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All About Kokum | Know Your Spice Amsol or Kokam (Garcinia indica)

Kokum Fruit, Leaves & Petals

Kokum Fruit, Leaves & Petals

All About Kokum | Know Your Spice Amsol or Kokam (Garcinia indica)

It is also known as Punarpuli, Aagul, Goa Butter Tree, Kokum Butter Tree, Indian Tallow Tree

The ripened, rind and juice of Kokam fruit are commonly used in cooking. The dried and salted rind is used as a condiment in curries.

Kokam is also used as a garnish to give an acid flavour to curries and for preparing attractive, red, pleasant flavoured cooling syrup.

Kokam butter used as an edible fat, is nutritive, demulcent and antiseptic. The rind has antioxidant properties.

The kokam fruit acts as an antioxidant, acidulant and appetite stimulant and helps in fight cancer, paralysis and cholesterol.

The kokam fruit is also a good digestive tonic and used to improve skin health. Kokum has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine.

It was traditionally used for treatment of different health related problems like sores, dermatitis, diarrhea, dysentery, ear infection and to facilitate digestion.

What are the other names of Kokum?

Kokam names in other languages are given below.
Indian Languages Other Languages
Hindi: Kokum (कोकम)
Bengali: Mahada (মহদা)
Gujarati:
Kokan (કોકન)
Malayalam
: Punarpuli (പുനാർപുലി)
Marathi: Amsol (आम्सोल)
Punjabi:
Kokum (ਕੋਕੁਮ)
Sanskrit:
Amlashaka (अमलाशका), Vrikshamla (वृक्षामला)
Tamil:
Murgal (முர்கல்)
Telugu:
Chinta (చింతా)
Latin (Botanical): Garcinia indica
Arabic: Kokam (كوكام)
Japanese:
Garushinia (ガルシニア)
Dutch:
Brindall
French:
Brindonnier
German: Kokam
Italian: Cocum
Spanish: Cocum
Swedish
: Cocum

What exactly is Kokum?

Get to know more about Kokam or Amsol

All about kokum | know your spice amsol or kokam (garcinia indica)

Kokum or Amsol (Garcinia indica) plant is a member of the Clusiaceae. The kokum tree reaches a height of about 10 to 15 meters and is ornamental in nature.

Kokam is a tree with a dense canopy of green leaves and red-tinged tender emerging leaves. It is indigenous to the Western Ghats region of India, along the western coast.

The tree is large and handsome, having elliptic, oblong or oblong-lanceolate, deep-green glossy leaves, 5.5-8 cm long and 2.5-3 cm broad.

The flowers are fleshy, dark pink, solitary or in spreading cluster.

The fruit is brownish or brownish-gray, marbled with yellow, and is crowned by the 4-parted, stalkless stigma.

There are from 6 to 8 seeds, and the pulp is juicy, white, and delicious in taste and odor.

An average kokam tree bears hundreds of fruits during summer. When they are tender, they are green in color. As they ripen, they get the beautiful purple color. The fruits are plucked when they are ripe.

The tree is a source of kokam butter which is used in cosmetics and confectionary.

Is kokum and mangosteen same?

What is the difference between kokum and mangosteen?

Kokum is sometimes confused with mangosteen fruit. They are similar only till the point of belonging to the same family – the genus Garcinia which itself has over 435 species under it.

The botanical name for Kokum is Garcinia Indica and that of Mangosteen is Garcinia mangostana.

What is the nutritional value of Kokum?

Find out about the nutritional value of Kokam or Amsol (Garcinia indica)

Kokam is rich in nutrition. 100 grams of kokam provides 60 calories of energy.

Though it is low in calories and fats, it is rich in fibre and provides around 2 grams of fibre per 100 grams of kokam.

It also contains vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Acetic acid and Hydroxycitric acid are also present in kokam.

What is the chemical composition of Kokum?

Know and understand about chemical composition of Amsol (Garcinia indica)

Seeds contain 30% fat. Kokum consists of glyceride of stearic acid (55%), oleic acids (40%), palmitic acid (2.5%), hydroxyl capric acid (10%), and linoleic acid (1.5%).

Kokum rind contains three important chemical constituents’ viz, Garcinol, Hydroxycitric acid and anthocyanin pigment.

Garcinol is a fat soluble yellow pigment; Hydroxycitric acid is used as an acidulant and physiologically active compound has been shown to significantly reduce body weight.

What is the history of Kokum?

Know more about the origins & the story behind Amsol (Garcinia indica)

The people of the Konkan who discovered uses for the fruit rind, pulp and seed, and built up the tradition of having it as a part of the daily meal, undoubtedly helped to perpetuate the tree species through cultivation of the tree for domestic consumption.

Those who raised seedlings and spread them across the region have helped generate and preserve the vast plant diversity that exists in Garcinia indica today.

Traditionally, Kokum has been used for many years as a medicinal treatment for diarrhea, skin infection and wounds in throughout South Asia

What are the uses of Kokum?

