Kokum Creations

Kokum Creations
When Priya Mithrawal of Mharo Rajasthan first sent invitation to Maitri, I might have been the first one who got all excited about it – I had just contacted the Indian counterpart and was told that it was restricted to bloggers in India L – So you can imagine my excitement when Priya took the initiative along with Reshmi Pillai of Rasoi.

I was additionally excited when I first got paired up with a wonderful person, Raji who is not a blogger but a foodie – And I thank her whole heartedly for 2 things – the mystery ingredient she sent me – kokum- which from now on will be a staple stock in my house ; And for the lovely garden wall piece  (below); the beautiful card that went with it – I was really touched and overwhelmed at how the Maitri chain was living up to its name! I am happy to be part of this chain and even happier to tell you that my Kokum creations were SO good, even if I do say so myself. I was psyched that I guessed the ingredient right away and had to confirm with Raji if I got it right. I had enquired about it at Whole Foods after reading a recipe a while ago which required kokum, but they did not carry it and I kind of forgot about that for a bit. You can read abut the multitude of health benefits of Kokum (now more popular in the west for its butter which is supposedly ultra moisturizing)http://www.brighthub.com/health/alternative-medicine/articles/15199.aspx

To give a quick and understandable analogy for those (like me) who have not cooked with it at all, it is a counter part to tamarind or Puli and can be used in the exact same ways. It does have a funny smell in its raw form –pungent and sour – but cooking with it was a truly unbelievable experience. The flavors are incredible.
Raji had sent me sufficient quantity for me to try a couple of things with it – The Tambli recipe I got from Deepthi Shankar of Vegetable Platter and kind of made it my own, based on the south Indian morekozhambu recipe. And Vethakozhambu seemed an obvious choice for me with this one – And I add a little Maharashtrian flavors to it by adding their favorite nut – peanut J Without much further ado, I present to you my two Kokum creations.
Kokum Vetha Kozhambu
Kokum V
                                                  Kokum Tambli (MoreKozhambu/Kadi)

Kokum Vethakozhambu
This is a standard preparation in our home – if you’ve heard the favorite terminology used in the card game Bridge, – When in doubt play the trump – This is my trump card dish. To date I really don’t know if my dad made that expression up or if it is truly a Bridge expression, whatever be the case, I love it and use it all the time. My dad (miss him) was a super conductor in the sense, his refined palate would pick up all the ingredients, what is needed etc and was of course the chosen taster in our home as we were growing up. And he always said, the true test of a good cook is if they cook make a killer vethakozhambu and sitr a knot-free upma – If he had been alive to taste, I think maybe I would’ve passed with flying colors 😉 esp since all these tastes and abilities are passed on to me by his favorite chef (my mom)
3-4 dried kokum pieces (soaked for 15-20 minutes in hot water)
1 tbsp of fenugreek seeds (vendayam/methi)
2 tbsp of Sambar podi
I used two different vathals – Sundakai and Manathakali
½ inch ball/katti of jaggery/goud/vellam
3-4 cups of water
Curry leaves, hing, mustard seeds for tempering
A handful of peanuts ground to powder
2 tbsp of gingely/sesame/nallennai/ oil
I simply ground my kokum and strained it
In about 1 tbsp of oil, slightly roast the vathals and vendayam seeds
Add the kokum water
Allow it all to boil a little
Add the sambar powder and the jaggery to the boiling mix and allow it to boil for about 3 minutes
Now add the ground peanut powder and see it thicken slightly
Salt to taste
Thadka (temper) with the rest of the ingredients and serve it up HOT

