*Kokam, which resembles a small, dark purple plum, is the fruit of a tropical evergreen tree (Garcinia indica) that grows only in India.
The dried, very dark purple, flattened rind is rather sticky and has curled edges and a fruity, balsamic aroma with tannic notes. Its flavor is sharp, acidic, and salty, with refreshing dried-fruit sweetness.
Kokam is used in India as a souring agent like tamarind or amchur. Big glasses of kokam sharbat (a cold beverage) are drunk to counteract the blazing heat.
What to buy: Kokam is sold whole or in small leathery pieces. The deeper the color, the better the quality. Look for kokam at Indian markets and buy in small quantities, as the soft, pliable rinds dry out and lose their flavor.