Belonging to the mangosteen family (Clusiaceae), kokum is a fruit-bearing tree that has culinary and pharmaceutical uses. The small purple kokum fruit originates in southern India. It grows on small evergreen trees in tropical rainforests, where the climate is warm and humid. Kokum juice and rind are both used in cooking in India, but the fruit can also be used for medicinal purposes. The fruit is a source of garcinol, a substance that the health industry has recently recognised as having significant benefits for a variety of illnesses.

Kokum helps protect body tissues in against damage from free radicals, which have been linked to diabetes, arthritis and cardiovascular disorders. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Now, for a recipe.

Solkadi

Ingredients

Kokum: 50 gm

Fresh coconut: 100 gm

Garlic pods: 3 nos.

Black pepper: 4 nos.

Sugar: 1 tsp

Salt: 1 tsp

Green chilli: 1

Coriander leaves for garnishing

Method: Soak the kokum in the water for one hour. Grind the grated coconut, garlic, black pepper and 1 green chilli with kokum into a fine paste. Squeeze this paste through a strainer; repeat the process twice to extract the juice. Mix well and garnish with finely chopped green chilli and coriander leaves.

Saurabh Singh, Executive Sous Chef, Taj Club House