Sharkara upperi / sharkara varatti (Spiced Jaggery coated plantain chips)

Onam’s coming up, which means I need the customary chips for the sadhya.

This time around I have run into a problem. I cannot find Sharkara varatti in any Indian store 😭. And being the stickler for certain things, it meant that I now need to make something I have always just bought in a packet. So here goes!

For full list of Onam recipes click here

Ingredients

1.98 lb/900 gm Raw Plantains

1 tbsp Salt (for washing the plantains)

0.25 Gallon/1 litre Water (for washing the plantains)

Vegetable oil for deep frying (I used almost a litre or 1/4th gallon here to fry the plantains in two batches)

1 1/3 cup Jaggery (grated)

1/3 cup Water

2 tbsp Ginger powder

1 tsp Cumin powder

Pinch of Salt

1/2 cup Sugar (powdered)

Recipe

1. Pour water in a large bowl and mix in 1 tbsp of Salt and set nearby

2. Peel the plantains and remove all of the green skin and place in water (this helps avoid wilting and discoloration)

3. Slit the plantains lengthwise into half and place back into the water

4. Cut each piece into half moons that are around a 1/4 inch thick and return to water

5. Throughly clean the pieces in water to remove the sliminess that comes when you cut them up. You will see them floating off in water almost like a gray-ish residue

6. Dry the pieces in a towel to prep them for frying

7. Heat the oil for deep frying until almost smoking

8. Add the plantains pieces to it. I split mine into two batches as I took only about a litre of oil for frying

9. Keep the heat on medium low and fry. Takes almost 40 minutes for a batch to fry up. Stir occasionally.

This is what it looks like when half way done through.

10. You would know they are almost ready to be taken out when the oil is bubbling only minimally indicating that the water content is almost gone. At this point the fried pieces would feel extremely light in the oil as well

11. Once there are almost no bubbles, strain the pieces out

When fully done the pieces would look like this and would be crisp through without any softness anywhere

12. Let the pieces cool completely

13. In another pot, combine the jaggery with 1/3 cup water and bring to a boil

14. Once all jaggery is melted, strain for any impurities and bring the syrup back to medium heat

15. Add the cumin powder, a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp of Ginger powder to this and combine well

16. Add the cooked jaggery pieces to this and mix well to combine on low heat

17. Keep mixing on heat to reduce the amount of liquid

18. Mix powdered sugar with the rest of the Ginger powder and set aside

19. Once almost all of the liquid from the jaggery syrup has evaporated and the pieces are well coated, turn off the heat.

20. Add the powdered sugar & Ginger powder mix 1 tbsp at a time to this and toss to coat till you have exhausted all of the powder

Your end product looks like this

21. Let cool completely and store in an airtight box until ready to serve


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