Jack fruit dumpling/Kumbilappam

Steamed rice cake with Jack fruit jam.

1 gudWhen I went home last time, my mother made these tasty dumplings with jack fruit preserve and rice flour. As Mother’s day is approaching I thought of posting my mother’s Kumbilappam. This is a tasty dessert and every one in Kerala is familiar with this sweet treat.

While preparing I was hovering around trying to help my mother. Our working style is totally different. She likes to work in a flash and finish everything in less time. I like to go slow and look into details. I was sniffing Edanaila, the leaf used for its delicate smell and used as a wrapper for the dough. Then I washed it, after carefully checking for insect damage or leaf spots. My mother lost her patience and grabbed the leaves, stuffed the filling and stacked them for steaming. She was mad at me for wasting her time and said she could have finished much earlier without my assistance. That made me really bitter and I left the kitchen. She made quite a lot because in her village there are many impromptu visitors. After it was ready, I forgot my annoyance and greedily gobbled a fair share. It tasted extra delicious! Happy Mother’s Day, mommy!


Young Jack fruits

These are young fruits on a Jack fruit tree. When they are ready they are quite big according to the variety. Chakka is the name for Jack fruit in Malayalam. It ripens in hot summer months and my mother makes a lot of jam and stores it. We attack the refrigerator when we reach home and spread it on bread, idly, chappati and whatever we can lay our hands on. My aunt has a special variety of tree that produce honey sweet, fruits called thenvarikka.

Jack fruit preserve/jam is the main ingredient in this dumpling. It is quite a task to make the jam as Jack fruit has a sticky secretion and it is very messy when removing the individual flesh from the large spiny fruit. We smear our hands with oil to prevent the white goop from sticking everywhere. Extra hands are always welcome to make the task easier.

1 kids

Put kids to work!

This steamed dumpling is a special treat made using a leaf called Vazhana ila or Edana ila. Ila means leaf that is used to wrap and it is not eaten. Theses leaves have a particular spicy smell like cinnamon and bay leaves and widely grown in Kerala. When food is cooked in this leaf it imparts a unique flavour.

Ingredients for the jam/preserve

  • 3 cups chopped Jack fruit flesh
  • 1 cup jaggery/brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  1. Cut the fruit and after separating the individual fruit flesh, remove the seeds.
  2. Then chop them into smaller bits.
  3. Cook it in a little water and add jaggery.
  4. Allow some water to evaporate and stir until it becomes a thick jam.
  5. Add cardamom powder and ghee and stir well.
  6. This preserve can be stored for a long time in sealed containers.

(This is a recipe that I made earlier.)

Ingredients for Jack fruit dumpling

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • ½ cup grated coconut
  • 1½ cup Jack fruit jam
  • a pinch salt
  • water
  • few Vazhanaila or banana leaf
  1. Mix rice flour, salt, jack fruit jam and coconut.
  2. Sprinkle some water if needed to make a soft dough.
  3. Make a cone with Vazhanaila/banana leaf and fill it with the rice mixture.
  4. Fold the top and pin it with a coconut tree stick or tooth pick. If using banana leaf fold a piece of the leaf like a triangle.
  5. Steam it in a pan using a steaming plate or bamboo steamer.
  6. Cook for 20 minutes and check with a stick to find if the center is cooked.
  7. If it is raw in the middle, continue cooking.
  8. When cooked, remove from pan and cool.
  9. Open the leaf and enjoy the delicate aroma of the leaf and heady smell of jack fruit dumpling.

1 vazhinaila appamJack fruit dumpling is a simple preparation and the essence of Kerala because Jack fruit is the state fruit. This is my take on this classic dessert. I made 10 dumplings with my ingredients and steamed them wrapped in banana leaf. If the jam is ready the process is quite simple. I had store bought chakka preserve (Jack fruit jam).

1 dumplingHAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all mothers!


About coconutcraze

I'm obsessed with coconuts!
This entry was posted in Coconut, Dessert, Not just for kids, Preserve, Snack, steamed, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Jack fruit dumpling/Kumbilappam

  1. eclecticlamb says:

    Beautiful food! This is my first exposure to Jack fruit. Thanks!


