By Naini Setalvad May 2013 Naini Setalvad shows us why kokum is beneficial, especially in summer Come summer and we reach for that chilled soft drink. However, not many realise that there are other healthier and more refreshing options available. One such drink is made of the fruit, kokum. It is not just the fruit, but also the bark of the roots as well as the oil, which finds extensive use in medicine. Kokum, or ‘Garcinia Cambogia,’ is a tangy spice found in India, used in many parts of the country. It is available in a number of varieties. One exceptional type is the black kokum (kodampuli) from Kerala. This is drier than the red version, and its tart flavor lends a fillip to the many fish dishes Keralites are famed for. Black kokum contains a host of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and even polyphenols. The seeds contain yellow coloured oil, which becomes butter-like when frozen and is known as kokum butter. Beauty aid According to Ayurveda, kokum can be utilized to prevent infections, boost digestive function, and heal sores and stomach ulcers. The distinct tangy flavor of kokum is because of its Vitamin C and polyphenol content. As a result, it is counted as a beautifying food. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C and polyphenols battle the free radical damage caused by pollution, dust, and stress, and even as a byproduct of breathing. The Vitamin C and polyphenols in kokum help to neutralize the free radicals. It cleans our cells from within, lending a glow to the skin and luster to the hair. Along with purifying blood, kokum can boost the immunity. Summer cooler Naini Setalvad is a nutritionist,specialising in lifestyle and immunitydisorders. Her foundation, HealthFor You, throws light on healthy foodhabits. Kokum has the power to prevent dehydration, being ideal for use in summer. As a result, it prevents the loss of minerals during sweating. Therefore, if your child wants to run and play outside, just add some kokum in her food daily, and be assured that the heat will not sap her energy. For those battling sugar problems, kokum can help regulate your diabetes. It also aids in liver function, because of its Vitamin C content, which makes kokum ideal for health. In the summer, there is a great amount of appetite suppression, which leads to people avoiding good food, giving rise to nutrient deficiency and possibly constipation. Kokum is able to perk up not only your digestion, but also your appetite, ensuring that your stomach is free of problems. In addition, kokum can cure flatulence and acidity. Kokum will help to stave off allergies inflicted by the summer dust and heat. It is anti-allergic and is also anti-inflammatory. Using kokum in your diet will help reduce the incidence of inflammation due to various infections. This delectable condiment contains HCA, which is an anti-obesity nutrient. This prevents triggering of inflammations. In addition, it helps to heal wounds. Kokum butter is beneficial for the skin, for its astringent-like properties. It can even be a home remedy for burns and heat rashes. In many homes in Maharashtra, kokum is used as flavoring instead of imli (tamarind). Even patients suffering from arthritis, and strictly warned against souring agents, are permitted to use kokum. Make some amrutkokam by soaking kokum in water and sweetening it with jaggery. This healthy, refreshing drink is an apt cure for sunstroke, due to its cooling properties. Alternatively, add the dried rind to curries, and dals to give it a sharp distinctive flavor. Sol kadhi Ingredients 5 – 7 kokum (sol) 1 cup coconut milk 2 cloves garlic 1 – 2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera) powder 1/2 tsp ghee 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera) 1 green chilli, finely chopped Curry leaves for tempering Salt to taste Method 1. Soak the kokum in one cup water for 5-6 hours 2. Squeeze and remove from water 3. Strain the water and discard the kokum 4. Crush coriander, green chilli, and garlic, adding a pinch of salt 5. In a bowl, mix coconut milk and kokum water 6. Add crushed masala and cumin seeds powder 7. Add salt to taste and mix well 8. Heat ghee in a pan, add cumin seeds and curry leaves 9. Turn off the flame and pour the tempering on kokum mixture 10. Serve hot (avoid reheating as the coconut milk could curdle)
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