Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Kokum (Garcinia Indica, Amsool)

Kokum (Amsul, Amsool, Sol)
Kokum (Amsool, Amsul, Sol)

The kokum tree is a graceful tropical tree and grows in the Konkan, Malabar and Kanara regions of Western India that are gifted with rich soil, adequate rainfall and very good sunshine. Kokum tree reaches a height of 10-15 meters, has dark green foliage and a pyramidal shape. The tree blooms from November to February and the fruits ripen in April-May. The kokum fruit ratamba looks similar to small variety plum, and has dark purple color when ripe. Fruits are harvested when ripe and only the rind is preserved by drying in the Sun. That is Kokum. Sometimes salt is rubbed onto the rind to speed up the drying process.

Just like tamarind, kokum is mainly used as a souring agent. Kokum has a fruity and tangy flavor. Kokum fruit is considered to act as a Cholagogue, and is also used in treatment of skin rashes caused by allergies. Kokum fruit is steeped in sugar syrup to make Amrut-Kokum, and is used to avoid sunstroke.

When buying kokum, look for soft, pliable rinds. Good quality kokum is dark purple in color. I have seen Kokum with white crystals on it and it just means that too much salt was used in the drying process. No worry. Just wash the kokum rinds in cold water before using.

Another avatar of kokum is Kokum Butter, an excellent emollient, and is now used by the cosmetics industry for lotions, creams, lip balms and soaps. Kokum butter has a relatively high meting point, considered one of the most stable exotic butters (Shea butter, cocoa butter, etc) and hence doesn’t need refrigeration. It is extracted from the kokum seed and is supposed to reduce degeneration of skin cells and restore elasticity.

Ayurvedic medicine considers Vrikshamla, Sanskrit name for kokum, to be pitta pacifying and uses the fruit, root, bark of Kokum tree to treat acidity, pitta related allergies and some abdominal ailments.

Konkani cuisine has given the world an amazing gift of Sol Kadhi, an appetite arousing drink prepared with kokum and coconut milk. Sol kadhi involves almost no cooking. Some enjoy Sol Kadhi with rice and roti, but I love to drink it just by itself.

Sol Kadhi Ingredients
Coconut Milk, Green Chilli, Kokum, Cilantro, Cumin and Jaggery

Sol Kadhi

5 or 6 Kokum
1 cup coconut milk (Homemade, or Canned unsweetened type)
1 green chilli
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
Sugar or jaggery, and salt – to taste
2 fresh sprigs of fresh cilantro

Soak Kokum in a cup of warm water for half an hour, to soften and to release juice.

Grind green chilli and cumin to fine paste.

Once the kokum water turns pink, take it in a big cup or glass. Add coconut milk. Stir in sugar or jaggery and salt to taste. Also the cumin-chill paste. Mix. Garnish with cilantro leaves and drink immediately. Do not leave kokum soaked in as it will make the sol kadhi sourer than normal. (Some also like to add a pinch of grated ginger and garlic.)

During winter, I warm up the sol kadhi for few minutes and enjoy it as a soup. During hot summer months, I prefer to take it at cold or at room temperature.

If you have never tried Kokum before, then Sol Kadhi would be a good start. The agreeable flavor and sweet, acidic taste will get you hooked on this amazing Kokum drink.

Sol Kadhi
Soul’s Awakening in Baby Pink ~ Sol Kadhi

By Anjali Damerla

Previously on Anjali’s Supreme Spice Series: Herbs and Spices

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Anjali Damerla,Coconut (Fresh),Herbs and Spices,Kokum (Amsool) (Thursday January 24, 2008 at 12:42 pm- permalink)
Comments (25)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

25 comments for Kokum (Garcinia Indica, Amsool) »

  1. is kokum available in the US? does it have any other name?

    Comment by Mythreyee — January 24, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

  2. Though I am intrigued by its colour and shape, I have been hesitant so far to try kokum. Thanks Anjali and Indira, for the post. I will try kokum. Sol kadhi looks like Neer Moru. Refreshing indeed.

    Comment by Suganya — January 24, 2008 @ 1:07 pm

  3. I have this for a very long time not knowing what to do with it. I shall try this recipe.

    Comment by Sarada — January 24, 2008 @ 1:09 pm

  4. Very informative blog. Being from Goa I ahve had the ripe fruit fresh,its very sharp tasting unlike plump.But kokum serbet is made from a fresh fruit. Also for those who are watchign cholestrol,Goans make a low-fat version of this called “Footi Kadhi”. Just soak kokum in water, add pinch of hing,green chillies diced,cilantro and salt. Goans use this as on rice…Maybe I will post more about this.

    Comment by sowhatsnewtoday — January 24, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

  5. Never used this… Kadhi looks great!!

    Comment by kalva — January 24, 2008 @ 1:48 pm

  6. Great pictures! Never heard of Kokum. But Sol Kadhi looks colorful and mouth-watering. I’ll definitely try it.

    Comment by Uma — January 24, 2008 @ 2:14 pm

  7. Fantastic pictures, wonderful post. I just love “Soul” kadhi – that’s what I call it. I use kokum regularly in my cooking. but didnt know about kokum butter. As mentioned in the post, Ratamba or fresh fruit of kokum makes excellent fresh kokum sherbet, dried too is used to make kokum sherbet. Just like “amrit kokum” syrup, kokum pulp without sugar is available (in Mumbai/Goa/Konkan etc) and is called “Aagol”.

