Had written an article on the Sol Kadhi which appeared in the Times Life section of The Times Of India on February 19, 2006. Didn't find a link so have pasted it below. If you are looking for good Sol Kadhi in Mumbai, Goa Portuguesa comes close to the ideal.
It’s an innocent baby pink, but a sipful of sol kadhi sets your palate awash with an astonishingly piquant taste. Once you acquire a taste for this Konkan coast speciality, you’ll be hooked for life, says Abodh Aras
THIS kadhi is truly for one’s soul. With the advent of coastal food especially of the Malvani variety, sol kadhi has started getting the recognition it truly deserves. Known earlier only to households that lived along the coastal areas of Maharashtra and Goa, sol kadhi has now become so popular that a restaurant in Mumbai serving coastal food once named itself after this orgasmic digestive drink.
Sol kadhi is superb as an appetiser, a refreshing, between meals sip-up or as an aid to digestion. Fish eaters generally drink it with the main meal or pour it over rice. One more way to make use of a good sol kadhi is to add it to any coconut-based gravy. Add it to a vegetable curry or a mushroom xacuti and see how it enhances the taste of the original gravy.
So how is it made? First, buy some kokum. Don’t get confused between sol, amsul and kokum, they mean the same thing. You will get them in packets from stores around the Girgaum or Dadar areas of Mumbai, but watch out for inferior stuff that is just smeared with artificial colour or has not been put through the entire processing technique, which is labour intensive and can take upto a month. Kokum is made from ratamba (Garcinia indica), a fruit from the plum family. The pulp and peels of the ratamba are separated. The peels are soaked or smeared in its juices and sun dried. This is repeated often till the skin shrivels up but retains the red/purple colour and the slightly astringent flavour. This is now kokum, which is used as a souring agent in cooking and making kokum sherbet and sol kadhi.
Sol kadhi needs to have a coconut milky consistency, a baby pink colour (neither overtly red nor white) and the correct taste (refreshingly sour). Most of the coastal restaurants in Mumbai (like Anantashram, Saayba, Highway Gomantak, Gazaali, etc) make the sol kadhi either too watery (they don’t add enough coconut milk), too red (use kokum which is artificially coloured), too white (use colourless kokum), smell rancid (use stale coconut), temper it with mustard and curry leaves (make it like a buttermilk kadhi), tasteless (don’t get the recipe right) or too ‘garlicky’ (they use chopped garlic instead of grinding it in). Instead, try the traditional recipe alongside. So go ahead, try that sol kadhi which you will either love or hate. Just as the taste of wine or cheese grows on you, one needs to develop a taste for this drink.
Sol kadhi sommelier, anyone?
TRADITIONAL RECIPE FOR THE PERFECT SOL KADHI
Soak three-four kokum in three teaspoons of warm water. Extract coconut milk (one cup) and grind in twothree flakes of garlic. Once the kokum extract is red, add the coconut milk, chopped green chillies and salt to taste. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Be careful not to leave the kokum soaked in, as it will make the kadhi sourer than normal. Ignore all recipes that add ginger, cumin or mustard. A quick fix sol kadhi is also called ‘futi kadhi’ or ‘tival’ (in Konkani) and is made in coastal Maharashtra or Maharashtrian fish-eating households. The recipe of this is similar to the one above, but instead of coconut milk, one uses water.