Kadachakka (Sheemachakka) Poduthuval/Thoran (Indian Style Stir-fried Bread Fruit With Coconut
Posted Mar 01 2014 12:00am
here is a folk
tale about the Breadfruit told in Palau . According to ancient Palauan legends,
lesser gods used to travel through the villages teaching the people valuable
life lessons through magical feats. In Palau, there are the remains of an
ancient village called Ngibtal which can be seen under the clear ocean waters.
This bread fruit story is set in that village.
One of these
lesser gods, a woman called Dirachedesbsungel, spent most of her life among the
women of Palau teaching them how to grow taro. When she grew old she settled
down in Ngibtal but was hungry and lonely. The people of the village forgot her
good work and didn’t help her in any way, not even offering her fish. She had a son, who was also a lesser god, who
was away a lot of the time, teaching the women of the islands about natural
childbirth (until then the stomachs of pregnant women were cut open to remove
After a long
absence the son returned home to find his old mother hungry and alone. He found
a very large, hollow Breadfruit tree near the water’s edge in his mother’s backyard,
and broke off one of its branches. Every time the tide would come in, the waves
would drive fresh fish up the hollow tree and they would fall out through where
the branch was broken. The old woman now
had fresh fish to eat everyday and her son was happy that she would not go
who had so far abandoned the old woman were now jealous of her good fortune and
wanted to take their fish from her as it meant they would have to catch fish
the difficult way by casting their nets in the ocean waters.
So one day, A
group of young men entered the old woman’s backyard and cut down the magic tree,
thinking they would get more fish that way. However the ocean waters rose
through the hollow stump of the tree and flooded the entire village of Ngibtal.
All the villagers, except the old woman, drowned! She changed her name and went
to live in another village where she was treated well for the rest of her life.
I only wish that
I liked Breadfruit as much as I enjoyed reading that story! It’s a fact that I
don’t really like Breadfruit unless it’s like these crisps . I am the odd one
out with my Breadfruit dislike so I do cook it for the family, and that’s when
I can find one that I can afford. It’s funny how there are so many breadfruit
trees laden with fruit in season all around Goa, and most of the fruit tends to
just turn over-ripe and fall to the ground because there’s no one who seems to
want them. Yet, it is one of the more expensive vegetables at the local market,
for some reason I haven’t been able to understand,
Back home in
Kerala, Breadfruit is referred to as “Kadachakka” or “Sheemachakka”, and I’ve
heard called “Neer Phanas” locally even though I believe the Konkani name for
it is “Jeev Kadgi”. This is one of those vegetables (Since it’s cooked raw and
pretty useless when it’s ripe, it’s a vegetable to me!) that used to grow in
almost everyone’s backyard in Kerala in the good old days and is frequently
cooked with in traditional dishes. The name “Sheemachakka” which roughly
translates as “foreign jackfruit” suggests that it was probably introduced to
Kerala by either the Portuguese or the Dutch.
1 medium sized
breadfruit (kadachakka) (2 to 3 cups when chopped)
buttermilk or 3 tbsp yogurt diluted in about 2 cups water
All Breadfruit when cut, some more
than others, will leak a bit of white sap which can be irritating to skin. So
either use gloves, or go the traditional way and rub some oil into your palms
and all over both your hands to form a protective coating against it.
thing is that Breadfruit flesh tends to change colour and become dark when
exposed to the air after it is cut open. So cut the Breadfruit into pieces and
put them in a bowl of water to prevent this. We usually use slightly diluted
buttermilk to prevent discolouration. I think that this also removes any
remaining sap from the breadfruit.
So cut the
Breadfruit, remove the core, peel it and cut it up into into pieces which are
about an inch and half long or so. Dilute the buttermilk (or yogurt) with
water, and let the breadfruit pieces saty submerged in it as you cut them. Just
before you start cooking, drain the diluted buttermilk out completely.
Run the grated
coconut and the green chillies a couple of times in the chutney jar (small jar)
of your mixer grinder to crush them. Do not grind this fine or into a paste.
Heat the coconut
oil in a wok or pan and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter/ pop add the asafoetida
powder and the curry leaves. Stir a couple of times and then add the drained
Breadfruit pieces and the turmeric powder.
Add about a 1/4 cup
of water and salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat and
let the Breadfruit cook till soft but not mushy. Add a couple of tbsps more of
water if necessary to cook the Breadfruit.
Once it is
cooked, turn off the heat. Add the crushed coconut mixture and mix well.
Another way of
cooking this is to steam cook the Breadfruit without adding any water until it
cooked but not mushy. The heat the oil, and add all the other ingredients, and
the steamed Breadfruit last to the wok or pan. Stir well and cook on medium
heat for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and add the coconut and mix
well. Whichever method you choose, this Poduthuval/ Thoran will taste more or
less the same.
Serve this hot
on the side with Rice and a South Indian style lentil preparation. This recipe
serves 3 to 4 people.