Kokum is the dried skin of a fruit related to mangosteens.The outer cover of fruit is dried in the sun to get Aamsul or Kokam/Kokum. It is used as a slightly sour spice in recipes that yields peculiar taste and dark red colour. It is a preferred substitute for tamarind in curries and other dishes from Konkan. It is very abundant in the west coast region of India and hence an integral part of Konkani cuisine. These are called ‘bhirnda sol’ in Konkani.
At home I use the Kokum to make Kokum kadi. I have already posted one version here before, this does not use coconut in it. This version that I have posted here uses coconut milk along with garlic and green chillies. This is referred to as Birinda Sola Kadi in Konkani. We enjoy drinking this Kokum kadi especially during hot summers as it has a cooling effect on the body. This can also be consumed along with food or after dinner and tastes terrific when used as an accompaniment with Varan Bhat/ Daali thoy (Konkani daal).
This drink has combination of sweet, sour, hot and tart taste which is hearty and refreshing. The sour taste of the peels is neutralized by the addition of coconut milk and jaggery.
Studies have shown that this fruit can reduce fat, cool body, purify blood and also reduce cholesterol. Check out the other health benefits of kokum here.
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You know how you go to the same place again and again and kind of memorize the landmarks, right? For us going to the supermarket is like it, we have been going to the same place for years now and we are used to the specific spots to find the things we want. Onions here, potatoes there, beans on the extreme right and so on. So being used to the weekly drill, I don’t carry a grocery list anymore (not that I carried it earlier), I just pick the items from the spot, not bothering to look anywhere else and bham the grocery is done. If they change the spots then I am sure I will easily forget a thing or two. Have I already mentioned that doing grocery is the least attractive chore in our to-do list and that exploring different options is out of question?
This weekend because of the lack of time, we did our grocery in a different store. Trust me, it threw me off the routine and I stood there confused for a while. I mentally mapped the spots in the old store trying to recall the things that we get every week. I started out fine but then after being exposed to a new arena of vegetables including turnips, I conveniently forgot about the mapping. I didn’t recall eating turnips either in India or even here in the US. Shocking but true J. OK after some ooh’s and aah’s at the store, the end it all, we got some new stuff like turnips, fennel but conveniently forgot onions and potatoes!
Anyway, after doing some searches online, I made this curry this week. In my opinion, they taste and smell like radish especially after they are cooked. I know taste is usually subjective but sorry Mr.Turnip and turnip lovers but I don’t think I will be buying these often. But if you like radish then I am sure you will like it. DH was suggesting that they will taste good in a sambhar kind of like the Radish sambhar.
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This Raw Mango Rice called as ‘Mavinakayi Chitranna’ in Kannada is a variation of the usual Mango Rice recipe that I have posted here. In the latter version, all the ingredients are mixed and cooked over the stove top; where as in this version, the cooked rice is mixed along with raw mango paste and then aptly seasoned. Of course, for this version the seasoning plays a very important role and needs to be as strong as possible. This is achieved by using good asafetida, fresh curry leaves and good dried chillies.
I got this recipe from my MIL who happened to see this in a cookery program on TV. She passed along this recipe last week. Since I had a raw mango, I gave it a try this week and we loved the taste. The tanginess for this rice comes from the raw mango and there is no need to add lemon juice to this.
I have also posted a basic variation of Chitranna (without any raw mango) here.
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