Hello Summer !!!

For me summer has always been about exuberance ! As a child, it was the vacation time in summer we would look forward to, it was about ice creams and pepsicolas and ice balls with those colourful syrups! All the food stuff that was forbidden during the year was allowed in summer. We travelled a lot, had one day picnics. All in all summer symbolised riot time! Things are no different now as I am still enjoying the summer through my daughter’s eyes. 

Pune is pretty hot in summer and one needs to be hydrated all the time. To beat the summer heat, my mother in law used to make a very interesting summer cooler from Kokam. It is a Goan speciality and even the diabetics can enjoy it guilt free. It has lot of medicinal benefits. 

Garcinia Indica or  Kokam as it is commonly called,  is a plant in the mangosteen family and has a lot of culinary and pharmaceutical uses. The fresh fruit is bright red in colour and sour in taste and is available in the summer. Along with sugar, it is used to make a bright red syrup or squash. Upon diluting this squash with water, one can make kokam sherbet.  The outer cover of the fruit is also very sour and dried in the summer heat. It is commonly called as aamsol or kokam and can be used year round. This aamsol is the one that is used to make this summer cooler.  Here is the recipe to this refreshing summer cooler which I have chosen to call Ruby Red 🙂

This is what you need:

  1. Aamsol(Kokam) – 7-8 pieces
  2. Asafoetida (Hing) – 1/8 tsp
  3. Salt – 1 tsp or to taste
  4. Green chilly(not so spicy) – 1 
  5. Water – 1 litre

This is how you will do it :

  1. Break the green chilly roughly into 3-4 large pieces and add to an empty water jug. Add the asafoetida and salt to it and muddle the mixture only till flavour is released from the green chilly. Do not overdo the muddling as we do not want the spicy-ness of chilly.
  2. Add the kokam and a litre of water. Keep the mixture aside for atleast 90 minutes. Slowly the water will start taking a beautiful red hue as the juices will start getting released from the kokam.
  3. After about 90 minutes, the water would turn bright red. Adjust the salt to taste. Garnish a martini glass with a cut chilly and a sprig of mint. Add ice and pour the red liquid into the glass. Enjoy!

Literally a no sweat recipe isn’t it? I start my mornings by making this drink and for the full day I keep having it glass by glass. You can keep replenishing the water in jar and the kokam keeps releasing flavour into it. All you need to do is adjust the salt. The medical benefits of kokam are numerous. It is good to treat indigestion, is a good antioxidant, is anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and has several other advantages. It sounds pretty much like elixir of life!

So welcome summer with this rejuvenating ruby red  summer cooler!