In a nutshell: Goraka or Kokam adds an intriguing sweet and sour taste, and purplish colour, to Southern Indian seafood curries along with coconut and is a natural meat tenderiser.
Related to the mangosteen fruit, Goraka (known also as Kokam, black deshi or cocum) has long been used in Indian cooking and for medicinal purposes. This ornamental fruit tree (Garcinia indica) grows wild in southern India and the fruits are picked and dried and then only the skins are used. It is one of a group of sour spices (like tamarind) commonly used in South Indian and Sri Lankan cookery. Acidic and fruity, its a welcome addition to seafood curries and adds an intriguing sour note to many dishes. It also acts as a natural tenderiser for meat when cooking slow-cooked stews. In Southern India, especially in the Gujarat region and Goa, they add it to countless coconut curries where it adds a distinctive purplish colour and sweet and sour taste. Use as you would tamarind in curries, potato and lentil stews, chutneys and pickles. In southern India, they also make an intriguing and refreshing sherbet-like drink in the summer months, well known for aiding the symptoms of sunstroke.
About Épices de Cru
Épices de Cru began in 1982 as a catering partnership between Philippe and Ethné de Vienne. Their mission was a kind of “cooking pot anthropology:” learning the secrets of family cooking around the world and applying these techniques to the needs of hungry Montrealers. The secret, they learned, was spices. Over the last two decades, Philippe and Ethné have searched for the world’s best spices, accompanied by their children, Marika and Arik. The de Viennes believe in direct sourcing spices: visiting growing regions, spending time with growers, and developing personal relationships that last decades. In 2004, they officially opened their first spice shop in Montreal’s fantastic Jean Talon market– it’s since become a mecca for foodies from all over the world. I first visited in 2008 and have been buying and using their spices on a regular basis ever since that first exciting visit. They steadfastly maintain that they do nothing original, only facilitating the exchange of culinary common sense from one place to another. But, what they do is simply quite brilliant - by providing us with the finest quality ingredients, and their superb spice mixes, we can all experiment with unusual spices and recreate delicious recipes from around the world.