By: K K Aiyamma, This post first appeared at https://aiyamma.blogspot.in
Lately, when nothing to do, I have been spending some quality time in Kitchen. Experimenting more than cooking is what I do. Soon the quality time turns into a hopeless venture, and I escape the Kitchen, leaving the mess behind for my mother to take care off. One thing I am smitten by is Kachampuli (Coorg Vinegar), the thick black vinegar which is the standard vinegar in any Coorg home. I call it “Black Gold”. Keeps the bottomline happy, literally.
Kachampuli is an extract of Garnicia Gummi Gutta, a tropical fruit, native to Indonesia and used in South Asian cuisines. The fruit and the tree is known as Kodampuli/Kudampuli (in Kerala) and Panapuli (in Coorg). The Malayalis and others use it in dried or smoked form, while the Kodavas decoct and then use it in cooking. The process begins with extracting the juice of the fruit and then making it go through a boiling process, the final result will be a dark and thick liquid – and this liquid extract is known as Kachampuli(Coorg Vinegar).
The reference to the fruit is found in the 19th century edict of the Coorg King, Lingarajendra II. In his decree to the Parpattigaar – the King orders the Parpattigaar to inform people of other castes in Coorg to mark the trees and when the fruit is ripe, deliver them to the nearest village, where the village head has to get it processed – in the manner of the “Kodavas” and store it in the granary. And to deliver the same to the palace, when asked for.
Interestingly, the mention in the manuscript is of “Panapuli Chattu” and the process as mentioned in the Hukkumnama involves drying it and not decocting.
The fruit came into the limelight in the western world during 2012, when the Dr.Oz, the health guru in U.S. claimed that Garcinia Cambogia is a natural “fat buster” . And he now sells Gummi supplements to women who are desperate to loose the bulge without any exercise.
No Kodava that I have come across, has told me that Kachampuli can reduce tummy and booty size, but many swear by its Anti-Cholesterol and medicinal properties.
So is there any truth in that? Does it have medicinal benefits ? Yes, there is. I have come across two research papers and the finding is that;
- Kachampuli acts as a preservative.
- Garcinia’ s extract saves the liver from lipid peroxidation. For layman’s understanding:- It reduces the damage that alcohol intake can cause to the liver.
For the first one, the researches got down to cooking Pork Fry with Kachampuli and clinically study the chemistry between both. They found that;
It has the best physico-chemical properties, is micro biologically safe and has the best sensory attributes. They also found it to be a bio-preservative in pork fry with a shelf life up-to six days under room temperature. 1
For the second one, pure alcohol was administered to rats. They were administered another dose of the extract and their liver studied. It was found that;
the treatment with Garcinia cambogia fruit extract resulted in reduction of both serum and liver lipid to near normalcy. This hypolipidemic property of Garcinia cambogia in turn reduces the peroxidative damage, enhanced by ethanol. 2
Disclaimer: Kachampuli should not be an excuse to down a few extra pegs every night.