Best uses for dried kokum?
I recently hit up the Indian grocery in my hometown and couldn't resist buying dried kokum fruits. I've seen a number of recipes online for kokum kadhi, but I really prefer making hearty saucy or dry curries over thin sauces or beverages. Any ideas on how to use this stuff in a main course? Could I just substitute it for tamarind and see what happens? (Freia, are you out there?)
Kokum petals can be very strong, so just add a few at a time. It takes a little stewing in the gravy for their sourness to release, so you don't want to add too many and then the dish be too sour after an hour. Just a warning since the ingredient seems new to you. You can use it as a souring agent in Sindhi daals and Sindhi karhis (both tomato karhi and dairy-free chickpea/besan flour curry---it seems you have seen recipes for those. You can also make a drink out of it (think lemonade type cooler). You can add a few petals to any dish. It is also goes very well in fish curries. Authentically, kokum is mostly used in Western Coastal Indian cuisines so you can look into Maharashtrian as Melanie Wong has suggested, as well as Sindhi, Gujarati, Konkani-Malvani, Northern Karnatakan, etc. I suggest perusing websites that feauture these cuisines for recipes. It is not used widely in all of South India. I am not sure that kodumpuli (aka cambodge petals, used in Kerala) and kokum are the exact same thing though I have seen kokum suggested as a substitute for kodumpuli if one cannot procure it. I would suggest using it in regional recipes that call for it rather than just substituting for tamarind. All of the cuisines that use kokum also have tamarind, too and they are not exactly the same in taste or character.