  2. coconutcraze says:

    Jack fruit is a strong smelling, very sweet, fibrous fruit. We make a lot of dishes with it. Raw Jack fruit is used in curries too. I love this fruit!


  3. Deena Kakaya says:

    I’ve just posted a dumpling recipe too! I must admit, it took me a while to get used to the lasting flavour of jackfruit but for whatever reason my toddler likes it. I’m going to try your recipe out on him 😉


  4. Malar says:

    I love jack fruit, my grandpa used to tell me that when he was young he would have one whole fruit (usually as they are large) all by himself just for lunch , all these pics remind me of my childhood…The final picture with traditional box makes me feel very happy. Its lovely 🙂


    • coconutcraze says:

      I am reminded of this rumour that my uncle in his adolescent years would climb a Jack tree and eat his breakfast up there…Haha! Thank you, Malar for sharing that story and reminding of my uncle!


  5. I can’t wait to finally be able to have an excuse to use a jackfruit!


  6. apsara says:

    I love the chakkavaratti that my mother-in-law prepares in Kerala. How is kumbilappam different from elayada?


    • coconutcraze says:

      Both are almost interchangeable. Okay, we make elayada strictly with moist rice flour smeared on banana leaf with a filling of coconut and jaggery mix and the leaf folded in half to steam. Some use jack fruit preserve and coconut as a filling too. But Kumbilappam is all ingredients well mixed and steamed in Vazhanaila. The conical shape is called Kumbil…so the name, Apsara.


  7. Lovely recipe, Sridevi! The pic where you put kids to work brought back some sweet memories. My maternal grandma used to banish us grand kids to the backyard to clean jackfruit. And just like in your pic, she would spread a lot of old newspapers, and give us lots of oil and old rags. After cleaning the jackfruit, we were not allowed to enter the house till we ourselves were clean….

    But the “troubles” were nothing in comparison to the goodies we were blessed with soon after. 🙂


  8. coconutcraze says:

    Yeah, it is so much work and keeps the kids engaged and anticipating. It is fun as they work together eating (no one can resist the fruity sweetness in their hand) and laughing at the sticky goo. When this congregation happens most kids join voluntarily. I have so many stories my aunts shared while preparing the fruit for the show! Thank you, Aruna, for kindling all those memories!


  9. I remember eating kumbilappam when i was a kid. Its been a long time now. Even my mom make me, my sis and dad to sit around a newspaper with the chakka in the middle, smear oil in our hands, remove each chakka chula and clean (sometimes eat a few in the process). A hell lot of a work but the end product is that you get delicious kumbilappam prepared by mum. Your kumbilappams looks so tasty and please so send across some!! 🙂


  10. coconutcraze says:

    I am excited that everyone is going back to their own sweet memories. That is the magic of some special foods! Thank you!


  11. afracooking says:

    Oh how wonderfully tasty!


  12. Deena Kakaya says:

    Oh you are spoiling us with clever and tempting jackfruit recipes, this one really is interesting because the texture has totally evolved. X

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sophie33 says:

    This recipe is totally new to me, even jackfruit!
    It looks very appetizing too! Yum yum Yummm!


  14. coconutcraze says:

    This recipe is mostly confined to the Jack fruit growing regions. But is is yummy so I thought of introducing and sharing it.


  15. extrakitchn says:

    good one! We had a jackfruit tree at home, and I remember my mom greasing her palms to get ready to remove all the fresh and seeds out of the fruit. Am not personally a fan of jackfruit, but i do like to eat it raw, or the seeds cooked like a curry. Its so tasty!


  16. coconutcraze says:

    Try this jack fruit dumpling because the jack fruit flavour is milder! 🙂


  17. Very interesting, loved the wrapping style too 🙂


  18. Beautiful pictures!…so nostalgic…takes me right back to Kerala..:)


  19. Makes me miss my ammuma. She prepared it with so much love.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s