I made elai adai today.
Having given the recipe for making elai adai long ago and having been requested by many friends to post the recipe for chakka varatti (jackfruit jam), the main ingredient in elai adai, I thought of writing it now, years after posting the elai adai recipe.
Preparing jackfruit jam is a laborious process. However, I prefer to prepare it at home as the store-bought jackfruit jam does not taste as good and also does not keep for long. When we were children many many tins of jackfruit jam were prepared at home and stored for the whole year and also for distributing to the extended family members who were living in far off places. We had jack fruit trees in our farm and huge jackfruits, some weighing up to 20kgs would get unloaded every day during the season. That was also the time when all the family members would get together for the summer vacations. It used to be great fun. With the jack fruit cut open and made into small pieces, all the children would sit around and remove the fruit-lets from the thick skin. The jam used to be prepared in huge urulis and the process took 2 or 3 days. It would get cooked on fire wood stoves and after it was boiled for 1 or 2 hours and the fire wood burnt out, it would be allowed to simmer in the heat of the stove.
These days I prepare in smaller quantities in 2 or 3 installments as stirring the thickening jam needs great arm strength.
While getting the jack fruit ready, one needs to oil one's palms before cutting the jack fruit otherwise the sticky resin in the fruit gets stuck in the palm. The fuit lets have to be removed and the white thick bracts on them also need to be removed and so also the seeds. The seeds can be used in many delicious curries.
On to the preparation:
We will go in 2 steps. First step is making jack fruit pulp.
Clean the jack fruit as said above. Cut the fruit lets into small pieces. Pressure cook the jack fruit pieces with enough water to submerge the cut fruit.
Drain the water, cool and run the cooked fruit in the mixie or food processor to get a smooth pulp. Reserve the water for making jaggery syrup.The jaggery for the jam is measured in proportion to the pulp obtained.
On to the 2nd step:-
Fruit pulp as per method above : 1 measure
Jaggery: 1 measure
Ghee : 3 - 4 tbsp.for about three cups.
Melt the jaggery in the water reserved as in the step 1. Strain and heat in a heavy bottomed pan. Use a thick spatula to mix the jam.Add the fruit pulp and keep stirring until the whole mass thickens. This would take about 3-4 hours. This can be done in various stages also. Once the jaggery and the fuit pulp starts thickening, the preparation can be stopped and continued next day. The end point is when the jam leaves the sides of the pan rolls around the spatula. Add 3 tbsp. ghee and mix well. Allow to cool. Store in a clean,air tight plastic/stainless steel container and pour 1 tbsp of ghee on top.It can also be stored in zip lock bags. It keeps good in room temperature if prepared strictly according to procedure. It can safely be refrigerated for up to 2 years.
Enjoy preparing Elai Adai, Chakka Pradhman, Elai Kozhukkattai or have with Adai or Dosa.