Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kokum Rasam


South Canara's unique culinary skills & spice utilization has been an eye-opener to me always. Each time I visit this beautiful place, I'm welcomed by unique south canara food to eat/drink or munch.

Two years before, we visited our relatives place in some place (sorry guys I have forgotten the name of the village). It was around 3:00p.m & sun was at his peak. That was the first time, I ever met them or seen them. They served a dark pinkish color juice to us. Me being not a fan of juices could never imagine to try a new type of juice! My hubby knew about this, but he didnot want me to disappoint them, he asked me to take the juice. I signalled my hubby that, once your glass is over, we will exchange. I cannot drink this juice.

As the host was infront of me, I had to forcefully sip a little. Wow!!, the juice tasted soo different, a little sour, a little sweet, mildly cool & soothing. I asked my mom-in-law as to what juice was that. She confirmed from the host that, it was punarpuli juice or kokum juice. That was the first time, I heard of something called "kokum". I thought, it was some medicinal plant used for preparaing ayurvedic medicines.

After reaching our place, I got details from my hubby's aunty. She showed me the dried kokum & asked me to lick it a little. It seemed to be soaked & dried in salt. It was like salted tamarind & was simply superb. Me being crazy about sour items like raw mango, gooseberry, amtekayi loved it immediately. Got the very simple rasam recipe from her & I donot know in these 2 years how many times I have prepared this. My sister & brother-in-law used to drink this even as a soup!!!

More information about Kokum, also known as punarpuli or baddupuli, can be found in wikipedia.

Ingredients:
5-6 pieces of dried kokum
2-3 broken red chilli
1/2 tsp pepper-jeera powder
1/4th tsp powdered jaggery
generous pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp coconut oil (highly recommended)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
4-6 curry leaves
salt according to taste
cliantro/coriander leaves (optional for garnishing)

Method:

  • Soak the dried kokum in 500-600ml of water for 15 minutes. (Amount of water mentioned is for 5-6 dried kokum only, increase or decrease the quantity accordingly).
  • Add salt, jaggery, pepper-cumin seeds powder to water & boil the water along with kokum. (The sundried kokum contains salt, hence check the saltness in the water before adding additional salt)
  • Once the water starts boiling, turn off the flame.
  • In a small tempering pan, add oil. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds splutter, add broken red chilli, curry leaves. When red chilli & curry leaves change color, turn off the flame, add asafoetida & pour this tempering on the rasam prepared.
  • Add cliantro, mix well & serve this rasam with rice, papad & pickle.