I must have been 10 when as a child, I had my first exposure to Kokum Sharbat. I grew up in a simple, unassuming middle-class family which gave us (me and my sister) no exposure to other cuisines of the world. The dining out was an experience that was completely alien to us until we were in our teens, when Mom started to dole out a sum of money that was just sufficient to get us a wada pav. If we could skip on those wada pav for few days, we would possibly save enough to have an occasional Chinese meal (which was always fried rice with complementary Schezuan sauce or a chicken lollypop)- a meal that would leave our palms orange colored for at least a day, due to generous amount of food color that those cheap food stalls would add to their Chinese food.
Restaurants in those days were too far and few and were mostly Udupi restaurants. Our source of exposure to food from other parts of country were our neighbors- who hailed from different parts of country. We had a Gujarati neighbor who would remember to share a small portion of Dhokla with us, an Aagri neighbor who would share a flavorful preparation of Chimbori Masala (Crab Masala), while another Konkani neighbor who brought in Kokum Sharbat occasionally. This was how, our culinary senses would be treated to such diverse and wonderful delicacies from different parts of country.
On one such hot afternoon, a neighbor aunty walked into our house with a bowl full of Kokum Sharbat. That was my first exposure to this sweet and sour red colored drink that seemed like just what we needed on that hot afternoon. It would have been so much better, if it would have been chilled but luxury of chilled water was something that we couldn’t afford, in fact none of us in the entire Chawl had a refrigerator. Much later one of our neighbor had purchased a refrigerator and we ended up borrowing few cubes of ice on multiple occasions to make our summer drinks chilled.
This summer as we decided to make this recipe in our kitchen and share it on the blog, I couldn’t save myself from getting struck by a bout of nostalgia. Enjoy this refreshing and rejuvenating summer drink that is an essential part of Konkani household.
- 1 Cup=150gms Kokum
- ¾th Cup=185gms Sugar
- 1 tsp Cardamom Powder
- 1 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
- Salt to taste
- Black Salt to taste (optional)
- Some Mint leaves (optional)
- Soak Kokum for 30 mins in water. For 1 Cup Kokum, we have used 2 Cups of water. Strain and reserve this water. We will use this water while making Kokum syrup.
- Mash Kokum with hands to break into smaller pieces. Kokum Sharbat has immense health benefits, let's explore these benefits.
- Kokum rinds are mashed completely. Let's start making syrup now
- In a large pan, add mashed Kokum. Add Sugar. Melt Sugar completely on low heat. Sugar melts completely in about 4 mins
- Add roasted Cumin Powder, Salt and Cardamom Powder, reserved water and mix well. Allow it to boil on medium heat.
- As the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat and continue to cook. Cook until it reduces to thick and syrup like consistency (sticky) and keep stirring intermittently.
- We have cooked on low heat for 15 mins. Kokum has reduced to syrup like consistency. Switch off the heat and allow Kokum syrup to cool down completely.
- Pass Kokum syrup through a sieve. Thick Kokum syrup is ready. Let's make Kokum Sharbat now.
- We will be making lasses of Kokum Sharbat. Take a 1.5-liter Jug. Add 1 liter water. Total Kokum syrup made with this recipe 240 ml=16 tbsp. I am using 12 tbsp=180ml Kokum extract for making 4 glasses of Sharbat
- Add some ice-cubes, Kokum syrup. Add few mint leaves. Pour 1-liter water. Add roasted Cumin Powder and Black Salt. Mix well. Kokum Sharbat is ready. Refrigerate until serving.
- Consume Kokum Sharbat during summers:
- a) It keeps our body cool and saves from dehydration and sunstroke.
- b) It has anti-allergic properties that nourishes skin and hair.
- c) Kokum keeps digestive system healthy and prevents constipation.
- We hope, knowing these health benefits, you will start including Kokum in your diet.
Click to watch recipe video