The dried buds of the Kapok tree, also known as the Silk Cotton tree, are known as Kapok Buds or Marathi Moggu, and are best categorised as a form of caper. It is known as moggu in Kannada and mogga in Telugu, both of which translate to "bud." Some of Karnataka's most beloved meals, like Bisi Bele Bath, Saagu, and Kannadiga-style kootus, to mention a few, use the spice moggu. It is always roasted and ground with other spices before being used in a dish; it is never eaten raw.
Kapok Buds have a fragrant flavour and are deep-fried to bring forth their entire flavour. In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, it is used to make South Indian specialty rice meals like Bisi bele bath. It is also a component of Chettinad cooking. The aroma is very powerful, distinctive, and spicy.
The well adored rice dish "Bisi Bele Bath" from South India uses kapok buds. Before using, Marathi moggu is typically fried in oil to extract its full flavour, which is like to a mixture of mustard and black pepper.
As this spice is a native of Karnataka, the word "moggu" in Marathi is incorrect. That hasn't stopped it, though, from serving as a distinctive spice in a number of Andhra-style meals. This spice is frequently used to make curry powders and is also present in Chettinad food.
Kapok buds’ plant description:
An upright, buttressed, deciduous tree with a height of 15 metres is called the Kapok, Ceiba pentandra. Cylindrical trunk covered in grey bark with many, huge spines. There are distinct horizontal whorls in branches. The leaves are acuminate, glaucous, palmately compound, 6–18 cm long, and have 5–8 leaflets. On branchlets, the flowers are grouped and are 5-merous, creamy white, abundant, and about 3 cm long. The dehiscent, pendulous, oblong-ellipsoid capsules are 7–15 cm long. Green at first, the fruit eventually becomes brown as it ripens. It bears smooth, compressed-globose, brown seeds that are covered in tiny, silky hairs.
Health benefits of kapok buds:
Since it is high in antioxidants and acts as an anti-diabetic, kapok buds is an excellent supplement to asthma medications. It also helps treat diarrhoea and heal wounds.