At the base of the flavor of solkadi is the tart kokum fruit, a member of the mangosteen family that grows on the western coast of Maharashtra. Its purple pelt is peeled away from its flesh, soaked in the fruit's juice, then salted and dried in the sun. This solam (dried peel) then soaks in a glass of water, staining it a pale pink. The water is added to freshly pressed coconut milk, and then mixed with a bracing shower of salt, green chili, and nubs of garlic. Recipes can vary, but this is the preferred recipe of Mumbai-based writer Meher Mirza and her family. It's the perfect partner to spicy Maharashtrian seafood.
During the stifling heat of summer in India, these cold, richly spiced drinks are comfort in a glass
What You Will Need
- 8 pieces pieces dried kokum (¼ oz.)
- 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen grated coconut
- 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 Thai green chile, stemmed and finely chopped, plus a bit more for garnish
- Cilantro leaves, for serving
In a small bowl, cover the kokum with ½ cup cold water. Set aside to steep at room temperature for 3 hours.
In a blender, combine the coconut, garlic, half of the chopped green chile, and 1 cup cold water. Blend until the mixture is very smooth.
Line a strainer with 2 layers of cheesecloth and set over a large measuring cup. Strain the mixture, pressing the pulp through the cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible. Return the pulp to the blender, add an additional half cup of water and pulse to rehydrate and combine the pulp. Strain the liquid through the cheesecloth into the first batch of coconut cream, pressing the pulp again to extract as much coconut milk as possible.
Remove the kokum from its soaking liquid, squeezing to extract as much juice as possible; discard the solids. Stir the kokum water into the coconut liquid, then chill well. When ready to serve, pour the solkadi into 4–6 glasses and garnish each with a few slivers of chile and cilantro leaves.