Couple of years ago we had a friend of Aniruddha’s visiting us in India for a holiday. Originally from South Africa, Sean had moved to Australia, where he & Aniruddha worked at the same company.

This was his first trip to India and of course we wanted him to experience as much of Indian food as he could. But we wanted to ensure he wouldn’t be too affected by the spices so we finished every meal with some form of yoghurt followed by other digestives – saunf (fennel), hajmola, paan, etc. Sean was so amused by the number of digestive aids he ate he joked that the second half of the meal seemed to be to digest the first half!

sol kadi

Solkadi is one such digestive aid. Its made from a coastal fruit called kokum which from the outside looks quite similar to a mangosteen. The outer skin of the fruit is dried before being used for cooking. The dried fruit has an odd slightly fermented smell and it is soaked in water to extract the juice which is somewhere on the  colour spectrum from deep purple to red.

Dried kokum
Dried kokum

The juice can be used as a souring agent in curries in place of tamarind juice. But my favourite preparation from kokum is solkadi – a refreshing drink made by mixing kokum extract with coconut milk, ginger, garlic, cumin, pepper, curry leaves and dried red chillies garnished with fresh coriander. Best had after a spicy meal!