Saturday, April 30, 2011
Recipe: Chakka Pradhaman
Pradhamans are unique sweet dishes of Kerala. Pradhaman means numero uno. Pradhaman basically is payasam prepared with coconut milk, excepting pradhamans like Palada Pradhaman which is made with dairy milk. Varieties of pradhamans are made in Kerala, like Chakka Pradhaman, Ada Pradhaman, Godambu (Wheat germs - dhalia) Pradhaman, Rice and dal Pradhaman, etc. In the olden days, 4 pradhamans, 4 chips and 4 pickle varieties were served in grand wedding feasts. The concept of serving payasams in cups were not known then. Payasam was served with a big ladle (measuring up to 1 cup) on the banana leaf and 2 to 3 ladles were served at one time and it was repeated for a second and third time. There was a payasa pattu (payasam song) also while payasam was being served. Singing a song during payasam course gave the diners a chance to wait for the payasam to settle down so that they could have another go at it. Chakka Pradhaman is a very important item in any grand feast.
Preparation of chakka pradhaman at home for a few people is very easy if one has chakka varatti (jack fruit jam) readily available. During weddings and other big functions, instant chakka varatti is made. This chakka varatti is not boiled to a very thick consistency as it is used instantly.
When one has chakka varatti at home chakka pradhaman can be prepared at any time. Depending on the sweetness of the jam, one can adjust the amount of jaggery used. My chakka varatti is very sweet and I did not add any jaggery at all.
Chakka varatti: 1 cup
Jaggery: depends on the sweetness of chakka varatti
Coconut milk: extracted from one small coconut
coconut pieces cut into very small bits: 1 tbsp.
dry ginger powder: 1 tsp.
Keep a piece of coconut aside for cutting into small bits (this is for garnish). Extract coconut milk from the coconut as explained here. Heat the third milk in a wide mouthed heavy bottomed pan and melt the jaggery in it. Strain the solution to remove fine sand particles and reheat the same. Add the chakka varatti and keep stirring to dissolve the chakka varatti. The chakka varatti will melt in the coconut milk. Boil until the mixture thickens. Add the second milk and boil again stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens. Finally add the first milk and turn off the stove. Keep stirring until the milk is incorporated. Add the dry ginger powder(chukku podi)
Heat the gheee in a pan and fry the coconut pieces to a golden brown color. Add the jeera.When the jeera crackles pour the ghee with coconut pieces and jeera into the Pradhaman.