Jackfruit muffins aka Halsinahannu Appa

Jaggery, with its deep, mellow sweetness and gorgeous golden hue, is a frequent and much-beloved ingredient in South Kanara cooking. My earliest jaggery memories are from when we (my brother and I) were kids. Summer vacations often involved a trip to 'ooru' (aka 'native village' or where my father grew up). On a hot summer day, you would step into a cool house and be offered a glass of water and some jaggery. It was refreshing! Since then, my palate has been jaded with pop and other refrigerated delights but water and jaggery still work great!

No jaggery story would be complete without a mention of my father's love of jaggery. After dinner, irrespective of how lavish or how modest our meal was, he would find room for a little piece of jaggery. It was a quick maneuver, executed with smoothness and precision. You would barely catch sight of the little piece of 'bella' (thats what jaggery is called in kannada) as it sailed in a graceful parabolic arc into his mouth!

Prime examples of jaggery in South Kanara cooking include:
1. Hesaru Bele Payasa (Moong Bean Payasa): Nutritious payasa made with moong dal and coconut milk, sweetened with jaggery. Ghee roasted cashew and raisins take it up a notch. In my graduate student days, I have eaten this for breakfast - yum!

2. Panchakajaaya: Sweet mix-of-five-things often served as 'prasad'. Usually features five out of the folowing beaten rice (avlakki or poha), coconut, cardomom, jaggery, ghee, poppy seeds. No cooking involved, just toss together. Quite delicious!

3. Kannada version of Modak: Dumplings made with a paste of rice flour and a filling of jaggery and coconut, steamed in turmeric leaves. Ganesh Chathurthi special!

4. Last but not the least, kannada version of appams. These sweet muffin-like creations usually feature rice, bananas, jaggery and coconut. I attempted to make Jackfruit Appa - HalsinaHannu (Ripe Jackfruit) Appa, to be precise!

I made two versions (the story follows), one with rice flour and the other with wheat flour. Traditionally, the appa is made in a special skillet with rice flour. This summer, one of our aunts served us a modified version made with wheat flour and like everything she makes, it was DELICIOUS! Using the lack of the special skillet as an excuse, I started to work on a recipe. I called my consultants, in this case, my brother and my parents! My question was simple, which of the two flours should I use and should I use rising agents, like baking soda/yoghurt? Methodical scientists that we are, they suggested I try all the options!!!!! Make one batch with rice flour, the second with wheat, and a third with both, suggested my father!! My brother was no different. However, the astute scientist will realize that we're increasing the number of fixed effects (flour, rising agent), opening ourselves to the possibility of interaction and moving towards a more complicated design. So I decided to simplify things, made one batch with rice flour (picture above) and another with wheat (picture below).

Personally, I think the rice flour tastes like the traditional appa, the wheat flour version tastes like a muffin. Ripe jackfruit acquires a shy sweetness, in the presence of the robust flavors of coconut, rice and jaggery. The jackfruit-iness is more obvious with the wheat flour.

Heres what I did:
-Ground coconut and jackfruit (canned) in a blender.
-Dissolved jaggery in warm water and added it to the mixture in the blender.
-For the rice version: Added idli rava. For the wheat flour version: Added whole wheat flour + 1 tablespoon of wheat germ.
-Baked in a silicone muffin pan for 18 minutes
-Dotted with butter, baked 5 more minutes.
-Things to watch out for: My 'consultants' reminded me to not use too much water. Just make the batter dropping consistency, not flowing consistency.
-Baking + topping with butter (hopefully) resulted in a healthier version, but in the interests of authenticity I must confess that the traditional version involves a skillet and plenty of butter!

Anyhoo, here is my version of Jackfruit Appa - Enjoy!

Here are links to blogs that have appam recipes:
I found these blogs particularly useful however this list of links is by no means comprehensive. If you'd like to send links my way, I would be delighted to view and add them. All of the bloggers below have wonderful stories to share and have pictures of the end product. The recipes are not exactly the same, lots of variations on a general theme. Makes me happy to know that there are many ways to happiness in life!

1. Priya of Priya's Kitchen
2. Monica of Monika gi Chakhum - Manipuri Food
3. Maheshwari of Beyond the Usual
4. Monisha of Coconut Chutney
5. Krithika of Manpasand
6. RP of My workshop

Update! Jivha For Ingredients Round-up by Kay from Towards a Better Tomorrow.


burekaboy — said...

those look great! sounds like your experimentation paid off.

i have to say i have never tasted jackfruit though i have seen it often in cans. is there anything north american you can compare it to?

ServesYouRight said...

Hello Burekaboy,

Very pleased that you liked the jackfruit experiment! Jackfruit has a meaty texture to it. Both ripe and raw jackfruit are used.

Confession - I bought a canned version. You can tell if its raw or ripe jackfruit by the color, ripe is yellow and raw is green. You can also make appas / appams with bananas. Will post links to recipes using bananas.

Keep those recipes coming!!

burekaboy — said...

smita -- you mean to tell me you didn't climb the tree yourself [in new york!] to harvest a cannonball sized jackfruit??!! the horror and shock!!

i have seen pictures of jackfruit and they are HUGE! i think i was turned off the idea of it from the description of the smell when i have read about it -- it also reminds me of the durian description.

in anycase, i love the experiments and seeing your results. looking forward to more from the laboratory.

thanks for visiting today! i still want to read your answer about the chakli though (not sure if you answered yet).

ServesYouRight said...

OMG - that was a terrifying visual BB :-p Here is a jackfruit link for you:

Loved the tropical fruit post!

burekaboy — said...

well i am glad you were not hurt in the harvesting of your canned jackfruit!! ;p thanks for the link. it was very interesting.

in her blog, she mentions both the green and yellow type. i have seen both these kinds, canned, but it didn't really register until i read her post and yours. i take it yours were obviously the yellow kind (ripe). well smita, i actually bought a can when shopping but haven't tried it yet. i hope i don't have to add this to my list of tropical fruit i don't like!

guess who inspired the tropical fruit post??!! hmmm??? LOL.

gini said...

That is such an unusual dish for me. Being from Kerala, jackfruit is not new to me but this dish certainly is.

ServesYouRight said...

Gini - thank you for stopping by! I am always amazed by the subtle differences between South Kanara and Kerala cusines. Liked the palappam recipe + write-up on your blog. It sounds like 'Neer dosa' from the kannadiga kitchen :-)

Rheaa said...

very original! i'm craving for those halsinahannu muffins.

-tolerable,tolkien-like teen

ServesYouRight said...

Rheaa Rao - another foodie and fabulous writer - delighted to have you visit. Love your blog :-)

Roopa said...

Appam looks delicious!, nice entry for JFI!