Kokum, a small cherry-like summer fruit, is red in color and deepens to purple when ripe. It is widely found in the Western Ghat region of India. This is one of the main reasons why they are mostly used in the cuisines of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and coastal states of Southern India. The fruit is sour with a faintly sweet aroma and is used as a spice. When added to food it imparts a purple-ish color. Some cuisines also use it as a preferred substitute for tamarind in curries and other dishes. Apart from being used for cooking and as medicine, they are widely used to make plush Kokum sherbet as well.
Moreover, Kokum has numerous health benefits as it is rich in antioxidants, essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals required by the body. Kokum oil and butter are also extracted from its seeds and frequently used in making chocolates and sweets. It also finds itself in many beauty products of skin and hair.
Furthermore, in this post we will be looking at Kokum fruit’s nutritional facts, health benefits, and the best ways to consume kokum.
Table of Contents
Nutritional Facts of Kokum
Kokum is a warehouse of a variety of essential nutrients, which helps keep your body healthy.
100 grams of Kokum contains:
- Calories: 60
- Fiber: 1.8g
- Carbohydrates: 14.3g
- Fats: 0.1g
- Protein: 0.5g
Apart from the above nutrients, the Kokum fruit also contains:
- Acetic Acid – An essential nutrient for your body that regulates the blood sugar levels.
- Ascorbic acid – Improves your immunity system and acts as an antioxidant agent for your body.
- Manganese – Improves your bone health and can help with diseases like arthritis. It also regulates blood sugar levels and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Hydroxycitric Acid – Naturally reduces your appetite, and prevents any cravings or hunger pangs. An amazing component for all your diet foods.
Health Benefits of Kokum
#1 Remedy for Acidity
Kokum is an age-old homemade fix for acidity. Dried Kokum consumed in a sherbet or juice form can help reduce acidity. Simply add sugar, salt, and chilled water to dried Kokum to make delicious kokum sherbet to relieve acidity.
#2 Improves Digestion
Kokum shields the helpful gut bacteria in the body, aiding digestion. It is anti-bacterial in nature and counteracts the harmful effects of certain bacteria that cause indigestion, dysentery, constipation, ulcers, bloating, nausea, and flatulence. Kokum is a natural remedy for all such gastric ailments.
Kokum has tremendous anti-inflammatory powers. It can be directly applied to sores, rashes induced by allergies, and burns to soothe the inflamed skin. It also has anti-allergic properties. It stops histamine formation by effectively decreasing a body’s pH level.
#4 Rich in Antioxidant
Garcinol is a powerful antioxidant that is harvested from Kokum. It is known to be anti-cancer in nature and aids in cell regeneration. It scavenges free radicals and protects from carcinogenesis.
#5 Power-Packed with Nutrients
Kokum contains several important nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc. It also provides the body much- needed dietary fiber that helps lower cholesterol, improves bowel health and assists in weight loss. It does this by keeping you feeling full for a longer time. This helps you avoid overeating and gaining weight. It is also great for pregnant women as it helps relieve nausea, vomiting, and cooling down the body.
#6 Anti-aging properties
The antioxidants in Kokum impart its natural anti-aging properties. It helps in beautifying your hair and skin by repairing and regenerating cells. The ancient medicinal practice of Ayurveda uses Kokum extensively from relieving rheumatoid arthritis to healing cracked heels. Kokum butter can be mixed with soaps and creams to rejuvenate and refresh the skin by improving its elasticity.
#7 Beat the Heat
Kokum is indigenous to many tropical regions where for centuries people have used this fruit to keep the heat at bay. Consuming it as a chilled sherbet or juice helps keep the body cool and refreshed. Summers can be exceptionally harsh in tropical areas. So, fruits like Kokum are a natural low-caloric way to keep your body hydrated and healthy.
Best Way to Consume Kokum
Kokum is very versatile. It can be consumed after drying or infusing with water or only eating it as a fruit. Just like tamarind, it can be used to give a tangy twist to anything. It is added to coconut flavored curries, fish curries, dals, chutneys, pickles, ladies finger/bhindi and potato dishes. Even kokum petals are used in cooking, and they impart a lovely sourness to any stew they are added to. Below are some Kokum inspired recipes rooted in the Indian cuisine.
Prep Time:15 mins; Cooking Time:30 mins
Kokum curry is a traditional Goan recipe that is usually served with rice. It needs the following ingredients: –
- 7 kokum fruits
- 1 tablespoon ajwain
- 7 dried red chilies
- 5 black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoon salt
- ½ cup coconut
- Grind together ajwain, chilies, black pepper, and coconut together in a blender.
- Add the smooth mixture in a pan.
- Put in kokum fruit.
- Let it simmer in the pan for half an hour. Keep stirring in between.
- Serve hot with rice.
Prep Time:25 mins; Cooking Time:10 mins
Kokum kadhi is one of a kind because it does not use either curd or besan- both ingredients that are essential to a regular kadhi. This is a delicious Goan interpretation of the famous North Indian dish of kadhi. You will need the following things: –
- 20 kokum fruits
- 2 tablespoons green chilies
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons jeera
- 5 curry leaves
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
- 2 dried red chilies
- 1 cup coconut milk
- Mix kokum, green chilies, salt and about 2 cups of water in a bowl.
- Let the mixture soak for 15 mins.
- Strain the mixture. Moving forward only the kokum water will be used in the recipe. The Kokum and green chilies can be disposed of.
- Heat vegetable oil in a pan and add jeera.
- Once jeera starts spluttering add curry leaves, red chilies, and garlic. Cook on a medium flame for about 5 mins.
- Add the already prepared kokum water, coconut milk and salt to the pan. Mix everything and cook on a medium flame again for 5 mins.
- Serve hot with boiled rice.
Prep Time: 10 mins; Cooking Time: 30 mins
This Marathi dish is a winsome combination of tur dal and Kokum. This traditional dal recipe is very healthy and easy to make. You will need the below- mentioned list of ingredients: –
- 2 cups tur dal
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 5 curry leaves
- 4 green chilies
- 2 tablespoons goda masala
- 2 tablespoons coconut
- 2 tablespoons jaggery powder
- 7 kokum fruits
- Pressure cook the tur dal. Also, add some salt and turmeric powder in the cooker.
- Let it whistle 4 times before taking it off the flame.
- The dal must be mushy.
- Prepare a separate pan. Heat some oil in it.
- Add curry leaves, mustard seeds, green chilies, and turmeric powder. Stir well.
- Sauté for a few minutes and then add the mashed tur dal in the pan.
- Add goda masala, coconut, jaggery, and Kokum.
- Cook on a medium flame for 15 minutes.
- Garnish with ghee and cilantro if desired.
- Serve hot with rice.
This tangy fruit has been blessed with umpteen nutrients which can help keep your body healthy. This fruit can combat symptoms of aging, serve as a remedy for acidity, helps keep your body cooler, helps you lose weight, and improves digestion. This tangy delight is also celebrated in many regional Indian cuisines for its delicious taste and overwhelming health benefits.