1. A childhood memory of a lady in the neighbourhood who used to sell products from Konkan - kokam, Kokam fruit ( known as Raatamba in Marathi, Birind in Konkani ) - in sugar syrup, papads, pickles, preserves like the mango and jackfruit leather etc. My mother visited her and came home raving about the Kokam/ mangostien fruit which had been deseeded, stuffed with sugar, packed neatly in a glass bottle and then placed in the sun. This caused the mangostein to steep and release juice. My mother was absolutely taken in by the bright red coloured syrup in those glass bottles.
2. Too many food blogs which raved about Kokam sharbat and the making of the kokam syrup.
3. I loved these pictures I had clicked, of the fruit and syrup making process.
We happened to be in Udupi in the summer, last year . During a visit to the local market, I found the kokam fruit. This is what it looks like.
I washed these, dried them and then cut them into half. I removed the pulp and filled these with sugar and then bottled them.
The bottle was placed in the balcony in a sunny spot. I did this on a Saturday. In the days to follow, I gave the bottle a generous shake, once a day. Soon the sugar dissolved in the heat of the sun, and along with the fruit, it released a thick bright red extract.
In my greed and ignorance I let it steep some more. On the following Monday when I sampled it again, it hit my throat sharply.. made me end up coughing. It was tart and something was not right about it. I had a feeling some fermentation had set it . I drained the contents down my sink.
I really hope to get it right the next time.. IF, I am able to get hold of some fruit !