How is Amsol used?
  • Kokum seeds are used for oil extraction. That oil is called kokum butter and used in curries, cosmetics, medicines, and costly confectionery preparations in foreign countries.
  • In the culinary world, Kokum uses include that of a souring agent, an alternative to tamarind in curries and other dishes from coastal India.
  • Gujarat cuisine frequently uses it to add flavour and tartness to dal (lentils) for flavour balance.
  • It is a great summer cooler and finds its use to make a syrup and use it in beverages like sherbets, sol kadhi and juices in Goa.
  • Food applications vary with extensive use in curries, soups and pickles and as a preservative.
  • The fruit juice is used for production of syrup, squash, agal (salted juice) etc.
  • Kokum has emollient property, it is used as a natural moisturizer to keep skin supple and silky smooth.
  • Kokum butter is nutritive and astringent & used for candle, soap, ointments and other pharmaceutical purposes.
  • Fruit kokum, rind and seed have many applications such as culinary, foods, fruit drinks, pharmaceuticals and industrial.

What does Kokum taste like?

What is the the taste of Kokam or Amsol?

Kokam is sweet, but acidic. It has a juicy texture common among other fruits in the mangosteen family.

Each of the fruit’s five to eight sections has edible, watery yet potent flesh surrounding a malleable flat seed.

Dried kokum peel tastes exceptionally sour and metallic, with no trace of sweetness. The lack of sugar gives the fruit a salty disposition.


Woman selling kokum in mapusa


What are the ayurvedic properties of Kokum?

Information about ayurvedic details of Kokam or Amsol

Rasa (taste) – Amla (sour), Madhura – sweet
Guna (qualities) – Rooksha(dryness), Guru (heavy to digest)
Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) – Amla (sour)
Veerya (potency) – Ushna (hot)

Because of its sourness, kokam is considered hot in potency. However. when it is made into a juice with sugar candy powder and other coolant ingredients such as jaggery, it is useful as a cooling juice.


What can I use Kokum for?

Learn how to use Kokam or Amsol in your food & beverages.
  • Eat kokum raw like the locals of the Western Ghats: Use a toothpick and poke holes into the skin. Roll the fruit in a combination of salt and sugar; then suck the juice from the kokum.
  • Pulverize the sun dried skin into a powder, and then use it as a sweet and sour food additive.
  • It enhances coconut-based curries or vegetable dishes like potatoes, okra or lentils.
  • Substitute kokum for tomato or tamarind to make a zestier dal or curry.
  • Kokum is especially used with fish curries, three or four skins being enough to season an average dish.
  • You can also include it for making chutneys and pickles.
  • A glass of cold kokum sherbet is refreshing and it also improves the digestive system.
  • Use it for making Solkadhi mixed with coconut milk. For additional flavouring add ground green chilli, cumin paste, salt and jaggery.
  • Make kokum rasam by soaking and boiling the peel in water. Use 1 cup of water for every 2 kokum peels. Add salt and sugar to the mixture once boiled. On the side, briefly heat mustard seeds, chili and cumin in oil. Add these spices to the kokum water concoction.
  • Use it in fruit drinks and smoothies. Flavor combinations include bananas, grapefruit, and coconut milk.
  • Use kokum juice as a preserving agent in jams and canned goods

How long does Kokum last?

Learn about how long does Kokam or Punarpuli last in storage.

Keep kokum at room temperature and enjoy within a few days of ripeness. In the refrigerator, the fruits will keep up to one week.

Place dried kokam in an airtight container to avoid moisture. Refrigeration is not required, as the fruit keeps for years on kitchen countertops.

How do I store Kokum?

Learn about how to store Kokam or Punarpuli.

Keep kokum at room temperature and enjoy within a few days of ripeness. Place dried kokam in an airtight container to avoid moisture. Refrigeration is not required.

Is there a substitute for Kokum?

Learn how to use a substitute for Kokam or Amsol if unavailable

Tamarind by far makes the best substitute for kokum. Another alternative is Mango powder or amchur.

Cambodge or Malabar Tamarind and Anardana (dried pomegranate) are also good substitutes.

Where do I buy Kokam from?

Where to find Kokam or Amsol in the Grocery Store?

When in season, vendors and stores in the growing regions sell kokam readily.

Locals living in the areas where the fruits grow – such as Goa – often have kokam trees in their yard or within the neighborhood. Fresh fruits do not appear in other regions of India.

It is possible to find kokam derivatives sold year-round throughout the country: dried kokam skins, powder and kokum syrups, are examples.

Though, they will not be in every store, kokam products appear in shops specializing in a variety of dried fruits and nuts.

You can also buy Kokum products & oils online at this link.

What are the health benefits of Kokum?

