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.
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…… Grind the ingredients of the masala paste….. Heat oil….. Add chopped onions and sauté till golden brown…… Now add the ground masala and sauté for a few moments……. 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….. 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 community name for Pomfret is Sarga……. This dish is generally had on special occasions….. Can be served as starter as well as side dish.
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….. Heat a tbsp of oil….. Sauté the tomatoes…… Add turmeric powder, pepper powder & East Indian bottle masala ….. Sauté…… Add the paste and salt…… Cook till done and almost dry….. Keep the stuffing aside to cool.
Stuff the Pomfrets with the stuffing….. With the leftover stuffing rub the outside of the fish.
Heat oil….. Apply flour and fry till golden on both sides….. Serve 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.
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.
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….. Now add chicken mince, salt and pepper ….. Fry till slightly browned….. Lower the heat and continue cooking till dry…. Add the coriander leaves and lemon juice…. Mix thoroughly …..Remove from heat….. Keep the stuffing aside to cool.
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….. By 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…..
Fry on slow flame till golden…. Serve hot.
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.
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.
East Indians are one of the original inhabitants of North Konkan region, particularly Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), Thane, Salsette, Chaul, Palghar and Vasai….. According to one school of thought, Christianity was introduced in North Konkan by St.Bartholomew, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, in first century AD……. When Portuguese took over North Konkan in the 16th century, they converted Earlier Christians, Brahmins, Kolis (fishermen), farmers, adivasis and other communities to Roman Catholic Christianity….. Portugal handed over Bombay, as marriage treaty, to the British East India Company in 1661….. Catarina de Bragança, daughter of João IV of Portugal, married Charles II of England and Bombay was handed over as dowry….The British East India Company started recruiting Christians for Railways and Steamships from different parts of Konkan, namely Goa and Mangalore….. Thus, in order to differentiate themselves from the recruited Christians, the Native Christians started calling themselves the Original East Indians after the Company…… Despite Portuguese and to some extent British influences, the community has preserved their pre-Christian Marathi culture…… East Indians speak a dialect of Marathi with borrowed Portuguese words…… Hence East Indian Community cuisine is a mix of many communities coming together.
Konkan region is a coastal strip lying between the Western Ghats in the East and the Arabian Sea in the West……In Maharashtra, the districts of Thane, Sindhudurg, Palghar, Ratnagiri and Raigad are included in the Konkan region….. Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, is part of this region.
The coastal region of Konkan and particularly Mumbai has from, times immemorial, always attracted Migrants from far & wide…….Parsis, Bene Israelis, Pathare Prabhus, Gaud Saraswat Brahmins (GSB), Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhus (CKP), Somvanshi Kshatriya Pathare (SKP),etc. made this region there home…… Some of the indigenous communities of North Konkan and Mumbai are Koli, Aagri and East Indian Catholics.
Thus, in this region, one can find various cuisines which is a combination of various Migrant influences and local Maharashtrian flavours.
Being located in the Western region of India, the State of Maharashtra is bordered by the States of Telangana and Chhattisgarh in the East, Madhya Pradesh in the North, Gujarat in the North West, Goa and Karnataka in the South……. Union Territories of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman also have common borders with Maharashtra…… Arabian Sea is in the West.
Maharashtra can be generally divided into five regions…… And each of these regions have distinct cuisines of their own…..
Konkan – Konkani Cuisine, Malvani Cuisine
Desh (Paschim Maharashtra) – Deshastha Cuisine, Kolhapuri Cuisine
Khandesh – Khandeshi Cuisine
Vidarbha – Varhadi Cuisine
Marathwada – Marathwada or Dakhini Cuisine .
Because of it’s strategic location, Maharashtra has always attracted Migrants from far & near……. Sindhi & Punjabi migrants from Pakistan, Parsis, Bene Israelis, traders from Middle East & Europe, etc. have brought in their food styles ,from times immemorial, to influence the cuisine of Maharashtra….. Influences of the neighbouring States is also there.
Thus Maharashtra Cuisine has various indigenous and influenced cuisines.