    Comment by Meera — January 24, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

  8. Very nice post. I have never tasted Kokum before. Now i can try.
    Great post and pictures. Thanks Anjali and Indira!!

    Comment by Madhuri.A — January 24, 2008 @ 3:41 pm

  9. kokum is also called as binda or brinda. I had to smuggle my stash past the very strict quarantine.
    I didnt know about kokum butter. your researching skills are truly amazing, not to mention your attention to detail.

    Comment by Freshma — January 24, 2008 @ 6:44 pm

  10. This was absolutely fantastic! Made it last night. Delicious! I used to love Kokum sherbet (just like everybody does). I wish we would get some Kokum sherbet here in the US too. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

    Comment by Nidhi — January 25, 2008 @ 7:00 am

  11. that was a very informative post. I use more of kokum than tamarind in my kitchen. being from konkan this is vastly used in our cuisines

    Comment by nanditha — January 25, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

  12. I always heard of this, never had this. thanks for shairng the recipe Anjali and Indira.
    Happy republic day to you & Vijay.

    Comment by Pooja — January 26, 2008 @ 12:04 pm

  13. Hi Indira,

    I found one of the Mahanandi’s photo in the Below link..
    Please check, i don’t know whether they have legally taken or not..


    Comment by Anu — January 26, 2008 @ 1:15 pm

  14. Sol kadhi is really yummy! I long for kokum here. It was really nice that this time i got to enjoy some at my friend’s place.

    Comment by musical — January 26, 2008 @ 1:29 pm

  15. My husbands family has it at the end of the meal everyday. They mix it with about 2 tblsp rice and finish the meal with that. Its supposed to aid digestion. We dont add any cumin or jaggery. Only kokum, green chilies, coconut salt and dhania. Other variations are garlic and hing.

    Another drink is tivir in which we just add kokum, water, green chiles, salt, sugar, and corriander leaves. do try that its tasty and fat free. This is also taken at the end of the meals

    Comment by vimmi — January 27, 2008 @ 9:27 am

  16. wow. **picks jaw off floor**

    dear indira,

    i thoroughly enjoy all the articles and pictures on your blog. the quality is as stellar as ever.

    dear anjali,
    i learn a whole lot from your posts. keep up the great flow of information.


    Comment by bee — January 27, 2008 @ 10:20 am

  17. Quality is going down? That, too, on a post about sol kadi and kokum?! This is comfort food for people from the Konkan coast. Along with footi kadi that someone else mentioned in the comments above. That bowl of sol kadi has me entranced and longing for ‘home’.

    Bee, I didn’t send you any Goan kokum as I had said I would because it dried out in CO weather and seems to have lost its flavor, too.

    Anjali, what is the best way to store kokum? I am over a mile high and it’s very dry up here.

    Comment by Manisha — January 27, 2008 @ 11:48 am

  18. Mythreyee – Yes, we do get Kokum here in US now and it is sold under this same name.

    Freshma – thanks.

    Bee – Thank you so much for your encouraging words. Really appreciate it.

    Manisha – Thanks. I totally understand your love for Kokum. Sol Kadhi is for Konkan just like Sambar is for South India.
    The best way to store kokum is to keep it in a airtight container. It should stay good for a year.

    Sanjana & Malini – I do understand that its almost impossible to make everyone happy with one’s work. There are bound to be a few who are unsatisfied. Taking your comments in a positive way and will work harder on my future articles.


    Comment by Anjali Damerla — January 27, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

  19. nice pictures, and an informative post! I alwasy use kokum in my gujarati dal:)

    Comment by Mansi — January 27, 2008 @ 6:44 pm

  20. Anjali, Indira,
    Thank you for such a beautiful, yummy recipe. Will definitely try this.

    Keep the good work going. Kudos!


    Comment by Vani — February 8, 2008 @ 6:26 pm

  21. I would like to know from where can i purchase kokum butter in Mumbai.

    Comment by pinky — February 11, 2008 @ 1:48 am

  22. Dear Indira
    a great sourse of information from you….. really amazing …..
    i tried this recipe and its simply wonderful
    thanks a lot

    Comment by Raviraj — June 11, 2008 @ 6:17 am

  23. I feel this is a good health drink and should be made subsitute for carbonated drinks.
    In case any self help group wants to manufacture this drink ie Kokum sharbat I can help them by marketting and finances.

    Comment by B.Lal — May 9, 2009 @ 7:54 am

  24. I want to know Name & address for Kokum distributor in mumbai

    Comment by Amita — June 11, 2009 @ 4:12 am

  25. i want to purchase Sugar free Kokum Juice I live in Delhi contacted two suppliers but they didn’t send can you tell me the site to purchase online

    Comment by Alok Shorewala — May 5, 2015 @ 9:11 am

Your Comment


(required but not published)

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

It sounds like SK2 has recently been updated on this blog. But not fully configured. You MUST visit Spam Karma's admin page at least once before letting it filter your comments (chaos may ensue otherwise).