Don’t be fooled by the delicate colour

Good God! This heat is really driving me mad. I’m serious, I’ve never felt so sick in my life – there’s a headache, some dehydration or just some other crazy heat-related problem that keeps cropping up all the time. If my fridge could accommodate, then I’d happily go and sit inside it, with chocolate, cheese and all the other goodies for company it really doesn’t seem like such a bad idea isn’t it? *sly grin*

But anyway, since I’m on the lookout for all the body-cooling recipes I can find these days there are a whole lot of smoothies, ice creams, sorbets and the likes that are being churned out of my kitchen now. One of the gems that I’ve learnt to make this summer is the refreshing solkadi, this one is made using kokum peels and is very popular across the Konkan coast.

I remember tasting this for the first time at a Malvani restaurant in Mumbai, we were served glasses of this before our thali arrived at the table. When I first looked at the glass, I saw a pink coloured liquid staring back at me. I was a little apprehensive, the colour was so delicate and light that I thought the flavours would match the looks. (Yes, I know you shouldn’t judge anything, even a dish, by it’s looks) But no, I was in for a surprise and a pleasant one at that, as I sniffed (for those of you who don’t know I have this habit of first smelling something new before I actually get down to tasting it) I caught the aromas of garlic and green chilli. I was intrigued. The first sip – oh my gosh, how do I describe this now? – it was a burst of flavours that just hit me, spicy, tangy, a tad salty and as the liquid travelled down my throat I could feel the respite from the killer heat. As the waiter served us our fish thalis, he encouraged us to have some more of this solkadi while enlightening us about the health benefits of this drink. I was sold. To this day, whenever I step into a restaurant that serves food from the Konkan belt this is one thing I always order.  

Solkadi is really simple to make and is best served as an appetiser. You can also, however, serve this at the end of a heavy meal because it helps in digestion.

1 cup (packed) of grated coconut
6-7 dried kokum peels
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 green chilli, roughly chopped
2-3 black peppercorns
Some coriander leaves to garnish
Salt to taste

Soak the kokum peels in warm water for about 30-45 minutes. Keep it aside and allow them to infuse. Later squeeze out all the juice from the peels and mix with the water. You will get a purple-ish colour liquid. Discard the peels after this.
Make a paste using garlic, green chilli, coconut, peppercorns and some water. The paste must be thick. Add about 2-21/2 cups of water to this and extract the juice from this. Repeat if required. Now mix this with the Kokum extract. Season according to your taste and refrigerate the solkadi until you are ready to serve. Add the chopped coriander leaves just before serving.

* You can make the solkadi a little thick, by using lesser amount of water, and this can be mixed into steamed rice like a daal and eaten. It’s heaven! Trust me.
* I know some people temper the solkadi with jeera and curry leaves in ghee, but I personally prefer the plain version.
* This recipe can also be made with kokum syrup or extract if you can’t find the peels. Just make sure that the syrup/extract doesn’t have sugar.

I’m sending this very summery recipe to Fun in the sun at Divya’s Culinary Journey and also to Let’s Cook for Barbecues and Picnics at Nayna’s Simply Food

Oh! And this is something that I’d certainly serve guests too, so this recipe is also going to Guest Quest at Amina’s Creations

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