CONCLUSION……. EAST INDIAN COMMUNITY CUISINE

Being the melting pot of diverse identities, East Indian Community cuisine is an interesting amalgamation of various cuisines of it’s sub groups, Portuguese and to some extent British…… Portuguese & British added meats like beef and pork…… They also added techniques like poaching and sautéing……..The Arab traders in Bassien (modern day Vasai) brought saffron…… They also taught new techniques of cooking pulaos, biriyanis and meats like mutton……Even though there is huge Portuguese influence on both the East Indians and Goans, the East Indians are very different from the Goans.

The East Indian Bottle Masala is the mainstay of this cuisine……. This masala has around 30 ingredients including a variety of spices along with Bengal gram and whole wheat……. The spices have to be dried out in strong sun…… Thus the bottle masala is generally made before the advent of Monsoon…… Each spice is then pounded in wooden mortar & pestle and then mixed by hand…… Earlier, the masalas would be kept in dark beer bottles to protect them from sunlight……. This helped in long preservation….. Each family has it’s own type of this heavily guarded secret masala.

The East Indian Community especially like to drink wine….. Wines from rice, currants, ginger, beetroot, etc. are their favourites…… In olden days, the wine glasses were made from clay and used to be the size of the tequila shot glasses of present day.

A mild sweet liquid called Toddy was obtained by tapping the palmyra and coco-palm trees…… Toddy was a daily morning beverage for farmers…… It helped in fortifying them against fatigue from working in the fields…… Also called Maria Branca, toddy was stored in wooden casks in affluent homes…… It is single distilled and is drunk warm or sweetened & spiced during festivals…… Toddy was also used as medicine…… It was given to women after childbirth.

The biggest and most extravagant festival of the East Indian Community is Christmas…….. Generally preparations for the festival begin months ahead.

Thus concluding the East Indian Community cuisine of the Konkan Region….. Looking forward to start another interesting cuisine of this region.

TAVSALI

Cucumber Cake is called by East Indian Community as Tavsali……. Tavsali gets its name from the Konkani word Tavshe……. Tavshe means cucumber……. Very easy to make, the texture of Tavsali is light, moist and soft……. Cucumber cake is generally made from large and ripe yellow cucumbers.

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INGREDIENTS : 1 large cucumber, 1 cup semolina, 1 cup jaggery, 3/4 cup fresh grated coconut, 4-5 green cardamoms, cashew nuts as needed, coconut oil/ghee.

DIRECTIONS : Wash and peel the yellow cucumber…… Cut into half…… Remove the seeds….. Grate the cucumber…… Don’t discard the cucumber juice…… Keep aside….. In the meantime, roast the semolina till fragrant….. Keep aside…. Powder the cardamoms……. Chop few cashew nuts.

Take a bowl……. Mix roasted semolina, grated cucumber with all its juice, freshly grated coconut, jaggery, cardamom powder and chopped cashew nuts…… Mix well to get a batter of medium consistency without lumps……. Keep aside for at least 1 hour.

Take a container….. Grease with ghee……. Pour the batter…….. Heat some water in the pressure cooker…… Keep the container containing batter in the pressure cooker…….20180427_004229.jpg Cover the container………20180427_004410.jpg Cover pressure cooker with lid…….20180408_115910.jpg Steam for 30-40 mins……. Check whether it is done by inserting a knife….. If the knife comes out clean, then it is done……20180427_004502.jpg Cool the cake a little and take out by inverting the container on a plate……20180427_003736.jpg Decorate with cashew nuts…….20180405_204441.jpg Serve warm…… One can also serve it with some ghee/milk…… Cucumber cake can be served wit thickened milk/condensed milk…..20180427_005006.jpg

One can bake Tavsali instead of steaming it……. Bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30-45 mins.

