Tag Archives: drink

Kokum, Konkan’s wonder fruit

Come summer and I crave a glass of refreshing tangy kokum sherbet. And of course, no Malwani or Goan meal is complete without a glass of sol kadi for me, made from kokum, coconut milk, ginger, et al.

Kokum cooler

Kokum is an amazing purplish red sweet and salty fruit, also called garcinia. It is a popular souring agent in the Konkan region and I cannot do without it in my kitchen.  I love the fact that it is multi-faceted and lends itself to so many dishes. But yes, it should be fresh. The flavours are completely different when it is not fresh and appears dehydrated.

Whole dried kokum can be used in curries. I cannot imagine my fish or prawns curry without the tangy kokum or even my dry bhindi or ladies fingers, for that matter.

But I must confess, I learnt about kokum fairly late in life, when I got married to a Goan. In Kolkata, where I grew up, we had never heard of kokum, let alone use it. For us, tamarind was always the souring agent.

Halwa-Fish-Curry

In all curries where coconut milk is added, I tend to use kokum. I once sampled the most unusual kokum coconut chutney at Park Hyatt Goa. The taste still lingers in my mouth. It was exceedingly well-made.

It is called Bhinda in the Konkan region. I am somehow fascinated by the colour of kokum apart from its flavour. People in Kerala use it as well. In Maharashtra, moong dal amti with kokum and goda masala is legendary. It is a must try.

Kokum is used for its unique flavour and peculiar sourness that it gives to the dishes and hence used in Konkan Cuisine. A chef once told me an interesting way that kokum is used. Yes, Kokum butter, prepared from seeds is used in confectionery preparations. Some chefs have created unique European dishes using Kokum too.

Karavalli-Food-festival-image

Apart from its utility in the kitchen, kokum, owing to its anti oxidant and anti fungal properties, teats sores, prevents infection, improves digestion, treats constipation, and application of direct Kokum on skin removes all kinds of rashes and allergies.

Although it is available freely in Mumbai too, I still prefer getting my stock of kokum from Goa. It is fresh and flavoursome and I can be sure of the quality. Madgaon market is my favourite place to pick the best kokum.

So try using kokum in your culinary experiments, if you have not already. It is bound to tease your taste buds.

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Watch out For This Treesome!

The Treesome Cafe in Andheri West, Mumbai definitely looked like a cool and happening place an was abuzz with people on Friday night as we stepped in. The outer portion was distinctly reminiscent of TLD. Yet the decor was totally different. We opted for a table inside.

The funky names and the interesting descriptions in the menu immediately caught my eye. Cupcake Shrooms aka mushrooms stuffed with cottage cheese, chilli and sundried tomatoes served just like sweet cupcakes. Cute to look at and delicious as well but a lil’ impractical to handle and eat. They were so wobbly that the lower portion would just fall apart.  I even shared this with the chef and he agreed. We sipped our Orange Lemon grass coolers which were heavy on orange juice but the lemongrass was conspicuous by its absence. Refreshing nevertheless.

The Big Mezze with hummus, babaganoush, persian falafel, pita bread, et al was a gastronomic delight. Luscious flavours and interesting textures all in the same platter. The babganoush surprisingly got full marks as normally I am not a brinjal fan, Was well made indeed. The cous cous salad too was unique but the persian falafels did not impress me too much.

Foot tapping music, audible but not noisy was playing and enhanced the charm of the place. I loved the platters on which the food was served.

I loved the dish Gabar Singh, spinach, chill and cheese crostini, although I did not try those. Chicken Gangnam syle- the Korean grilled chicken was a complete washout as far as I was concerned. Though stylishly served in glasses, the texture of the chicken was too mushy, as if excessively marinated.

Chicken Gangnam Style

Bokiba – the Maldivian fish cakes were unique and well made. Reminded me instantly of the fish balls one eats in Singapore. The sundried tomato chutney too was delectable. A good offering, I thought.

The Chef is certainly creative and well travelled. The menu though limited has enough variety. The place is obviously meant to entice drinkers and it sure does. Food is secondary, yet not a run of the mill stuff.

1405698631899

For those who are still hungry, burgers, pizza and main course choices abound. We settled to share a Butter chicken Risotto as frankly I have always eaten only the Italian ones. This sounded out of the ordinary. It surpassed our expectations. Well made, it was creamy and had the spicy chicken integrated well into the risotto and a grilled piece was served along side too. Pretty innovative! There was Lal Masala fish, Chicken Cafreal, Penne Vodka and much more to choose from. I know a place like this need not have dessert on their menu but I sorely missed it.

It was a Friday night so they could be excused, but the service was a bit confused. But the quality of the food and drinks served is excellent, innovative and the place is pulsating and fun.