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CeeCee

Kamarkas

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Today in an Indian store I stumbled upon a package containing something I'd never seen before, which was called kamarkas. After a bit of googling I now know that it's edible, but I can't find much about the flavour it produces except that it's bitter. Perhaps that's why it is used in a more medicinal than culinary way? Most common finds online are recipes for paneerji, a traditional pick-me-up for women who just gave birth. There's some confusion as I found 3 different Latin names for it, salvia plebeian, butea monosperma and butea frondosa.

Does anyone know more about this? Which Latin name is correct or perhaps even a tasty recipe?

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On December 28, 2012 at 0:49 PM, CeeCee said:

Today in an Indian store I stumbled upon a package containing something I'd never seen before, which was called kamarkas. After a bit of googling I now know that it's edible, but I can't find much about the flavour it produces except that it's bitter. Perhaps that's why it is used in a more medicinal than culinary way? Most common finds online are recipes for paneerji, a traditional pick-me-up for women who just gave birth. There's some confusion as I found 3 different Latin names for it, salvia plebeian, butea monosperma and butea frondosa.

Does anyone know more about this? Which Latin name is correct or perhaps even a tasty recipe?

Hello CeeCee
Thank you for asking the question about Kamarkas. It took me on a journey to read up several texts about ayurvedic and herbal productions and I was led to a new understanding of resins and gums. I am so delighted with Egullet because it makes me want to research food, and both 'research' and 'food' are some of my very favorite things in life. :)
So here we go with the explanation according to moi: 
There are several resins and gums that are derived from plants and used througout the world for cooking. I use on a regular basis HING or Asafoetida which is a resin from the Ferula plant. I use it to add to my Indian dishes for taste and digestibility. 
There are other resins and gums that are used in cooking. We all have heard of Guar Gum. This is a resin from the Guar or Cluster Bean plant and is most commonly used in ice cream making and other foods. There is also Gum Arabic from the Acasia tree that we use and call by these different names Gond/Gundar/Dink. 

There are many more gum varieties and each one has specific uses in Ayurveda. But the Kamarkas is a gum from the Indian Coral Flower tree or Palash Tree. This tree produces a sap that is reddish brown in color and upon hardening in the air, it becomes solidified. This particular gum is called Kamarkas. It is names for its properties of 'Kamar kas' or strengthening (kas) the waist (kamar). It is not very readily available, and almost all the recipes requiring the use of Kamarkas, substitute it with the more readily available Gum Arabic. 
Another point, the name of the sweet you mention is not PANEERJI...it is PANJEERI :) But I have a better recipe for you to follow and enjoy: 

GOND/GAUND LADDOO by Tarla Dalal:

Gaund Ke Ladoo recipe | by Tarla Dalal | Tarladalal.com | #3909 http://www.tarladalal.com/Gaund-Ke-Ladoo-3909r

 

Bhukhhad
 

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