NOTE : If yellow cucumber is not available, then one can use regular green cucumbers……. If using green cucumbers, one does not need to remove seeds…… Increase/decrease jaggery according to the sweetness required……. If the consistency of the batter is too thick, one can add a little milk/coconut milk…… On can use steamer or Electric cooker too.

ARROZ FUGATH (WEDDING PULAO)

Portuguese call the rice Arroz……. East Indian Community call their rice dishes Arroz too…… Arroz Fugath, or as the East Indians call it, Wedding Rice/Pulao, is a sweetish pulao mixed with dry fruits….. Goes very well with spicy side dishes.

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INGREDIENTS : 2 cups Basmati Rice, 400-500 gms onion, 8-10 cloves, 2″-3″cinnamon, few cashew nuts, few raisins, few cranberries (dried), salt to taste, oil, 4 cups water, boiled eggs.

DIRECTION : Wash the rice thoroughly…… Soak in water for 1/2 an hour….. Drain….. Keep aside……. Slice the onions……. Heat oil…… Fry the onions till golden brown…… Remove and keep aside…… Fry the dry fruits and keep aside.20180504_154814.jpg
Heat oil……. Add rice and half of the fried onions……20180504_155410.jpg Stir fry…….20180504_155531.jpg Add cloves, cinnamon and salt……20180506_154017.jpg Stir fry….. Add water…..20180506_153836.jpg Let the water come to a boil……. Cover…..20180506_153741.jpg Cook till done……. Garnish with Fried onions, dry fruits, boiled eggs…..20180504_163122.jpg Serve hot.

NOTE : Can use ghee (clarified butter) instead of oil……. Any dry fruits available at home can be used….. Can sprinkle coriander leaves as garnish too.

FUGIYAS

A big favourite of the East Indian Community, Fugiyas is a sort of fried bread…… Fugiyas is a must at weddings and festivities…… Slightly sweet, they are soft & spongy melt in the mouth round balls…… Fugiyas are delicious and can be had any time of the day….. Can be had with tea….. Also goes very well with meat curries like Indyal (vindaloo), sarpotel, etc.

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INGREDIENTS : 1/2 kg Maida (white flour), 1 egg, 1tsp yeast, 2tbsp sugar, salt to taste, 1/4 cup oil, water, oil to fry.

DIRECTIONS : Mix yeast & sugar with lukewarm water and keep aside to let it rise……. In the meantime, sift maida…… Warm the oil….. Now mix maida, egg, salt, risen yeast, warm oil and lukewarm water to form a smooth pliant dough……20180408_103815.jpg Cover the dough and keep aside in a warm place for at least least 2-3 hours so that the dough rises. 

Heat oil…… Wet the palms …… Hold the dough with the left hand…….20180427_005219.jpg Firmly press out through forefinger and thumb……20180427_005317.jpg With wet right hand lift the ball…..20180427_005432.jpg Drop the balls carefully in the hot oil…… Fry till light golden over medium heat….20180408_133657.jpg With slotted spoon remove the Fugiyas from oil…… Transfer to a tissue paper lined bowl….. Serve hot.

NOTE : While frying, don’t overcrowd….. Sugar can be increased or decreased according to taste.

MUTTON INDYAL

East Indian Community popularly call Vindaloo dish Indyal or Indad…… Indyal can me made with pork, chicken or fish too…. Weddings or feasts of this community must have this dish…… Best combination with Indyal is Fugiyas.

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Ingredients : 1 kg mutton, 2″ginger, 20-25 garlic cloves, 15-20 red dry Kashmiri chillies, 2 tbsp cumin, 1/4 cup sugarcane vinegar, oil, salt to taste.

