Friday, 18 September 2015


Kokum, (If you're wondering how to pronounce it, just  say 'coke-yum' without pronouncing the /Y/ ),aslo called 'Ratamba', is a tropical fruit, mainly grown on India's Western ghats and is harvested from March through May.The fruit is a vibrant one, changing colours from green to yellow to red throughout its growth, with it's skin finally turning a deep maroon upon ripening. Both the skin and the flesh are consumed in entirety.

Since the fruit is not available all year round,the skins are dried and stored.The dried version is called 'Amsul' (and that's pronounced as ' Umm-full', replacing /F/ with an /S/ ).

Another common preparation of the fruit is called Agal (This pronunciation is difficult to explain in english,since the language doesn't pronounce /ळ/ ,But the closest equivalent would be 'A-gal'),which you get by extracting the juice of the fruit.My grandma uses a sugared syrup, which is diluted and used in a couple of recipes, like Solkadhi or Kokum Sarbat.

The fruit is commonly used as follows:

Amsul is usually added to dishes to add an acidic zing.Common examples include Okra Bhaji ,Usals and Amtis (An Indian daal preparation)

Kokum is therapeutic in nature and is used to treat acidity.I have seen my Grandmother treat acidity rashes by rubbing soaked Amsul on the affected area.

Kokum oil is extracted from the fruit's seeds and is usually sold as a white oblong shaped ball, called Kokum Tel in Marathi.It remains solid at room temperature and is melted and applied to cracked or dry skin.This is a highly effective age-old moisturiser and works better than most moisturisers, even today.


  1. Very informative.How would one pronounce in Bombay or Goa umm-ful or Umm-sul .Is there local word for it also .I never find this in groceries in Bombay when there.I once found in Goa 100inr for 100 GM's.Which were shiny dark soft petals.I once ordered as lonavala kokum which was not same ,hard whole cut dried fruit 1000inr per kg but didn't liked this.Goan variety was great.Please tell how to get these in Bombay and Goa as well.

    1. Hi Poonam, it's great to hear that you're enjoying reading the blog!
      The dried fruit is pronounced as umm-sul. I think it's also called Bhirand or Brinda. While you will most probably find Kokum in your local grocery store, you can also order it from online retailers.
      Also, the packaged Kokum tends to dry out further over time. You can rehydrate the petals by soaking them in warm water for 20-30 minutes.You will then end up with dark soft petals.
      Hope this helps :)