If ever one has dined in the coastal regions of the Western Ghats, you surely must have come across a small bowl with red colour soupy texture. Well, that for the world is Kokum. A wild fruit that is found in abundance in the Western Ghats of Goa, Konkan, Kerala, and south Karnataka, is also an integral part of their cuisine. There is hardly any meal that goes without gulping down the Solkadi, made from dried Kokum. The preparation involved for the kokum served during meals is on the spicier side. But there are also other ways of consuming Kokum, one such is sharbat. The Kokum Sharbat made using sugar and some other spices off the kitchen shelf will make for a nice summer drink.    

Kokum is also known by its scientific name Garcinia Indica. It is a plant that is indigenous to the tropical forest regions of India as it is found in abundance there. The places of the Western Ghat highland regions have consumed Kokum as an integral part of Indian culinary history for centuries. 

Since Kokum has been growing in the wild lands of India for centuries, there are historical proofs of this red cherry looking like fruit being used for medicinal purposes. There have been mentions of Kokum being used in Ayurveda to cure acidity and gas problems in the stomach.

In fact, one of the popular commercial usages of Kokum is done for Kokum butter. This butter is widely used by cosmetic companies for making beauty products.

Here’s the recipe for Kokum Sharbat.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup kokum
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp black salt
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Water
  • Mint leaves, for garnishing

Method:

  • Add kokum to a bowl and rinse it with water. Once rinsed, add warm water to the washed kokum. 
  • There should be enough water for the kokum to submerge. Let it soak in for about two hours.
  • Transfer the soaked Kokum to the grinder and ground it into a fine paste. Reserve the water kokum was stored in.
  • Over medium heat, place a pan and add sugar. To this add the reserved kokum water.
  • Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves and the content starts to boil. Check for one-string consistency.
  • To the sugar syrup, add the kokum paste and cook for five minutes. 
  • Then add cumin powder, black salt, and salt. Give it all a good mix and remove it from the flame.
  • Let it cool down and then strain. Make sure to filter out the thick syrup.
  • In a glass add ice, two tablespoons of kokum syrup, and water. Give it a mix and serve.

There can always be variations to the making of kokum syrup, but keeping it simple and straight works wonders for the body during summers. On top of that with the addition of sugar, this Kokum juice makes it different from the traditional ones hence more appealing to the kids. It can even be garnished with a bit of cumin powder to add extra flavour.