Nov 30, 2011

Chakka Kumbilappam or Steamed Jackfruit Dumplings

Kumbilappam is an authentic Keralite snack item. Kumbilappam genarally means Conical (kumbil) - Dumpling (appam). Its a steamed and sweet dumpling.

Here I present Jackfruit or Chakka Kumbilappam where a dough is prepared by mixing Jackfruit jam (Chakka Varatti) along with Rice flour and few spices to form a dumpling and is steamed using fresh Bayleaves (Vazhana ella) or Banana leaves ( Vazha ella). The jam is prepared by cooking ripe Jackfruit  along with Jaggery and reduced to form a thick jam like consistency.
The distinct conical shape can be obtained mostly if Bayleaves are used. The leaves are folded to form a conical shape, the dough is stuffed into the cone shaped space and then closed using the stem of the leaf.

What makes these dumplings special is the aromatic smell (almost Cinnamon like) infused into it by the Bayleaves while it steams. Dry bayleaves are commonly used in Indian cooking which provides a lovley smell and flavor to savoury dishes. 
I love these dumplings mainly because its healthy, sweet and really easy to prepare. This is a perfect snack for Jackfruit lovers. Sometimes banana is also added to the dough to add more sweetness and of course the flavors of banana and jackfruit make quite a unique combination.

According to my MIL , they used to eat cylindrical shaped dumplings , which is called Theralli during their childhood when they used to go for temple festivals (ulsavam) and it used to be a craze back then. But instead of Jackfruit it was made only with Banana, grated coconut and some spices in a Rice flour based dough.

I made these the traditional way , but I'm sure it can be made creative by adding some nuts or raisins or some other fruit jam in the dough for trying out different varieties. I had some jackfruit jam (Chakka Varatti) which was made at home in India and used that to make instant Dumplings.

This recipe make about 8 - 10 dumplings depending on the size of the leaf. I have provided step by step pics to help you all understand how this amazing snack item is prepared.

Chakka Kumbilappam Recipe
Recipe source: My MIL
You'll need
Chakka Vazhatti (Jackfruit jam) - 4-5 tblsp
Rice flour - 2 cups
Grated Coconut - 1 cup
Jaggery - 1 cup or 1/4 kg (scraped)
Cardamom (Elaichi) powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Dried Ginger powder - 1/4 tsp
Water - enough to make a smooth dough

1. Mix all the ingredients together to form a smooth dough. ( To be honest I used less Jackfruit jam, so my dough looks almost white, if more jam is used , your dough would look more brownish)
Make small balls from the dough and keep aside.

2. Take a Bayleaf and hold it such that the stem of the leaf is facing up. Roll or twist the bottom of the leaf to form a cone and push the dough into the cone shaped space and close it by pushing the stem of the leaf into the centre of the cone (as shown)

3. Place all the cones in a steamer and steam for 15- 20 minutes. ( I used my idli steamer and placed the dumpling cones on each idli stand)

To make the Theralli or Cylindrical shaped dumplings: 
1. Take the Bayleaf and place some dough in a cylindrical shape at one end (not the stem end) of the leaf , fold the leaf and place another cylindrical shaped dumpling on the folded tip.
Again close with the stem of the leaf. Steam as mentioned above.

1. If you do not have Chakka Vazhatti, you can prepare an instant version :
    a. Grind together 3-4 ripe Jackfruit bulbs.
    b. Melt 1 cup jaggery ,add this jackfruit pulp and 3-4 tblsp Ghee (Clarified butter) .
    c. Keep stirring on medium heat and reduce the pulp to a thick paste.
    d. If you like you may add 1/4tsp Cardamom powder for taste.
    e. Instant jam is ready.
    Add this Jackfruit-Jaggery jam to the dough and follow the rest of the steps.
Chakka Vazhatti is also made in the same way but it is made to reduce to such an extenet that its almost dry (with no more moisture) and this can be stored for months together after its cooled.


Enjoy these dumplings with a nice hot cup of tea and coffee. Its best when served warm. As I mentioned before its really healthy and tasty.
The sweetness from the jackfruit and jaggery , the coconut and the small hint of the spices added and most of all, the cinnamony smell of the bayleaves in the dumplings make this an irresistible combination.

Have a beautiful day!!

Sending this post to:
1.  Christmas Delicacy event hosted by Julie.



  1. Love them :-) I really miss the big bay leaves here :( have some chakka varattiyathu in my fridge

  2. I get totally blown over when I see delicacies that are regional favorites like these..

  3. I havent seen or eaten this in such a long long time. Reminds me of the temple festivals back in Kerala! I miss them!

  4. @Julie - Thanks a lot dear.
    @Namitha - I totally understand. But if u r really craving for some just make it in some banana leaves or in an aluminium foil since u already have the chakka varatti...
    @Puja - Thank u so much!
    @Manju - I understand dear, me too :-)


  5. Delicious Jackfruit Delight.Very new to me Dear.Luv to try it soon.

  6. Wow! It's wonderful! I liked it! Thanks Manju!!!

  7. Cool Manju - did not hear or saw this recipe before, as it's purely regional! Also, in general I am so lazy to cook, and reading your recipes make me pretty encouraging to try out all your dishes bringing interest in cooking ;-)

    Thanks again for being so elaborate and clear!!

  8. Woww super delicious dumplings,highly addictive.

  9. What incredible photos you've taken! These dumplings are not like anything I've ever seen but they look wonderful!

  10. Simply superb. Traditional dishes always rock!

  11. this dish we call it as halsina gatti .. very good one .. lovd ur all dishes

  12. Lovely dish. In Goa, this sweet is made with rice flour, in Turmeric leaves too. It is called Patoleo.

    Indian sweets are so eco-friendly.

  13. Wow! This looks amazing. I love the steaming in the bay leaf. What a great idea!


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