Idichakka/Tender & young green jackfruit pieces in water, if you re using the canned product. Shred the pieces, using a fork or nature’s best tool, your fingers. In a skillet, throw in the shredded jackfruit flesh, salt, ½ tsp turmeric powder and around ½ cup of water or just enough to cook Idichakka/Tender & young green jackfruit and cook covered, till it is soft and almost done and then keep the lid open and let the water evaporate, in low heat; when it is done, transfer everything to a bowl. OR if you are using fresh Idichakka/Tender & young green jackfruit, cook and then shred the pieces by pounding them using a mortar and pestle set or pulse them in a processor, one or two times.
  • Meanwhile, crush and blend grated coconut, chopped green chillies, ginger, small onions, cumin seeds and turmeric powder with a dash of salt, using your hands or pulse one or two times in a times.
  • Using a kitchen napkin, dry the skillet, in which you cooked Idichakka/Tender & young green jackfruit. Heat oil in the same pan, and splutter mustard seeds, followed by Uzhunnu parippu/Black grams and dry whole red chillies. Sauté for 30-40 seconds; sprinkle freshly ground pepper powder and combine well with the coarse coconut mixture. To this add the cooked and shredded Idichakka/Tender & young green jackfruit and stir well and cook covered, in medium heat, for a minute or two. Do a taste test, adjust the salt and tear some fresh curry leaves and stir well; cook without the lid for a minute and turn off the stove.
  • Serve with Kuthari choru or Kanji or as in the olden times, serve as an evening snack with a cup glass of black tea!
You may check out other Thoran (Vegetable Stir fries with grated coconut) , recipes from this blog:

Zucchini Stir Fry/Thoran Cabbage Thoran

This post is part of SADYA VIBHAVANGAL – Learn to make the traditional Kerala Feast- An Artist’s Edible Palette!

Grandmoms used Ural and Ulakka, Moms use tabletop mortar and pestle sets, and we use food processors...where re we going next??

Have a beautiful week ahead!

Update: You may also add a small garlic in the crushed coconut mixture as it is good for digestion.


No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.


  1. That looks so yum, Shn! I will look for the Chakoah raw jackfruit can in the Indian store next time.

  2. Wonderful looking Idichakka here, nostalgic ur write up made me-barter! ;):D

  3. Wonderfl ! We too prepare a variation of this but with some mustard paste. Sometimes even with Sesame seed paste.

  4. Oh, I KNOW how tasty this dish is, I made this for RCI Kerala, LOVED it! Looks so good shn, lucky you, EAT!!

    You will get a award for making this dish on Wednesday!:)

  5. Wow you get iddichakka there.
    I don't remember the last time i ate them.
    Just reading your recipe i was drooling.

  6. Delicious..i love idichakka.My mom makes this thoran and yummy curry that tastes just like chicken curry.
    I used to buy frozen from a malayee store nearby.Thanks for telling us the brand, will buy that.I use the same brand's coconut milk.

  7. i love the pics. and i love this dish.

  8. Amma would make this for us and I was happy eating with curd rice. I completely forgot abt the existence of this dish. THanks

  9. great !!
    idichakka thoran reminds me of my kerala trips bck home!!

  10. We make a similar version of this dish, too, Shn. Yours looks delicious!! You are so right about lunch bartering... We used to do it all the time even here in the US! :)

  11. I make it the same way(minus the pepper and ginger) and I use the same brand too. Mine has never looked as glamorous as yours!

  12. I learned about jackfruit last year on someone's blog, but I have yet to have it. Perhaps I should go to an Indian market?

  13. Its nice to revisit memories from the kitchen, though chakka is not something I like. Except "varaval" and "varatti"!

  14. I've seen thoran after thoran on so many blogs, in so many variations. This is beautiful, Shn. Is green jackfruit like green mango, sour instead of sweet?

  15. Idichakka and ulli theyal were the most hated dishes - I struggled to have them as a kid!! And now my husband loves theeyal so much, I'm sure he'd love iddichakka too.

  16. Have i told you this before.No probs, will tell you again.You have a great site and pics on the site leaves us drooling.I am not a food blogger, but an avid food blog hopper...hop,hop hop through the wonderful world of food created by so many like you.Thanx for your time and patience.

  17. I think that this barter system is a girl's stuff...guys just take it from others without asking!!

    Idichakka thoran is a fav of mine too...although we call it by a different name which I forgot btw..;-P

    If you ask me my favourite curry for rice..its chakka kuru maanga this thoran actually reminds me of that!!

  18. Wow very new dish for me,I love raw jackfruit and I guess this would be tasting great with coconut.

  19. Thank you so much for the recipe.I made it today and it came out great.

  20. idi chakka thoran is my absolute favourite.....i haven't seen it till now in my place ..
    sorry for calling you back... could you call me this side when free...seem to have lost your no.

  21. wish I still lived in NJ, Jackfruit was quite often available at store...