Directions : Wash the mutton, apply salt and keep aside…… Roast the cumin seeds……. Soak the Kashmiri red chillies in hot water for at least 15 mins……. Grind the ginger, garlic, red Kashmiri chillies (If one wants the dish to be less hot, slit the chillies and remove the seeds) and cumin with sugarcane vinegar to make a very fine paste……20180427_004638.jpg Marinate the salted mutton with the ground paste and enough oil…..20180427_004818.jpg Add more salt if required…..20180427_004934.jpg Keep aside for at least an hour……. Place the marinated meat in pressure cooker…….20180427_005102.jpg Add water according to the gravy required and place on medium heat for about half an hour…….20180408_115910.jpg Serve hot with Fugiyas……. 20180408_132520.jpgGoes well with bread and steamed rice too.

NOTE : Marinated meat kept overnight tastes even better……. Increase or decrease chillies according to taste…… Quality & sourness of vinegar is very important, so increase or decrease it accordingly…… This dish tastes even better the next day or the day after.

CHITTAPS

Chittaps are rich, soft, porous, delicious pancakes….. These are perfect accompaniment to any gravy items….. The East Indian community prepare Chittaps either with a mixture of rice flour & maida OR rice flour & wheat flour, coconut milk, egg and yeast.

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INGREDIENTS : 2 1/2 cups rice flour, 1 1/4 cups maida (white flour), 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup sugar, salt to taste, 2tsp yeast, 1 egg, oil.

DIRECTIONS : In about 1 tbsp lukewarm water stir in yeast with a pinch of sugar…… Set aside for some time….. Mix rice flour, maida, coconut milk, sugar, salt, yeast mix and egg well….. A little water can be added, if required……Set aside to ferment for at least 2-3 hours….. Stir batter again…. If required, add little more coconut milk to get pouring consistency.20180227_142027.jpg
Heat a nonstick pan….. Lightly grease with oil…. Pour batter with a ladle on the pan, softly spread it to form a pancake……20180227_141024.jpg Cover (to retain the heat) and cook on slow fire for a minute or two…..20180227_141144.jpg Flip….. Cook uncovered for a few seconds till done…..20180227_141246.jpg One side will be light brown and the other side whitish…… Serve hot….. Continue this procedure till all the batter is used…… Goes very well with veg / non veg gravies.

NOTE : Sugar can be adjusted according to taste….. Increase coconut milk, if required, to get pouring consistency…….East Indian community use cast iron chittap pan.

APRICOT CHICKEN

This unique East Indian community chicken dish is really worth trying….. Portuguese influence can be seen in apricots being soaked in brown palm vinegar…… Arab influence in the use of saffron….. Apricot chicken is an all out winner.

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INGREDIENTS : 1 kg Chicken, 3/4 onions, 3 tomatoes, 15-20 dried apricots, brown palm vinegar as required, water as needed, 1-2 tbsp oil.
Masala paste : 1″ginger, 10-12 garlic cloves, 1 tsp cumin, 2tbsp coriander, 1/2 tsp poppy seeds, 5-6 whole black pepper, 6-8 dried Kashmiri chillies, 5-6 cloves, 1″cinnamon, 4-5 green cardamoms, salt to taste, a pinch of saffron.

DIRECTIONS : Soak the dried apricots in the brown palm vinegar…… Keep aside……20180221_122409.jpg Wash the chicken pieces….. Make a paste of onions…… Chop the tomatoes…..20180221_122447.jpg Grind the masala ingredients with enough water to form a paste…..20180227_142406.jpg Heat oil…… Fry onion paste till it browns…..20180227_142533.jpg Add the masala paste and tomatoes…… Sauté till oil separates……20180227_142305.jpg Add the chicken pieces and stir fry well…….20180227_142217.jpg Add water….. Stir….20180227_142133.jpg Cover and simmer till chicken is almost done…… Mix in the apricot and vinegar….. Cook for few more minutes…….20180227_141915.jpg Serve hot…… Goes very well with Chittaps.

NOTE : Brown Palm Vinegar can be increased/decreased according to taste…… Instead of water, one can use chicken stock…… If saffron is not available, one can add a pinch of turmeric powder.

