Thursday, October 11, 2012

Snippets from the Goan Culinary Club – The ‘kafirs grill’ - Cafreal

Could it be possible that Goan cuisine is shortly going the ‘fusion’ way? And why is it that vegetarian preparations like Sansav, Moogagatti, herve kele karam very rarely feature on the restaurant’s menu? A recent survey compiled by the Huffington Post…the list prepared by a travel blog viator’s for the newspaper has put the masala dosa amongst the ’10 foods to try before you die’. The masala dosa features alongside the Peking duck from China, BBQ spare ribs from the US and Teppanyaki from Japan. It is time to wake up and ‘globalize’ our mouth watering tongue tingling preparations….to make people aware that Goan food has a ‘unique’ concept that will appeal to any global palate.

Let’s discuss the ‘Cafreal’, not originally Goan, but today uniquely Goan. The Goan Culinary Club decided to ‘vet’ the preparations that are served in many of its establishments. Hotel Fidalgo played host to the meeting. Most of us have heard the story of how the cafreal reached the dining tables of Goa. It is stated that a group of Africa soldiers from the Portuguese colony of Mozambique had camped in Panjim. A chicken preparation was being grilled in their camp. Attracted by the aroma the dish was patented to suit the Goan palate and was called ‘cafreal’ as the Africans were often known as ‘kafirs’.

So the ‘authenticated’ preparation would be a leg or a breast of chicken with skin (remember it is a grilled specialty) with coriander leaves and spices…but….. Out of the ten samples placed for tasting at least 90% were flavored with mint. The preparations tasted great,but is mint necessary for the authentic preparation? Definitely Not…. was the panel’s recommendation. Moreover the cuts were varied…with bone, without bone and in cubes. But this is how we serve it in restaurants, was the unanimous chorus, for buffets, for snacks. We cannot have full leg pieces served on these occasions.

So the club decided to post the winning entries. The Marriott Resort Hotel and Spa with the traditional flavor of the Chicken Cafreal, and the ‘fusion’ cubes (shades of the Caribbean with the optional rum) done by Chef Carmelino Luis of Fisherman’s Wharf who confesses that his skill was sharpened under the tutelage of late Chef Fernando of Nostalgia fame.

As discussed before, the role of the Club is not to stifle any preparations but to give a variety based on the panel’s recommendations for the readers to vet. Here are their recipes on trial….

Traditional Chicken Cafreal
Junior Sous Chef Sushil Kumar with his experience in Star hotels has perfected this recipe which is being served at the Marriotts.
Ingredients      Unit                  Quantity
Chicken leg with skin    Gms         1000                        Oil                              ml                100                           Lime                           no                  01
Potato wedges            Gms              100                  Tomato Wedges          Gms              100
(Cafreal Masala Paste) 
*Toddy Vinegar               ml              100                     *Ginger                        Gms           50                     *Garlic                      Gms                30                  *Cumin seeds           Gms               15          *Coriander seeds           Gms               10                     *Green Chilly                 Gms               50               *Turmeric                     Gms               05                          *Salt to taste                                                       *Green Coriander          Gms          200                        *Black Cardamom         Gms                05              *Cinnamon                   Gms               05               *Saunf                                 Gms               08                     *Cloves                        Gms               05                    *Black Pepper               Gms               05
Step 1: Mix all ingredients (*) and make cafreal masala paste.
Step 2: Apply lime juice, salt and Cafreal masala paste on chicken and keep aside for 2 hours.
Step 3: Put oil on tawa and roast the chicken.
Step 4: Serve chicken along with potatoes and tomato wedges.

Fusion Chicken Cafreal
Chef Carmelino Luis has got good experience of 15years in Goan Cuisine. He belongs to Salcette district of Goa and started cooking at very young age. Chef Carmelino Luis learnt his skills & cooking technique from Master Chef Fernando of Nostalgia fame.
Ingredients                                        Quantity
Chicken Cubes                                    250 Gms
Ginger & Garlic Paste    Tbsps                 02                     
Fresh Coriander Leaves bunch                 04
Green chilies                                       05 Nos
Cloves                                                8 -10 Nos
Cinnamon Stick            stick                  01
Cumin Seed                tspn                  ½
Lemon                                                01 no
Turmeric Powder          tspn                ½
Salt to taste
Dark Rum                                            30 ml
Step 1: Take all the ingredients make a fine paste.
Step 2: Cut chicken into cubes and marinade it with turmeric powder, salt, lemon juice & dark rum and keep it in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
Step 3: Take a pan and put oil and heat it adds all the marinade chicken pieces and later add paste and cook it till perfection. Serve hot.
Chef’s note:
1)    Dark rum is optional
                                          pic courtesy: Assavari Kulkarni

But coming back to the masala dosa…if that vegetarian dish is made so popular even for readers in New York why is it that most restaurants in Goa don’t believe in putting the vegetarian preparations cooked in most Goan homes on the menu?

‘It’s our guest’s requirements,’ lamented one chef, ‘if we put it on the a la carte menu many people will not order it. It’s more for the homes.’

So we decided to create a platform of ‘home cooked’ food to be tasted by the chefs. Ms Smita Patil of Dona Paula volunteered with the Moogagatti. ‘It’s good,’ they stated, ‘but will it move in the restaurants.’ Not deterred, Smita has volunteered to bring in Pineapple Sansav for trial. Watch this space for her recipes.

Remember if Masala Dosa’s were only cooked at home and not made popular in Udipi restaurants which even Goans patronize, it would not have reached the media columns in New York. It is time to work hard on our own mindset change.
Co founders Odette and Joe Mascarenhas





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