Sudha Venugopal who prepares a variety of dishes made of jackfruit

Onam is around the corner and 64-year-old Sudha Venugopal is busy as a bee. The cheery homemaker is packing homemade chakka (jackfruit) pappadams into packs of seven ready-to-fry pappadams, which she sells at Rs. 10 each.

“These papadams make perfect teatime or anytime snacks. Jackfruit, bird’s eye chillies, cumin and salt are the chief ingredients in the papadams,” says Sudha, who started making and selling these papadams seven years ago.

It all started with jackfruit trees in her courtyard and very few takers for the fruits after her children grew up and left the nest. “As the jackfruits were going to waste, I decided to utilise them in various ways,” she says. Apart from chakka papadams, she makes a host of jackfruit-based dishes such as chakka vattal, chakka therra (a form of halwa), chakka pickle, chakka squash and chakka payasam.

As jackfruit is seasonal, Sudha says she either dries it or keeps the fruit well cooked and stored so that it can be used later. “For instance, I have chakka varathiyuthu in the fridge. Jackfruit is unavailable in the market during Onam but chakka payasam is popular during the season, so I use the chakka varathiyuthu to make payasams for customers. I usually receive orders for chakka payasam from companies in Technopark during the season,” says Sudha, a Kudambashree member.

The resourceful woman also makes traditional eats such as achappam, unniappam, pakkavada and murukku. In fact, after packing the papadams, she plans to start preparing those naadan treats in time for Onam.

The recipes for the dishes are her mother’s. “My mother, Saratha, was an excellent cook and I learnt how to prepare them by watching her in the kitchen as a child. She was always pickling, frying…. I love to cook. Cooking for me, comes from the heart,” says Sudha, who supplies her goods to neighbours, Gramasree shops and Kudumbasree fairs.

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