Kudampuli (Garcinia Cambogia)
Other names: Garcinia Cambogia, Garcinia gummi-gutta, Kerala Tamarind, Brindal berry, Malabar Tamarind, Gambooge.
Kudampuli is a vital ingredient in Kerala fish curries. In olden days, during the weddings, the fish curry would be prepared in earthern clay pots called 'chatti' with kudampuli 2-3 days before the big day. But when eating the fish curry, kudampuli is discarded. Kudampuli helps blend in all the flavors and it also acts as the preservative. It has a sour taste.
Kudampuli is always misunderstood for Kokum. Both belong to the same family, 'Garcinia'. The rind of the ripe fruit is known to be the richest source of hydroxy citric acid (HCA), the unique calcium containing acid.
The fruit resembles a small pumpkin and it has a orange-yellow color when it ripens. The seperated fruit rind is sun dried for many days till it achieves a black color with no traces of yellowish color. It is then smoked or oven dried. To increase the storage life, the dried rind is mixed with salt. In olden days the dried kudampuli was stored in a vessel called 'bharani'. The dried kudampuli can be stored for many years.
Kudampuli is known to treat stomach disorders and lower bad cholesterol. It is also used as a anti-obesity drug in the west.
Kudampuli should be washed well before using in curries.