Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Food and Culture Explorers

We started with this...

If I am back here after a month I must share some excitement with you, of the wonderful afternoon spent with passionate food explorers and travelers.

As soon as the event on Koli food and culture was announced on FB, I had the 6 seats booked. Sassy Fork was awesome to help me out with selecting the market and the venue closest for all the participants.

The day began at the market where the sweet Sassy was holding fort for me, after saying hellos we went straight to Nirmala, the Kolin of Discovery fame. I had talked to her over the phone few days in advance so she instantly started talking to me in the dialect of our comfort the Koli speak. She was very efficient, on knowing our planned menu she directed us to another Kolin in the market to get us crabs. I told her to give us 6 males and 6 females so that the participants would get a taste of the crab eggs besides the meat. While selecting the participants got to identify and differentiate them. As we were watching her clean we were talking about the source of the crabs, the effect of maturity, size etc on the meat. The plan was to make crab curry, so I wanted the claws and shells separated. I was surprised to know even seasoned food explorers are softies at heart.

For the fry we chose medium sized pomfrets. Nirmala Tai, cleaned and scored them keeping them whole as instructed. The pomfrets were perfect as individual serves and the participants learnt to check for freshness. While we waited there was a discussion on the miles that the catch travels from the sea and how they are transported to the retail window and which are the best catch areas that supply pomfrets to Mumbai.

We also bought the dried Kolim. The 3 grades of prawns are the large ones called Kolbi, the medium called Ambaad and the smallest Kolim or Javla in Marathi. On this day my plan was to treat the world travelers to a wedding breakfast dish that was going to be a surprise to their palate. When I told them it would be cooked with veggies they were moot, the true blue non veg lovers that they were and I was set to change that. So armed with brinjals and spring onions we headed towards the Kitchen of the day.

The hostess, a doting Aunty made Kolbi cutlets for the hungry group and Sassy fork served smoked oyster and tuna canapes too. When its seafood the Asian seafood scene is always the starting point to share travel stories. I am glad Uncle T also was enjoying the chat. A good life celebration had just begun.

Meanwhile I prepped up cutting the brinjals and spring onions with the help of my niece, Akshu. The rice was set to boil and the smell of Ambe mohor was enough to bring all the participants into the kitchen to learn the Koli Style cooking. 

I briefed about the day's menu, it was a part of the wedding feast. From the 2 methods of cooking rice to the types of curries, the coconut based and the thin everyday Kanji. What type of fish are used for a celebration meal and what are the Koli daily meal favorites. We talked about combinations of vegetables with fish and how Kolis eat as per season. 

About the monsoon, its dangers to fishermen's life and the Koli respect for the environment and why no fishing is done in monsoon thus allowing the sea life to replenish itself by just letting it be.

As we talked we made the crab curry, the Kolim and Akshu fried the pomfrets to perfection. The participant were tipped the key to a plump fried fish.

It was pretty late already and since 2 of them had to rush back to work I let them start serving themselves while I quickly made the God Ghari the final dish. God Ghari is actually eaten with Kolim but since I made it last and everyone was mid meal, Sassy fork suggested we try it with mango ice cream as a dessert. I liked the twist in the story.

The Food and Culture Explorers

Finally we wrapped up the day with a round of everyone listing their favorite dish of the day. The Kolim was Pradeep, Sassy fork and S Aunty's fave. Shanky liked the crab curry the most while Deepak loved the pan fried pomfret. I was happy with the varied tastes of these busy world travelers whose palates are exposed to some really adventurous eating and they were happy with 3 different dishes. 

They were a wonderful group and each one had a discerning taste. Finally we said bye bye and a promise to make more Amboshi cha loncha and have another Koli everyday meal event after the monsoon.

The resultant Seafood feat!

The menu :

1. Talele Kapte : Panfried medium sized pomfret
2. Chavalachi roti : Rice roti /bread
3. Kolim Vanga and Ool : A stir fry of tiny shrimps with brinjals and spring onions
Chimboryacha Kanji : Crabs in coconut curry

Not in the picture

5. Yelnicha Dhaan : Rice cooked by draining the starch
6. Goad Ghari : Fried flour and jaggery bread

7. Alibag che Pandhare kande : The white onions from Alibag
8. Lasnachi chutney : Garlic and red chilies chutney

I also shared some of my Ginger ale with them and they said they liked it.

Click to see more pictures from the event here...

A big Thank You to Shanky for clicking these beautiful pictures!

The goodies they took home: 
Amboshi cha loncha (sundried raw mango pickle), Sode (dried prawns) 
and Koli masala a must!


  1. Love the use of proper language to describe each dish. The day I decide to introduce my daughter prisha to koli food, am gonna reach out only to you. Cheers and keep cooking.

  2. Dean, it would be lovely to meet Prisha and cook for my cutie guest! It would be lovely to have you and Yogita over too. Thank you for your encouraging comment and keep visiting!

  3. Hi, requesting for the recipe for "Kolim Vanga and Ool"

    1. Hi Onil, check your inbox. Thank you for patronizing us and hope you enjoy the flavors and aromas from AnnaParabrahma!


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