Kokum Tambli/Kadi/Morekozhambu
This was the first recipe I came across that interested me and it was from Vegetable Platter – I read up her ingredients and thought that the pics and the ingredients (except for the Kokum) were very much like Morekozhambu.
Kokum T2
¼ cup grated coconut
2 cups fresh yogurt (Danon’s the best)
2 tbsp buttermilk
4-5 green chilies
1 tsp each of cumin and black pepper
½ inch of ginger
3-4 pieces of kokum (soaked in hot water)
1 cup of water
I had already soaked the kokum pieces in hot water ground and strained them (yields about 1 cup)
Pour into a saucepan and allow it to boil nicely
In the meantime, grind the ginger, chilies, cumin and pepper with a small amount of buttermilk
Now add this to the boiling kokum and allow them all to boil for a bit
Add the salt
(I did not grind the coconut because I forgot – but it turned out to be a happy mistake since it was delicious to dry roast it and garnish the tambli with it)
Getting back to the boiling kokum spice mix, once it has boiled really well (3-5 minutes) switch off and allow it to cool down
Then, in a deep container, whip the yogurt and add to the cooled kokum mix
Stir in nicely.
In 1 tsp of oil (of choice) add mustard seeds, curry leaves and moremolagas (our South Indian classic and pour over Tambli giving it the best of both worlds –
I toasted the coconuts and dry ground them and added as garnish.

Please try these dishes and let me know how it turns out.

Look forward to sending the mystery ingredients to my two lovely fellow bloggers Rachu of Amma&Baby and Latha Ganesan of A Peek into my Kitchen


Posted on

April 12, 2011


  1. Wow…that vatha kuzhambhu and mor kuzhmbhu looks very tempting and delicious. Both are my favorites.

  2. Great ingredient and lovely creation.I am so happy to see u in our Maitri.

  3. WOw both kuzhambu & tambuli looks super inviting and delicious..

  4. Both recipes look tempting and delicious….love it!!

  5. You did it priya! very nicely done.Thanks for posting all the info u gathered abt kokum.lovely dishes.-raji(maitri)

  6. Lovely dishes!!! I liked the morekozhambu recipe more :)

  7. Both the dishes look delicious.

  8. Haha..Vatha kuzhambum sutta aplam makes a perfect combo…Sure Bliss !!!!

  9. priya awesome looking- lovely u r part of maitri, want to be a part of this event here though am so lazy to contact the people concerned ! nice info abt kokum !!

  10. Lovely and delicious dishes:)

  11. Both dishes are very yummy and inviting.

  12. fantastic spread there..both new to me.Long live maitri..

  13. Both the kuzhambu looks very tempting and delicious

  14. Thank you for dropping in Priya. Vetta Kozhambu looks amazing!!! You brought back memories of my late patti who used to make the most amazing Vetta kozhambu. Gotta try this soon and dedicate it to her loving soul!



  15. kokum vattakuzhambu and tambili look irresistible…

  16. Both the dishes look inviting…

  17. Both kozhumbus are so inviting..I have never used kokum before. I wish I was in US to be able to be a part of this group.

  18. Great ingredient and delicious dishes..

  19. Lovely dishes..both looks tempting.

  20. These are 2 new dishes to me. Must try them out.

    I have been told that the kokum butter known here as 'binnel' locally was used to make 'poloae' that is dosa. The butter just melts at low heat. The taste was it seems amazing. This was possible as each family made their own 'binnel' now the one available in the market I will not use to make my dosas. I just use it to seal the cracks that develop on my heels. Better than any commercially made creams.

  21. What a great package and wonderful looking dishes!

  22. Thank you so much for dropping in my blog dear.You have a beautiful space with a lots of Indian dishes.yum yum:)

  23. Kokum is used in Gujarati dal everyday and yet I never knew so much more could be cooked with kokam..!

  24. Wow, nice to know more about kokum today…delicious creations, loved all the recipes…will buy kokum the next time, when I visit Indian store.

  25. I once had kokum drink and fell in love with it.. i can guess how tasty the dishes might be… great ones!!

  26. wow luv all the exotic recipes, nice info on kokum too!!

  27. both dishes look great

  28. I tasted both of these and they were AMAZING!

  29. lovely dishes never heard so much can be made…


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