EAST INDIAN COMMUNITY STYLE FISH MOILE

Konkan region, particularly Mumbai, is surrounded by beautiful coastline…… So the East Indian Community have a special liking for seafood….. Whether it is fresh catch or dry ones (During monsoon, fish is not available easily)), they prepare wonderful seafood dishes.

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INGREDIENTS : 4 small pomfrets, 3-4 onions, 1/2″ ginger, 6-8 cloves garlic, 2-3 green chillies, 1 lemon, 1 tbsp East Indian bottle masala, salt & vinegar to taste, water, oil.

DIRECTIONS : Clean and wash pomfrets…… Apply salt and lemon juice…… Keep aside……. Slice the onions in rounds….. 20180227_143418.jpgCut ginger, garlic, green chillies lengthwise….. Heat oil….. Fry the fish…..20180227_143148.jpg Keep aside….. Sauté sliced onion rounds…… 20180227_143058.jpgAfter sometime add green chillies, ginger, garlic…… Sauté till onions are brown…… Add in the bottle masala powder and water (about half cup)….. Simmer….. Now add salt & vinegar…..Simmer…. Add the fried fish and cover…..20180227_142952.jpg Cook till done…..20180227_142806.jpg Serve hot with rice.

NOTE : Instead of small pomfrets, one can use one medium sized pomfret (sliced)….. Vinegar can be increased/decreased according to taste….. Water can be increased/decreased depending on amount of gravy required.

EAST INDIAN STYLE FRENCH BEANS FOOGATH

East Indian Community have very few vegetarian dishes…… Notable among them is Foogath or Fugad…… Foogath can be made from various vegetables like French beans, pumpkin, capsicum, cabbage, cauliflower, drumsticks etc…. A foogath is generally made regularly along with other dishes….. The word ‘Foogath‘ originates from the Portuguese word ‘Refogado‘……. Refogado means ‘to braise’…… So whenever a vegetable is cooked by braising, it retains it’s original colour & light crispness, thus making it the perfect side dish.

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INGREDIENTS : 250gm French beans, 1 onion, 1tsp black pepper powder, salt to taste, 1/2-1 lemon, Ghee/white oil.

Masala paste : 1″ginger, 4-6 garlic cloves, 1/4th bunch coriander leaves, 1-2 dried red chillies, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1-2tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp sesame seeds.

DIRECTIONS : Wash and cut the French beans……20180222_145055.jpg Grind the ingredients of the masala paste….. Heat oil….. Add chopped onions and sauté till golden brown……20180227_140743.jpg Now add the ground masala and sauté for a few moments…….20180227_140705.jpg Add cut French beans and mix with the masala…… Cover & cook till almost done….. Add salt & black pepper powder…… Sauté….. When done add lemon juice according to taste…..20180227_140629.jpg Remove from heat…… Serve hot.

NOTE : While sautéing the masala, if required, sprinkle some water to prevent burning…… One can garnish French bean Foogath with grated coconut.

EAST INDIAN STYLE STUFFED POMFRET

East Indian community name for Pomfret is Sarga……. This dish is generally had on special occasions….. Can be served as starter as well as side dish.

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INGREDIENTS : 3-4 small pomfrets, 1 lemon, 2 tomatoes , 1-2 onions, 6-8 cloves garlic, 1″ginger, 2-3 green chillies, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp pepper powder, 1 tsp East Indian bottle masala, a bunch of coriander leaves, salt to taste, little flour, oil for frying.

DIRECTIONS : Make sideways slit of the pomfret in such a way that a cavity is formed so that the stuffing can be entered….. Wash the fish…. Apply salt & lemon juice and keep aside.

For the stuffing, chop tomatoes……. Make a paste of onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves….. 20180227_135809.jpgHeat a tbsp of oil….. Sauté the tomatoes…… Add turmeric powder, pepper powder & East Indian bottle masala ….. Sauté…… Add the paste and salt……20180227_135703.jpg Cook till done and almost dry….. 20180227_135522.jpg Keep the stuffing aside to cool.

