Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Sweets, Tiffin

Enna Pothi/Sweet Pouches

A fitting follower to Ela Ada, my previous post. The ingredients are the same as ela ada. Just that the proportions are different and they are mixed differently. These are little steamed pouches of a mixture of rice, jaggery, jackfruit jam, and coconut. Steamed and oil-free, one can truly indulge in them without guilt!

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In my household this dish is called Enna Pothi, which literally means Oil Pouches, though I cant figure out why it might be called so since no oil is used in this dish. Enna could also mean Numbered. Any of you can crack the name puzzle, please write to me.

It is intriguing to think how our ancestors came up with different recipes using the same ingredients and how different and unique they taste! Ela ada are very sweet while these sweet pouches are only mildly sweet. Different households have different styles of making it. Some use banana leaves to make the pouch, some use cinammon leaves. Since I could not find a suitable leaf, I chose to steam them in the idli mold. It is a regional variant you see!

Ingredients:

Raw rice (Rice flour) – 1 cup
Jaggery – 50 gm
Jackfruit jam – 5 tbsp
Grated coconut/Coconut cut into 1 cm pieces – 2 tbsp
Ghee – 1 tsp
Elaichi powder – 1/4 tsp
Water – As needed

The amount of jaggery and jackfruit jam are more of personal choices. You can add as much as you like and it would turn out just fine.

Method: Grind the raw rice into a smooth paste. Add the jackfruit jam and jaggery pieces and blend it in the mixer to make a smooth and evenly mixed paste. You could make jaggery syrup and then add it to the rice flour and jackfruit jam and blend it well using a spoon. But using the mixer to blend these three ingredients ensures a smooth consistency and gives good results. Keep the batter aside.

Heat ghee in a pan and add the grated/cut coconut to the ghee and roast till the coconut turns golden brown. Turn off fire and add the roasted coconut to the batter. Add elaichi powder. Mix well.

Note that if you are using an idli mold, the batter needs to be of idli batter consistency. But if you are using a leaf, you will need a thicker consistency for the batter.

If you are using banana leaf, tear out square or rectangle portions of banana leaf. Pour one ladle full of batter into a piece of banana leaf and close it neatly from all sides and tie with a thread. Cinnamon leaves are small and it is a challenge to stuff the batter in them. Hence if you are using cinnamon leaves, the batter consistency should be thick so that it does not ooze out. You need to be able to stuff the batter in between the leaf and pin the ends of the leaf together.

If you choose to use an idli mold, lightly grease the idli molds with ghee. Pour one ladle full batter into each idli mold. Steam in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes. Turn off fire, take out the idli mold from the pressure cooker, and let it cool.

After they cool down a little bit, the sweet pouches start separating from the edge. Use a spoon to lift the pouches off the mold and place on a serving plate.

Soft and spongy sweet pouches (in this case, idlis) are ready!

Kerala Recipes, South Indian, Sweets, Vegan

Jackfruit Jam (Chakka Varatti)

A preparation unique to Kerala; it can be used as jam or magically transformed to various sweet delicacies. The king of all jams!

Ingredients:
Ripe jackfruit pieces – 1 kg
Jaggery – ½ kg
Water – 1 glass (medium)

Preparation Time: 1 hr.

Cooking Time: 2 hrs.

Method:

Remove the seeds from the jackfruit and cut the fruit into pieces. Pour 2 glasses of water (enough to build steam to cook the fruit) in the pressure cooker and keep the vessel containing jackfruit in it. Cook the pieces till soft; two or three whistles should be enough. Do not add water to the jackfruit. Cool the jackfruit pieces and grind to a smooth paste in a mixer. Jackfruits vary in texture. Some get easily mashed with cooking but some don’t.

Dissolve the jaggery in warm water. Filter if necessary to remove any dirt or stones. Place a thick-bottomed vessel (preferably uruli) on fire and pour the melted jaggery. Let it come to boil. Add the ground jackfruit paste into the jaggery. Mix thoroughly and remove lumps if any. Keep stirring. Cook this mixture on medium-low heat till the water is reduced.

For longer shelf-life, keep the mixture on fire till the jam is really thick. You can add things such as ghee, grated coconut, dry ginger powder, cardamom powder etc. I prefer not adding anything to the jam. These additions can be done while making different dishes using this jam.

Storage:

Empty into a dry, air-tight container and refrigerate. Take out small portions when needed.

Caution:

This is definitely not for the impatient. The mixture bubbles a lot and splashes before solidifying and this can cause burns on your skin. So be very careful while making this. But trust me the taste is worth the effort.

List of accompaniments:

Tastes great with bread, roti or parathas. You can make a wide variety of absolutely delicious and irresistible dishes using this jam, like elai ada (pan poli), payasam, sweet idli etc and many others. I will be posting some of these very soon.

Health Benefits/Alerts:

Jackfruit is a very good source of potassium and good source of vitamin C. Potassium rich in jackfruit helps in regulating blood pressure. The fruit also has anti-cancer, antihypertensive, anti-ageing, antioxidant, and anti-ulcer properties.

Banter:

Cut jackfruit

Summer brings with it loads of ‘sweet’ memories of cuckoos, festivals, temple bells, chenda melam (drums) at distant fields, all laden with the smell of jackfruit. Jackfruit is my favorite fruit and if I had my way, I would have asked God to make them available in plenty all year round. The smell, the juiciness, and the taste of jackfruit is so thoroughly irresistible to me.

When i was 3, my father bought our house in the village named Thekkegramam or The South Village. Next to the bedroom there was a huge jackfruit tree. The tree had not borne any fruit until the time we moved in. That year, the tree produced not less than 50 fruits. My strong craving for jackfruit began there.

Orange JackFSince then it has been a cause of envy of every person who passes through our street. Every jackfruit season, we are thronged by requests for the fruit by neighbors as well as strangers. And the tree bears enough to keep everyone satiated.

I now live in a city where jackfruit is available only in limited places, and yet every summer I venture to far away places hunting for my favorite fruit. Where to find some? Keep roaming in the vegetable markets till the unique smell hits you…

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