Time to flaunt the lovely surprise in my mailbox :). The lovely surprise that i got from Nupur is the tangy, beautiful and fragrant kokum. Kokum (botanical name: Garcinia indica) is also known as amsul/amsool and mangosteen (English). It is widely celebrated in Marathi, Konkani, Mangalorean and Coorgi cuisines, to name a few and adds a mellow tanginess and a beautiful pick blush to the dishes :). The kokum seed oil/butter is considered to be very good for the skin and has found immense use in the cosmetic and food industry. Several health food stores here in the US now flash products using kokum butter :). Read more about its myriad uses here.
Sra brings an interesting question to fore: The Wiki link claims that Kokum=Mangosteen. However, as it turns out, Mangosteen is Garcinia mangostana. Close cousins, but not the same. Her question is: Can we make kokum from Mangosteen? It should be theoretically possible-i guess they have similar fruits, and its a matter of drying the peel. I am very positive on this, because apparently kudampuli (a prized ingredient in Kerala cuisine) is also from genus Garcinia (Garcinia gummigutta, Garcinia combogia) ! No wonder they look quite similar :). So, if anyone knows here how to prepare kokum from the fruit, please do share the information :). Sra kindly shared the following links, do check them out:
- Chayote squash curry
- Quick aloo-matar
- Two chayote squashes (cubed into bite sized pieces)
- 1/2 can coconut milk
- Kokum extract (4-5 pieces kokum soaked for 20-30 minutes in 1/2 cup water)
- 1/2" piece of ginger, grated (optional)
- 1 clove garlic, grated (optional)
- A pinch of turmeric
- 7-8 curry leaves
- 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
- Salt to taste
- Red chilli powder to taste
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. oil
If you are short on time, you can also cook the kokum pieces directly with the vegetables, after addition of coconut milk. I leave the kokum pieces in, they add a certain flavor to the dish. It is really fun to chew on a fruity piece of kokum as you relish the curry :-D. If you want the curry to have a subtle flavor, you may omit ginger and garlic. I have to add; this kokum was so good, that despite using ginger and garlic, i could feel the distinct aroma from these purple-pink fruits. Do include sugar in the preparation to balance the tangy flavor, it adds a lot to taste.
- 1 potato (wash, microwave for 4-5 minutes and peel)
- 2 cups shelled green peas/matar
- 1" ginger piece (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- Red chilli powder (to taste)
- Extract from 4-5 pieces of kokum
- Salt to taste
- 2 cloves
- 1/2 tsp. rosemary leaves (fresh or dried, your choice)
Kokum here gives a subtle tanginess and pretty color to aloo-matar and lifts the dish to a whole new level. Rosemary and garlic (simmered, not roasted here) together create a warm and sweet-spicy aroma along with cloves, and build on the subtle warm notes from kokum. I enjoyed this variation of aloo-matar a lot!
Bakar Bhaji (Anita)
Bhendi Sukhem, prawns kokum garlic, lobster pepper kokum (Upper Crust India)
Daanyachi Amti (Tee)
Drumstick vegetable (Alpa)
Footi Kadhi/Kokum kadhi without coconut milk (Red Chillies)
Gujarati Daal (Vegetarian Delight-1, Amisha-2), Thanks Richa, for the pointer (now bring you recipe too) :-D.
Kalya vatanyachi amti (Anjali)
Kokum aloo (ARAD)
Kokum Fish/Sola Bangade (Shilpa)
Kokum Shrimp/Sola sungat (Shilpa)
Kokum Sharbat (Mehak)
Moong daal aamti (Indira)
Do let me know if any one of you have any related recipe ideas or links to share, i'll update the post accordingly :).
Thanks Nupur, the flavors from your kitchen have brought with them a message of friendship and sharing! I am truly enriched!