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Kokam

Americans spend more money in dieting, dieting products and weight loss surgery than any other people in the world

· Spice

What do you think most Americans spend their money on?
Home? Cars? Education? Jewelry? Vacation? …. What your answer …
Answer is …..None of these….
According to recent studies, Americans spend more money in dieting, dieting products and weight loss surgery than any other people in the world.

I believe its high time we switch to more real food, holistic approach and towards leading healthy lifestyle…Real food includes fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, spices. Let’s explore one such weight loss marvel ….

Garcinia cambogia is now one of the best, known members of the garcinia family. Thanks to the TV shows for its promotion as a weight loss aid. But it’s close cousin, Garcinia Indica, didn’t get much spotlight yet, but I am pretty sure that it will undeniably, aww you once you know about it.

If you visited the Western coast of India or been at a dinner in an Indian household, you were lucky to taste Garcinia Indica/kokam. But once you have tried it, you surely be eager to taste it again. People who have been fortunate enough to visit India’s Western Ghats region in the summertime, won’t stop raving about “sok-Kadhi”, remarkably tasty, refreshing, creamy, pink drink. The creaminess is added by the coconut milk, but the pink color comes from kokam, an exotic spice from a lush ornamental fruit tree native to Ghats. Sol-Kadhi is not only popular for its taste, but also because it helps the body to cool down in the humid, tropical air. Kokam’s medicinal property helps prevent dehydration and sunstroke.

Getting to Know Kokam

Kokam isn’t a very attractive spice, especially when compared to spices like star anise or saffron, but its taste makes a striking balance. Its fruit is beautifully colored, but the dried rind is deep purple kind of black), with tangled edges. Kokam is slightly sticky and sour and sweet in taste. It’s not as aromatic as other spices but it smells slightly sweet, when examined closely. Kokam is not well known as a culinary spice outside of India. But it is one of the key ingredients in Konkani cuisine, which is a fabulous journey, especially for those who love sweet-tangy-salt bursts of flavor.

Health benefits

1. Kokam is a weight loss wonder

Kokam is studied as a natural weight loss aid because it contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA is a known as appetite suppressant, and numerous studies show that eating HCA not only leads to weight loss, but fat loss as well. The key ingredient, hydroxycitric acid, HCA, found in the famous garcinia cambogia, is also found in the cousin Kokam. HCA is well known appetite suppressant apparently due to increased release of serotonin in the brain. Garcinia Indica and Cambogia are the only known source of HCA.

2. Kokam helps in treating ulcers
For decades, Ayurvedic practitioners have used Kokam successfully to treat and prevent stomach ulcers. Finally, modern research was able to back it up by proving that Kokam can kill H. pylori, the bacteria that are the main cause of both gastric (stomach) and peptic (stomach, small intestine, or esophageal) ulcers. Chronic ulcer problems can lead to stomach cancer. Garcinols can eliminate H. pylori naturally with the help of its antibacterial and ulcer-targeting action.

3. Kokam is excellent for immune system
As we now know that Kokam’s major active ingredient is garcinol, a substance with antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which helps to enhance the immune system. Interestingly, Kokam is structurally like turmeric. In the lab experiment, reported in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, both curcumin(turmeric) and garcinol(Kokam) were effective at stopping the production of leukemia cancer cells, but garcinol proved to be the more powerful of the duo.

Around the world

As stated earlier, Kokam is much known outside of India, but it is used in the form of Kokam butter in cosmetics like cocoa butters. In Europe, it’s a common ingredient in lipstick, moisturizing creams, conditioners, and soap. And it is used widely in products made for dry, chapped, irritated, and sunburned skin.

Kokam seeds contain a good proportion of oil that freezes to form Kokam butter. Kokam butter is mostly used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry as it works miracles on dry, chapped, sensitive, irritated or burnt skin.

How to use Kokam?

• Add a rind or two of Kokam in curry pastes and tomato sauces.

• When cooking lentils or soup, add few pieces at the beginning.

• Grind and sprinkle on guava, pomegranate seeds, cooked vegetables, potatoes, and soups.

• Stir ground Kokam into yogurt.

Interesting recipe

Kokam drink

Ingredients:

1½ cup Kokam

3 cups water

1½ cup sugar

½ tsp cumin powder

pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sized pan Kokam in 2 cups of hot water for 2-3 hours.
  2. Transfer to a blender and blend to coarse paste.
  3. Place the paste in pan, add sugar and ½ cup water.
  4. Stir till sugar gets completely dissolved.
  5. Let it boil for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. The mixture thickens and forms syrup.
  7. Add cumin powder and salt.
  8. Mix well and Strain the syrup (you might need to squeeze of the pulp to get syrup).

Kokam syrup is ready. Refrigerate in an air tight container.

Kokam drink:
1. Pour 1 tbsp of Kokam syrup in a glass.
2. Pour a cup of cold water and mix well.
3. Add few ice cubes in a glass.
4. Enjoy the refreshing Kokam drink.

Sol Kadhi:
Ingredients:

2 tbsp Kokam syrup
2 cups water
2 cup coconut milk (To make coconut milk, grind scraped coconut with 1 cup water to a smooth paste. Strain the prepared milk through muslin cloth into a bowl.)
1 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
8-10 curry leaves
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 green chili finely chopped
salt to taste
cilantro finely chopped

Directions:
1.In a bowl, mix coconut milk and Kokam syrup
2.In a small pan heat oil.
3.Add cumin seeds, garlic, green chilies, curry leaves.
4. Temper for a 1-2 mins.
5. Pour the tempering to the coconut milk and syrup bowl.
6. Add salt and mix well.
7. Garnish with cilantro.

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