  22. I live in a suburb abt 30 miles from chicago.So i know only malayali store is the one near by my place called A1 store.From this store i get all kind of fish ( frozen) and meat.And some good malayalee groceries.About Maveli store , i haven't heard abt yet.Let me ask around and let you know..ok

  23. thoran looks delecious mishmash

  24. a yummy kerala delight...reminds me of home

  25. thats my fav dish and we call it gujje palya in mangalore:) dont u simply love to eat those 'small eyes' u get :) we kids would fight to get maximum number of those eyes... i have a tin of it in my pantry and will cook and post mangalorean version of this thoran :)

  26. raw jackfruit is my fav...somtimes i get fresh one...ur dish looks too good and tempting

  27. I was reading this book "House of Blue Mangoes" and it reminded me of your tales.
    Shredding the jacfruit and cooking it...that must be something

  28. Shn, I had this a decade back when one of my neighbours had made for us. After that I never got a chance to have it again and seeing it here today I have my mouth watering.. I will surely give this a try!!

  29. Idichakka thoran as a snack, I am in :D It is one of my all time favorite thorans... I had some fresh this time when I went to Kerala... It looks delicious Shn... I tried the canned version once, guess I have to give it one more go....

  30. Looks great!
    Nice write up supported with nice pics...
    Felt good to visit your blog...
    Happy blogging!

  31. Vani, some indian stores many not carry it, in which case you check your local asian store.

    Purnima, thanks you :)

    Lakshmi, sesame seeds paste...hmm you got me all curious:)

    Asha, oh yes I remember your fabulous Kerala spread......:) Thanks Asha, I am flattered :)

    Happy Cook, its chakka season back mother tells me stories of chakka distribution, and making all types of chakka delicacies :) you have no idea how much I am craving for some :)

    Mahe, I associate kadachakka more for its meaty texture....varutharacha curry with that is scrumptious......i dont even have hopes of finding canned ones here :(

    Bee, thanks :)

    Shankari, i think this dish goes well with anythin which is light on its own....

    mr, welcome here :)

    kalai, you re lucky! :)

    tbc, infact you may add garlic mother adds it, as ginger and garlic is good for digestion, especially with ingredients like chakka..pepper is also a nice touch....try it next time and see if you like the additions :)

    Susan, since you re in San Diego area, you might even find a fresh one , susan.....ripe ones are really tasty and these raw one are used for stir fries....asian store or indian store is the ideal place to look for these ...good luck:)

    Mocha, ikkat is a beautiful fabric woven by is pretty in cotton as well as in silk has the same concept of tye and dye but designs are wayyy refined than the regular tye and dye type...check for either a saree or dhupatta, next time when you go to may also check this link

    Aparna, I will gladly take your share of chakka too...i just love it :)

    Susan, thoran is a Kerala specialty..a side dish with an everyday meal.....nope, raw jackfruit is not like raw mango....this one doesnt have any taste as such has a texture that gets highlighted when flavored with grated coconut and mild spices......

    Jyothsna,both are my favourites.....sometimes i crave for a nice bowl of warm ulli theeyal :D

    Farah, if it is nice things, it is ok to say it again n again and listen as well :) Thank you ! Happy hopping !

    Mathew, i feel guys become so 'coool' when they grow up but when they re kids, they do some bartering...i have heard some of CJJ's boarding school stories and some from my bro too...btw, chakka kuru ennokke parayalle...., i'm staying in a pattikadu without any access to these stuff and to make things worse my mother is sending me pics of chakka from our backyard, then the chakka varatti and chips she made.....i just feel like catching the next flight :( if i get some chakka kuru, that dish will surely get featured here :)

    Pearlsofeast, yes, pls try and let me know :)

    Manju Nair, thank you for the feedback....really appreciate it :)

    Nanditha, sure i will call you this week itself....:)

    Gattina, I wish the same too ! :)

    Mahe, thanks a lot for such a fast response.....might go there, thats why thought of checking with you :)

    Sagari, Vandana,thank you girls :)

    Sia, I think palya is managlorean cousin of kerala thoran, right?:)

    Suma, fresh re lucky :)

    Sandeepa, I hope it is some nice pleasant aspect of the book that reminded you of the tales here :P

    Swati, since you liked the dish, i guess it is worth giving a try :)

    Sig, oh yeah it was the right time the ripe ones are in mother is killing me telling me all the stuff she made using the ripe seems they have too many of them and none to eat!!! :)

    Foodiefriend, thanks for a warm feedback....welcome here :)


  32. This is new to me.....looks grt.....must taste grt too....good blog there-...will check more often here


  33. mmm my mom used to make this and serve as side dish for kanji:) sooo tasty and nutritious:)

  34. kollam
    njanum onnu pareekshichu..

  35. Shn,
    I tried this idichakka thoran and it tasted yum. I've put a picture in my blog


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