Souring Agents – Sour Truth in Kerala Cuisine.
Cambodge (kudampuli or kodampuli in Malayalam) ,Tamarind Valampuli),Unripe Mango (Pacha Manga)…..
Souring agents (Cambodge (kudampuli in Malayalam), Tamarind, Unripe mango) are such a huge part of our culinary traditions. Its taste that Keralites acquire from childhood and love. There are many souring agents used in Kerala (Malayali) cuisine.
Kudampuli (Cambodgia)-Kerala’s secret spice. A Natural Anti-oxidant and an effective catalyst for weight loss?
Cambodge: Cambodge is specific to Malayali fish cuisine. Most writers refer to this as kokum which is used in Goa, the Konkan Coast and by the Kodavas. Kokum (punampuli in Malayalam) is Garcinia indica; cambodge (kudampuli in Malayalam) is Garcinia gummigutta. Despite the subtle difference in taste kokum can be substituted for cambodge if the latter is unavailable. If kokum too is unavailable use tamarind. You can’t go very wrong. Before reaching the market, the fruit is cut open, its pulpy contents removed and discarded and the outer skin or petals are sun-dried to an even black colour.
Tips for using and storing – Cambodge (Kodampuli)
Cambodge is stored in air-tight earthenware or porcelain jars or bottles away from sunlight with a handful of salt spread over it to act as a preservative.
To use, tear the petals into 2-3 pieces and soak in water for at least 10-20 minutes. Do not squeeze. Depending on the recipe one can use the pieces with or without the water.
Tamarind: The word tamarind is an English corruption of the Arabic thamur-ul-Hind, meaning ‘dates of India’.Sometimes seedless tamarind is added directly to the dish.
Usually/a pulp is made with tamarind. Soak tamarind in water (the quantities depends on the recipe) and squeeze till it dissolves. Strain and use the dark brown coloured tamarind pulp.
Unripe mango: Unripe mango is used in some fish and vegetable preparations.
Lime juice and vinegar: Lime juice is not an important souring agent, but vinegar is used particularly as a souring agent for meat preparations
Bilimbi: The fruit of the Averrboa bilimbi, also known as the cucumber tree is used in fish and vegetable preparations. It is also pickled. In Malayalam it is called irumpanpuli.
Curd: When curd is used in cooking, its main purpose is to provide body to the dish. However it also acts as a mild souring agent.