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Kokum

If you are in Goa or Mumbai or any part of the Konkan region during the summer months, you will most likely be served a glass of cool kokum sherbet, which is known to cool your system and also helps to ward off sun stroke or heat stroke. 

Another beverage that has brought kokum to the forefront is solkadhi, which has kokum extract mixed with coconut milk, fresh coriander leaves and sometimes crushed garlic is infused. Solkadhi pairs up fantastically with fish curries and generally it is served with meals in Goa and Konkan region.

It gives not just sourness and colour, it gives flavour too

Kokum is a native of the Konkan region. Its botanical name is Garcinia Indica and it belongs to the Mangosteen family. The fruit has dark purple petals, which are dried and stored to be used as and when required. 

One thing to remember about kokum is that it is not chopped but soaked in water and its extract is used to add sweet sourness tones and a wonderful flavour that is unique to this fruit. The colour it imparts to food would vary from pink to purple, depending mainly on the accompanying ingredients. Three to four kokum petals are enough to add the perfect tartness to a fish dish meant for four portions.

It wards off sun stroke too

Kokum sherbet is a favourite summer drink made with the combination of extract of kokum, sugar, chilled water, some roasted jeera and kala namak! Another Konkani cool favourite (in fact, hot favourite in the hot days!) is the Amsul saar that is a variation of the solkadi with a light tempering of ghee with jeera. Gujarati also use the other variety of kokum (Lonavala kokum which is smaller and harder) in the Gujarati khatti meethi dal. Three to four small ones can do wonders for the dal meant for four, and then to counter the sourness add some gur and give it a good boil. There is nothing more refreshing than this dal with hot steamed rice. It goes fantastically well with fish curries. In fact, in Goa and Konkan region its kokum that adds sourness to fish curries rather than tamarind.