Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

goraka the fruit of a small tree, Garcinia cambogia, is used as a flavouring, thickening, and souring agent in Sri Lanka. It is related to the Malay asam glugur (see carambola).

The fruits are about the size of an orange, yellow or orange in colour, and fluted on the outside. The interior is divided into segments, and it is these which are sun dried and stored. They turn black as they dry.

Chandra Dissanayake (1976) has interesting comments:

It is interesting to note that in rural homes the goraka is stored away above the open hearth with the result that it becomes quite soft and the acid improves with keeping. In the maritime provinces of Ceylon goraka is seldom ground but is soaked in salt water, crushed and added to curries. In modern homes where the open hearth is not available the tendency is to use the ground goraka as freshly dried goraka cannot be crushed. Goraka is also a thickening agent and as an acid can be used in the preparation of some meat curries. Goraka is also used in the washing of fish to remove the strong fish odour.