Puthandu vazhthukal! Naye saal ki shubh kamnayein! Tomorrow(April 14) is the first day of 2005 for Tamilians all over the world. Nupur of One Hot Stove celebrated her new year last week. I can think of four new year celebrations in India. One is Gudi padwa for Marathis, kannadigas and Telugu New Year, both of which fell on the same day. Then its Diwali that celebrates the new fiscal year and also the end of bad spirits. Then there is our actual New year and then there is our Tamil New year. I am not familiar with special days that mark the dawn of a new year in North India. So for today, the menu includes all traditional food stuff that include the fried and fatty kind.
Chakkai payasam or Jackfruit kheer is the sweet component of this meal. Jackfruit, after which this blog is named, is a green thorny, durian-like fruit. Its smell is something else altogether. One whiff of a perfectly ripe jackfuit can send southern Indians to the peak of ecstacy. To further glorify the fruit, here is a recipe for kheer:
1 can jackfruit pieces, cooked in water until soft and tender
3/4 cup jaggery or 50:50 mix of brown sugar & sugar
6 oz Coconut milk
1/2 tsp powdered cardamom
Drain cooked jackfuit. Puree jackfruit with sugar and little water until you get a smooth puree. Pour this into a saucepan and on low heat, simmer for 2 min. Add the coconut milk. Gently simmer for another 2 minutes, constantly stirring. Mix in the ground cardamom. Ta da, kheer ready!