Monday, 13 February 2012

Sharkkara Varatti / Sharkkara Upperi

Here’s the recipe for the sweet jaggery-coated version of banana chips called sharkkara upperi, yet another inevitable part of a Kerala Sadya.
Ingredients :-

  • Raw banana - 1 kg (Around 4-5 bananas)
  • Jaggery -1 cup
  • Dry ginger/ chukku and cumin seeds, powdered - 2 tbsp
  • Cardamom powdered - 1/2 tbsp>
  • Rice flour - 1-2 tbsp (optional)
  • Sugar - 1 tbsp or to taste (optional)
  • Coconut Oil - To deep fry
Preparation Method :-

1. Peel off the plantain skin and immerse in turmeric water (mix 1/2 tsp turmeric powder in enough water)  for around 20 minutes. Strain off the excess water and leave to dry or pat dry.
2. Cut each banana into half, lengthwise and then into pieces, of quarter inch thickness.
3. Heat oil in a wide deep pan or an uruli at medium high flame. Be sure not to fill oil more than half - 3/4th of the pan you are using. The oil should  be really hot.( You can test the oil by adding a slice of banana, it would immediately come to the surface bubbling.) When the oil is really hot, bring down the flame and slowly add the banana pieces.  Now increase the flame to medium-high. Stir occasionally with a slotted spoon flipping them to the other side so that the chips wont stick to each other. It will take at least 30 - 45 mts to fry them. When they are done, you can hear a crisp sound and the oil will stop foaming. You can also taste check whether its done or not. Strain them on to a colander, with a plate or any dish underneath to catch any oil drippings. Spread them on paper towels or newspaper to cool.  Let them cool completely.

4. Melt the jaggery in  2 - 3 cups of water and strain it.
5. Heat the jaggery in a deep pan or uruli. Bring this to a boil stirring in between. To check the consistency, put one drop of the boiling jaggery in cold water. If it is of the right consistency, it won't dissolve. You can also see thin threads of jaggery syrup when you stir it (nool paruvam). Bring down the heat and add the fried banana pieces. Mix well and stir continuously. It will be really difficult  to stir them. Once the chips are covered with jaggery, add the cumin, cardamom and dry ginger powder. Switch off the flame. Mix and stir well in order to prevent the chips from sticking to each other. Transfer to a wide plate, allow it to cool down completely and then store in an airtight container.

Tips: :-

 If the jaggery is not properly coating the raw banana pieces, add rice flour to thicken the syrup (around 1-2 tbsp depending on the consistency of the syrup) and mix well. You could also add sugar ( around 1 tbsp) for thickening the jaggery syrup or if the chips are not sweet enough. You wont need to add either of them if the jaggery syrup has the right consistency.


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