Stuff the Pomfrets with the stuffing….. With the leftover stuffing rub the outside of the fish. 20180227_135346.jpg

Heat oil….. Apply flour and fry till golden on both sides….. 20180227_135245.jpgServe hot.

NOTE : Instead of small Pomfrets one can use big ones….. Semolina/rice flour can be used instead of flour……To get a different dish, one can wrap stuffed pomfret in banana leaf and steam/fry.

EAST INDIAN POTATO CHOPS

A popular dish of this community, this is generally had on Sundays and special occasions….. Can be had as starters….. Also can be had as snacks during tea time.

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INGREDIENTS : 5-6 potatoes, 250 gms minced chicken, 4-5 onions, 8-10 garlic cloves, 1″ ginger, 2-3 green chillies, coriander leaves, 1 lemon, salt & pepper to taste, 1-2 eggs, breadcrumbs, oil for frying.

DIRECTIONS : Clean and boil potatoes till done…… Mash the potatoes with salt and knead till smooth…. Keep aside.

In the meantime, chop onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves finely…… Heat 1tbsp oil….. Fry onions till slightly brown….. Add ginger, garlic and green chillies and sauté for few minutes…..20180227_140522.jpg Now add chicken mince, salt and pepper ….. 20180227_140446.jpgFry till slightly browned….. Lower the heat and continue cooking till dry…. Add the coriander leaves and lemon juice…. Mix thoroughly …..Remove from heat….. 20180227_140213.jpgKeep the stuffing aside to cool.

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To prepare chops, take a portion of mashed potatoes and flatten it to form the shape of the palm….. Make a shallow depression in the centre…..Place a portion of the stuffing in the centre….. 20180228_203559.jpgBy drawing up the sides of the potatoes, encompass the mince completely….. Shape into round chops….. Likewise make chops with the rest….. Heat oil…. Roll each of the chops in beaten eggs and then breadcrumbs…..

20180301_233001.jpgFry on slow flame till golden…. 20180301_233219.jpgServe hot.20180301_233720.jpg

NOTE : Stuffing can be made with any mince….. Mashed potatoes should not have lumps….. If mashed potatoes is sticky, one should oil one’s palm before forming chops….. One can use semolina instead of breadcrumbs.

EAST INDIAN COMMUNITY CUISINE

As mentioned before, the East Indian Community are a mix of different communities like Kolis, farmers, Brahmins, adivasis, etc, therefore, the East Indian cooking cannot be standardised…… This cuisine is a blend of different identities…… The East Indian Community liked to differentiate themselves from the other Christian communities of Konkan regions…… Thus, the cuisine of East Indian Community is distinctly different from that of the Goans and Mangoloreans…… Even though the recipes have been developed during the days of the British in India, this cuisine is a pleasant mix of Maharashtrian, Portuguese and to some extent British cuisines.

East Indian Community Cuisine have very limited vegetarian food….. Coconut is used sparingly (Goans and Mangoloreans use lots of coconut)….. Cooking must be done on slow fires, preferably on coal/wooden fire, using traditional earthen and clay pots (chatties)…… Except for their special Bottle Masala (a kitchen staple) all the spices needed for cooking are ground by hand on a stone at home.

For this community, wine and liquor plays an important role in their celebrations, whether happy or sad……. Liquor is proficiently distilled in different strengths….. The most popular liquor is Khimad, which is heated in earthenware jars with narrow necks and served hot in small earthen cups called cheuvnies……… Khimad is a spiced (generally cinnamon) and sweetened liquor, whose base is coconut liquor.

The Christmas sweets of this community is very unique…… Riquejao (made of curd), bolde-coque ( a Portuguese cake), thali sweets (semolina, coconut, sugar and eggs, all baked in a thali), neuris (crescent shaped sweet puffs ), boros (biscuits), date rolls, cordial (made with coconut), etc. are made during Christmas.