Kokum or mangosteen is considered the queen of fruits by botanists.
Native to india it is used copiously in its dried form as a souring agent in cooking. Boiled it makes for a beautiful red syrup. The active ingredient garcinol reduces inflammation and ulcers hence its an excellent cooling drink in the summer.
In the market dried mangosteen or kokum is found in the soft and hard form. Its a dark, gnarled, purplish pod. This recipe calls for the soft variety.
FOR 1 LITER CONCENTRATE
2 cups soft dried kokum or mangosteen
2 cups castor sugar
1 teaspoon freshly roasted and powdered cumin (optional)
1 teaspoon black rock salt- sanchal or kala namak (optional)
Pour two cups of tap water over the kokum. Don't soak it, instead immediately drain it to remove impurities.
Place the rinsed fruit and 3 liters of water in a large stock and cook on a high flame until it begins to boil.
Add sugar ad continue to cook until the syrup reduces to 1-1.25 liters.
Drain in a sieve and using the back of a spoon press against the fruit to squeeze out all the juices. Discard this fruit.
Chill the concentrate and use for up to 6 weeks.
Pour about 1/4 cup concentrate into a high ball glass. Add ice if desired. Top with chilled water or club soda and stir in black salt and cumin if you like.