*Kokam, which resembles a small, dark purple plum, is the fruit of a tropical evergreen tree (Garcinia indica) that grows only in India.
The dried, very dark purple, flattened rind is rather sticky and has curled edges and a fruity, balsamic aroma with tannic notes. Its flavor is sharp, acidic, and salty, with refreshing dried-fruit sweetness.
Kokam is used in India as a souring agent like tamarind or amchur. Big glasses of kokam sharbat (a cold beverage) are drunk to counteract the blazing heat.
What to buy: Kokam is sold whole or in small leathery pieces. The deeper the color, the better the quality. Look for kokam at Indian markets and buy in small quantities, as the soft, pliable rinds dry out and lose their flavor.
- Yield: 1 drink
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 10 mins
- Active: 10 mins
- 1/2 cup kokam
- 1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin seeds
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- Soak dried kokam in hot water to cover until soft. Using a blender or food processor, puree with cumin seeds. Strain the puree, discarding the solids.
- Boil water with sugar to make a syrup. Add the strained puree to the cooled syrup and mix well.
- Add 1/4 cup of the mixture to a large glass of ice-cold water and mix well. Serve chilled with ice.