The temperatures are soaring in Northern India and Delhi is sizzling at 46 degree Celsius. I am keeping myself hydrated with various sharbats and Kokum is one my favorites. It keeps the body cool and is anti inflammatory. Kokum juice has other health benefits too but I love the tangy sweet taste of this delicious sharbat and make it often. I use kokum or aamsul, also known as Malabar Tamarind, as souring agent too. We made kokum saar too sometime. It tastes amazing and helps aid digestion too. Will share a recipe soon.
Kokum|kokam, Garcinia indica, belongs to Mangosteen family. It is native to the western coastal regions of southern India and used extensively in the cuisines of Gujarat Maharashrta and several southern states. The fruit is usually sold as a dried dark purple to black rind or as semi wet sticky curled edges. When added to food it gives the dish a pinkish purple color and a sweet/sour taste. It is slight astringent in nature too.
As fresh kokum is not available in Delhi I use the dry one. I have two batches of it, one is dried with salt and the other is plain semi dried fruit petals which I use to make sharbat. I avoid buying the readymade concentrate but if fresh or dry kokum is not available in your area please feel free to use the market bought concentrate. Add roasted cumin powder, crushed mint, black salt to the sharbat and sip the tangy sweet goodness on hot summer noons. Trust me there is nothing to beat this drink. Use it for Margaritas and other cocktails. It pairs well with rum and vodka. Here is an Ice Tea Recipe with Kokum.
The semi dry or dry kokum petals have a very strong sour taste so they should be used with care. The dry kokum tastes very sour and astringent but has a sweet aroma. The fresh fruit is sweeter. The very dry kokum petals will give you a muddy and reddish brown colored sharbat but the
Kokum sharbat concentrate can be stored in the fridge in an airtight glass jar for a maximum of 3-4 weeks. Use clean dry spoon to use it whenever required.
1 cup – Kokum
1.5 cups – Sugar
1.5 cups – Water
1 tsp. – Black salt
2 tsp. – Cumin powder
1 tbsp – Crushed mint leaves
Wash and soak dry / semi dry kokum petals in 2 cups of warm water for 2-3 hours. The petals will soften and will leave a deep reddish or deep mauve wine color.
Strain the water and keep it aside. Now Mash the kokum with hand or blend in a mixer.
Add this mixture to the reserved water and put it over medium high flame. Add the sugar and stir nicely till it dissolves completely. Cook for another 2-3 minutes till the liquid thickens a bit and comes to a syrup like consistency then turn off the heat.
Let it come to room temperature then sieve it through the strainer. Press the crushed kokum with the back of the spoon or with fingers to extract all the juices.
Add black salt, roasted cumin powder, black pepper ( optional ) and stir. Your concentrate is ready to be bottled.
To make the sharbat, take 2-3 tsp of kokum concentrate ( as per taste) in a glass and tip in chilled water and a little of crushed mint leaves. At this point I empty an ice cube tray and fill the slots with this sharbat instead of using ice for the drink. Ice more flavorful. dilutes the drink so ice cubes made of sharbat make it.
Once the cubes are set we are ready to make the sharbat.
In a glass pitcher add kokum concentrate depending on how many glasses you need to make. Add chilled water and crushed mint leaves and give it a nice stir.
Take the serving glasses and salt the rims by taking some pink or black salt in a plate and inverting the wet rims on it.
Gently pour the sharbat in the glasses then add the sharbat ice cubes to it.
Method – 2
Sometime I don’t boil the Kokum and juice to make a concentrate. I just soak the kokum in just enough water to cover the fruit petals for 4-5 hours or overnight inside the fridge then rub the kokum with fingers to extract all the flavor. Then strain and add boora cheeni or jaggery powder, roasted cumin powder, black pepper powder, crushed fresh mint leaves, kokum ice cubes and more water then stir to make a quick sharbat. It tastes equally good.
You can also put one kokum in a glass of water and soak for half an hour, add salt, cumin powder and drink that water too as an aid to digestion.
Do try this concentrate to make mocktails, cocktails and Ice teas. You will definitely love the delicious and flavorful taste.
Do away with market bought drinks and invest some time in our indigenous and traditional drinks.