R, an old friend, facebooked me from Los Angeles last week with a quick question:

Kokum Cooler is a perfect summer drink

R: Hi hon. How are you? Hope all is well. I had a quick question. When your Mom and you were in LA a while ago, you guys had served 2 really refreshing drinks – one green and one pink with little pieces of chopped up fruit on top. Could you send me the recipes coz I would love to make them?? xoxo



 R

I am always thrilled to hear from friends anywhere, especially those I haven’t seen in a while but R’s question left me wondering. “Refreshing drinks” could be anything – I prepare Ayurveda based drinks all the time. Was she talking about a daytime drink? A night time drink? Alcoholic or not? Sweet, sour? The choices are endless.

R: It was yummy and refreshing. We had it during the day, going into the evening. Non alcoholic but I’m sure we could jazz it up it was sweet but refreshingly so, not too sweet. 
I guess it was your take on jaljeera?

Judging by her description, I am guessing that the ‘pink’ drink is Kokum Cooler, my version of Kokum kadi, a popular summer drink in Karnataka and Goa.

Kokum grows along India’s Konkan coast

Kokum (Garcinia Indica), a dark red fruit that grows along India’s Konkan coast is yet another Ayurvedic wonder-drug. Perfect for reducing heat and inflammation, it is an ideal anti-dote for the Pitta dosha. Drinking kokum infused water helps expel heat, counter acidity and relieve sunstroke. The fruit pulp can also be applied directly to the skin to alleviate rashes caused by allergies. The emollient properties of kokum butter (prepared from the seeds) are helpful in treating burns, scalds and chafed skin.

Kokum kadi, a decoction of fresh kokum fruits in water is a popular drink in households on India’s Konkan coast, especially during the hot months, when fresh kokum is available in large quantities. My version, Kokum Cooler, has always been a huge hit with my friends and clients in California. Most of them go for the taste and do not even realize the it wonderfully healing properties.

The drink is easy enough to prepare at home. If you are in India and have access to the fresh fruit then this is always my preferred option. If not, then look for the dried fruit skins at a natural foods store or at an Indian grocery store. Make sure that the skins have a soft, chewy consistency – hard, dried fruits mean that they have been been sitting in the store for a while and have probably lost much of their taste and healing properties.

Kokum Cooler – A perfect antidote to the pitta dosha

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole fresh kokum or 4-5 dry kokum skins
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 fresh green chillies
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 1 tsp jaggery (or you can replace with stevia or molasses but not honey)
  • A pinch asafoetida
  • Natural rock salt

For the seasoning:

  • 1 Tbs ghee
  • 1tsp whole mustard seeds
  • 1-2 chopped fresh (or dried) red chillies
  • 1 tsp chopped, fresh (or dried) kokum

Preparation:

Mix the kokum with water. If you are using the fresh fruit then squeeze it with your hands until it colors the water. If fresh kokum is not available then you can used dried skins. Leave them in water for about 30 mins. Mix kokum water with salt, jaggery, salt and green chillies. Dilute the asafoetida in water and add to the mixture. Then prepare the seasoning: Heat the oil, add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add the chopped red chili and dried/fresh kokum pieces.

The drink chilled is most refreshing when served chilled.  Now I need to figure what R meant by “green” drink!

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