Kudampuli (scientific name: Garcinia cambogia) also known as Gambooge, Malabar Tamarind, Fish Tamarind etc is an essential ingredient in all the seafood loving kitchens in Central Kerala, the coastal South Indian state. As the name suggests (Puli = sour in Malayalam), the dried fruit is used as a souring agent in Kerala’s famous fish curries and other seafood preparations.
Kudampuli is known for its medicinal values in Ayurveda. It helps to promote digestion, and a decoction (kashayam) made out of it is used against Arthritis and some uterine deceases. It is also known to cure ulcers.
The green fruit shown in the first picture is a young version, it will turn yellow when ripe. Once fully ripe, fruits are collected, cut in half, deseeded and are sun-dried for a day. The sun-dried fruit halves are smoked till black, and are rubbed with a mixture of salt and oil before transferring to earthenware pots and tightly sealed. These will stay fresh for years. Before use, wash the pieces under running water quickly to remove any dust accumulated from the drying and smoking process, then soak these for 10 minutes in water.
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