Love kumbilappam? Here's how thousands of them are made at Neeloor in Kottayam!

The Neeloor Producer Company makes kumbilappams six days a week and sells them locally. Photo: Manorama

Come jackfruit season and Kerala homes can't help making the yummy kumbilappam aka sweet jackfruit patties steamed in by leaves at least once a week. Acrosss the state, people call it in many names – poocha puzhungiyathu, chakkayappam, idanayappam, vazhanayappam and more. But the ingredients that transform into this fruity, aromatic snack are more or less the same – ripe jackfruit pulp, rice powder or semolina, coconut, jaggery and cumin.

Kumbilappam from Neeloor
While jackfruits from our backyards are used at homes to prepare kumbilappam, those who produce it commercially rely on ready-to-use jackfruit pulp. There are lots of small and large scale industries that sell kumbilappam on commercial basis. The Neeloor Producer Company is one such firm that is known for making and selling delicious kumbilappam.

It was on November 1, 2016 that the company was started in Neeloor, a border village in Kottayam. It mainly focuses on food items made from jackfruit and tapioca. Besides, fresh honey and arrowroot powder too are sold by Neeloor Producer Company. During the seasons, the company buys quality products directly from the farmers by giving them fair price.

These items are then preserved and turned into value added products. The company sells their products under the brand name ‘Neeloor’.

The company’s chairman Mathachan Urumbukattu said that even though the company has been producing jackfruit based food items, it was only recently that they began making kumbilappam after realising its incredible popularity. Kumbilappam is made on six days a week and are mainly sold in the nearby locality. Currently, the company makes up to one thousand pieces of kumbilappam in a day. Besides, they are prepared on the basis of orders too.

The batter is mixed well before filled into conical bay leaves. Photo: Manorama

Making kumbilappams, six days a week
The production starts at 7 am and closes at 9 am from Monday to Saturday. Six employees at the company are specially entrusted with making kumbilappam to ensure the quality and taste. The production is in two stages. Fourteen kilos of jaggery, 200 gms cumin, 200 gms cardamom, 22 kg jackfruit pulp, 20 coconuts (16 grated and 4 turned into shards and fried) are used for making kumbilappam.

The batter is prepared on the previous day itself. Preparing the ingredients takes up to two and half hours. On the next day, 24 kilos of roasted semolina is added. Company supervisor Padmini said that kumbilappam is prepared in two stages as the semolina would get cooked if it is added into hot batter and the kumbilappam doesn’t taste good.

The batter is mixed well before filled into conical bay leaves. These are then steamed in a three-tiered steamer. The flame is turned on before filling the leaves with batter and arranged in the steamer on the stove. Up to one thousand pieces of kumbilappam could be cooked at a time in this gigantic steamer. Each piece would weigh up to 80 - 85 grams. The fresh leaves that are collected from the locality are washed and dried on the previous day itself. The bay leaves are purchased for Rs 1 per leaf. Padmini says that they do not use any leaf that are old or damaged.

ix employees at the company are specially entrusted with making kumbilappam to ensure the quality and taste. Photo: Manorama

The kumbilappam would be steamed for another forty five minutes before turning off the flame. CEO Shaji Joseph says that by 9.30 am, the kumbilappam would be neatly packed as per the orders and sent away. The wholesale rate of kumbilappam is Rs 12 apiece.

He added that the company is equipped to produce even huge orders. However, the customer should place the order at least two days in advance to ensure availability.

Besides preserving jackfruit and tapioca, the company produces many other products. So, the company makes sure to provide employment to women in the locality.

Phone – 94475 72919 (CEO)

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