Fruity Splendour

Summer season is not just restricted to relishing seasonal fruits like cashews and mangoes, but also deals with some ancient traditions associated with the time of year. NT BUZZ brings to its readers another of the season’s favourites – the kokum

Come summer we begin our grumbles, get irritated and look for various ways to cool ourselves. But, actually this is one of the seasons you can enjoy some of the best fruits of nature - only if we city birds come out of our closet and look around.
It is the best time to relish king of fruits - mango - along with fruits like cashew, jackfruit, pineapple, and local berries like chunnas, kannas and the famous kokum, which is in abundance these days.
It is interesting to note that this basic looking fruit can be used in various ways. Kokum juice and edible oil extracted from it are healthier options compared to processed products.
Sumedha Kamat, writer and expert in Goan cuisine says, “During summer we have different types of fruits like ‘ghota’ (a type of mango), pineapple and also ‘bhinna’ (kokum) available. It is also a common practice in villages to make a pickle of raw mangoes or to make papad from urad dal for which ladies from the neighbourhood get together and make these provisions for the coming monsoon.”
She further adds that kokum is best used during summer. “Kokum is widely used to make kokum juice. For this the kokum is put in a glass jar after deseeding. Ample amount of sugar and rock salt are added and then this jar is placed in sunlight for days together. It is kept in sunlight for the sugar to melt. It is then used to make the juice,” informs Sumedha.
Another well known use of kokum is for making the delicious ‘kokum kadi’. This practice is called ‘aagal.’ “For this the fruit is broken and is separated from its seeds. Then the skin of the fruit is dried either on rooftops or coconut leaves. It is dried for around three times by dipping it in its juice. It is then used to make the famous kokum curry,” confirms Sumedha.
Elaborating further she informs about the rare practice of extracting oil from kokum. “Dry the seeds and then break it and boil it. When it boils the skin that comes up on top is collected and it becomes like a transparent ball. It is used widely in Konkan areas. It is used to make pancakes and is also used as an oil to massage feet during winter,” elaborates Sumedha.
One can also try out some interesting recipes during these days like the pineapple chutney, ghotanche sasav and even one quite old dish called ‘ansule pansule.’
“It is made with seasonal fruits like pineapple, jackfruit and ghota. The quantity of jackfruit used is quite less. It made with grated coconut gravy and with all main spices. This dish is also made in some temples during the vasant puja,” concludes Sumedha.