Learn about health benefits of Kokam or Amsol (Kokumus officinalis)

The following are health benefits of Kokam, Kokum, Punarpuli or Amsol

  • Health Benefits of Amsol as an Antioxidant – Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds that help protect cells against damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals.
  • Health Benefits of Kokum against Diabetes –Kokum helps in managing blood sugar level because of its antioxidant and anti-diabetic properties. It is hence able to restore certain enzymes in the body that get reduced in the case of those who have type 2 diabetes.
  • Health Benefits of Amsol for Heart Health – Kokam is low in calories but rich in fibre. It has zero cholesterol and is a powerful antioxidant. It keeps our blood pressure under check because of the presence of minerals like magnesium, potassium and manganese.
  • Health Benefits of Kokum as an Antimicrobial Agent – Many compounds of amsol are blessed with antibacterial and antiviral properties, making this fruit a vital player, in handling many bacterial and viral infections.
  • Health Benefits of Amsol as an Anti-inflammatory AgentStudies have shown that kokum has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. This is due to the presence of certain phenolic compounds in the kokum fruit.
  • Health Benefits of Amsol for Your Mood – It helps in easing your anxiety, calming your mind and uplifting your mood when you are feeling low. Consuming kokum helps increase the level of serotonin in your body; the mood-enhancing hormone
  • Health Benefits of Kokum as a Natural Coolant – Kokam fruit is a natural coolant and a glass of kokam juice gives us immense relief from the scorching heat in summers. It is amazingly refreshing and energizes us. It also prevents dehydration
  • Health Benefits of Kokam for Weight LossKokam rind is rich in hydroxycitric acid, a compound that can help you lose weight naturally.
  • Health Benefits of Kokam for Digestion – For long it has been known and advised to have kokum for good digestion and to soothe acidity attacks and those burning sensations in the heart and stomach due to indigestion.
  • Health Benefits of Kokam for Better Sleep – Kokam contains flavonoids, hydroxycitric acid, garcinol and anthocyanins. All of them contribute to increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. This helps in reducing anxiety and depression.
  • Health Benefits of Kokam against Cancer – Consumption of Kokam protects from cancer as it is a powerful antioxidant. It has anti-carcinogenic properties which scavenge the free radicals, safeguarding us from carcinogenesis.

Kokum Fruit, Leaves & Petals
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Kokum Rasam or Punarpuli Saaru | How to Make Kokam Rasam?

Kokum Rasam Punarpuli Saaru | How to Make Kokam Rasam? - Kokam rasam or Punarpuli Saaru is one of the simplest ways to include kokum in your diet and harness health benefits of kokum. Kokum rasam has mixed combination of tangy, sour, spicy and sweet tastes.
Course Beverage, Soup
Cuisine South Indian
Diet Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword Kokam, Kokam Rasam, Kokum, Kokum Rasam, Punarpali Rasam, Punarpali Saaru, Punerpali
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 Servings
Calories 51kcal
Author Sumit Malhotra

Ingredients

  • 4 Piece Dried Kokum or Punarpuli Peel
  • 1.5 Teaspoon Crushed Long Pepper or Pipli
  • 1.5 Teaspoon Ghee
  • 0.5 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Piece Green Chilli optional
  • 1 Teaspoon Jaggery
  • 10 Piece Curry Leaves
  • 2 Tablespoon Coriander Leaves
  • 3 Cup Water
  • 0.5 Teaspoon Salt

Instructions

  • Soak the punarpuli or kokum peels in a cup of hot water for 30 minutes till soft. Squeeze the kokum pieces a bit.
  • In a large saucepan, add ghee and cumin seeds.
  • When they splutter, immediately pour the kokam extract over them.
  • Add 2 cups of water, salt, curry leaves and green chilli.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add a teaspoon of jaggery and mix well till dissolved.
  • Add chopped coriander leaves and crushed long pepper or pipli.
  • Stir well and get to a boil once again.
  • Serve it with rice or drink as it is.

Notes

  • Kokum rasam or punarpuli saaru or rasam is very nutritious. It also aids digestion and weight loss.

Tools & Equipment Used For This Recipe

The links below the image lead to product links on Amazon.in & Amazon.com respectively

Saucepan

Strainer

FInally! To Sum It Up

All About Kokum (Garcinia indica) | Uses & Health Benefits of Kokam

All about kokum | know your spice amsol or kokam (garcinia indica)

The ripened, rind and juice of Kokam fruit are commonly used in cooking. The dried and salted rind is used as a condiment in curries.

Kokum is also used as a garnish to give an acid flavour to curries and for preparing attractive, red, pleasant flavoured cooling syrup.

Kokam butter used as an edible fat, is nutritive, demulcent and antiseptic. The rind has antioxidant properties.

The kokum fruit acts as an antioxidant, acidulant and appetite stimulant and helps in fight cancer, paralysis and cholesterol.

The kokum fruit is also a good digestive tonic and used to improve skin health. Kokum has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine.

It was traditionally used for treatment of different health related problems like sores, dermatitis, diarrhea, dysentery, ear infection and to facilitate digestion.

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