As lady superstar Nayanthara and director Vignesh Shivan tied the knot last week, every bit of wedding trivia from the star couple’s attire to the menu hogged the limelight. And to the absolute delight of jackfruit lovers in Kerala, the Kathal biryani (jackfruit biryani) emerged as a star attraction.
However, they have one grievance - not many paid any heed to those who have been preparing the chakka biryani for years in Kerala. For Keralites who seem to be reluctant to give the precious jackfruit its due, it took the star-studded wedding to be reminded about the delectable chakka biryani.
But there are several food aficionados who prepare various jackfruit dishes on demand. One such collective of jackfruit lovers is the Chakkakkoottam WhatsApp group. This group also helps several of its members to find a market for their jackfruit products.
When the news reports of Nayanthara wedding were posted on this group, several members shared their own experiences of whipping up chakka delicacies.
Group member Sheeba, a Kannur native, said that she has been preparing chakka biryani for the past 10 years. Sheeba said that if Keralites stop neglecting the jackfruit, they could conquer even the global market with the chakka products.
Sheeba, who has been selling her home-made jackfruit products at various fests, has years of experience in this field. She also said that chakka biryani can be kept in the freezer for a long time without getting spoiled.
Sheeba, who graciously shared her recipe for the readers, also vouched that it is very easy to make chakka biryani.
Another group member Suhara P M Kutty, a native of Karinkallathani near Perinthalmanna, also has some titbits to share about the chakka biryani. Her speciality is chakka madal biryani.
These gourmets also point out that the chakka biryani has a very distinctive taste than the other traditional biryanis. They urge everyone to try making the chakka biryani instead of wasting away the jackfruit for the lack of better options.
A company born out of a WhatsApp group!
The WhatsApp group of jackfruit aficionados was created in 2019. Initially, this group had only members from Ernakulam and nearby areas. Today, it has expanded into three groups and includes 681 members from various parts of the globe. Two of the three groups are exclusively for jackfruits, while one stands as a common group for jackfruit, mango and other fruits. Ashok Ram, who is also a photographer, is the group admin.
From this group, where members bonded over their love for chakka delicacies, was born a company specifically for jackfruit products. And it was named after the very WhatsApp group it originated from - Chakkakkoottam International Pvt Ltd. The company was registered in 2021 and it has launched 10 products by now.
Coming soon - Chakka biryani from Chakkakkoottam
Sabu Aravind, one of the directors of Chakkakkoottam International company, has said that the company is also gearing up to sell chakka biryani. The idichakka biryani would be sold in packets and would be helpful for those who do not have the time to cut open a jackfruit and make the delicacy.
Chakka biryani recipe
Prepared by - Sheeba
Jackfruit - a quarter portion of a ripe jackfruit including chakka madal (rind)
5 chakka kuru (jackfruit seeds)
1/4 cup chakka chavini
2 garlic cloves
1 large piece of ginger (crushed)
5 green chillies
2 sprigs of coriander leaves
2 sprigs of mint leaves
2 spoons of poppy seeds (washed and soaked)
1/4 cup coconut
1/4 cup curd
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
Salt, as required
1 tsp ghee
2 tsp coconut oil
Marinate the jackfruit with a mix of turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Set aside.
Heat ghee and oil in a pan. Add onions and then garlic. When the onions turn golden brown, add the jackfruit and saute well.
Add tomatoes and cook on low heat. Add all the powders, and when the mix turns aromatic add the poppy seeds. And finally add coriander leaves and mint leaves, and remove the pan from the fire once well-cooked.
2 cups of biryani rice
1 tsp ghee
1 tsp oil
1 inch piece of cinnamon
1 pandan leaf
1 allspice leaf
1 sprig of coriander leaves
Salt, as required
4 cups of hot water
¼ tsp lemon juice
¼ rose water
Wash and drain the rice. Heat oil and ghee in a pan. Add cloves and cinnamon. Once these start popping, add the rice and stir well. Add the onions and salt. Add the boiled water, stir and cook for five minutes. Then add lemon juice, rose water and stir again. Put coriander leaves on top and cover with a lid.
In another pan, heat oil and ghee, and saute the onion. Into this add the jackfruits seeds, chakka chavini and saute. Also add chopped coriander leaves.
Mix 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and turmeric powder in the rose water.
Layering the biryani
First put some masala in the bowl. On top of it, add a layer of rice followed by sauteed onion mix. Then add the coriander coriander leaves and sprinkle some rose water. Keep repeating this, until all the rice and the mix go into the bowl. Cover the bowl with the lid. Burn the shell of coconut and place it above the lid. Open after 30 minutes and serve the hot biryani.