Sunday, August 11, 2013

Simplistic and healthy

It is always remarked that when an individual is healthy, they look good. But often than not home cooked food might be healthy but the presentation on the table would be straight out from the fire into the serving vessels. Can one blame the kids for looking and saying ‘yuch!’

So the Goan Culinary Club whose expertise in the culinary art firmly believes in eating first with your eyes yet retaining the simplistic aspect of Goan cuisine decided to visit Master Chef Urbano Rego in the place where he works…The Fort Aguada Beach Resort.]

We focused on simplistic home made preparations, one that is healthy as well as tasty….Teesroi’s and Bhende. Now these are available in plenty and Chef Rego promised us the healthy way of eating it.

We sat in the St Francis Xavier lounge, that ‘o so comfortable’ lounge waiting for the dishes to arrive. Mind you it is a fantastic experience sitting perched high above the shoreline sipping Bell pepper Mojitos and Margaritas and nostalgic about the fact that some restaurants (even the five star properties) have retained the iconic names of the past like the SFX.
Chef Rego explains why he has selected these two preparations. ‘In the old days lady fingers used to grow in our backyards. Freshly removed bhende were used to prepare this dish. Local lady fingers are larger in size and they have 7 veins on top of it (saat sireamche bhende). These lady fingers used to grow throughout the year in St Estevam village,’ he explains. And then with that smile in his voice he continues ‘Any person who we used to meet from this village we addressed him as ‘Beno’( a sort of slow person)’. Yes people in the past used to have nicknames for people of different villages. The second preparation is simple Steamed clams. 

It is important to see Chef Rego’s presentation of these preparations. Does it take time? We asked. He shakes his head…. simplistic that is his motto.

Good Relations

It is related to the mango, it is sweet and juicy and this season available in plenty. Yes this was the specialty brought in by the members of the Goa Culinary Club when challenged to bring back nostalgic memories from our grandmother’s kitchens. And while nostalgia was the key emotion as members’ taste buds went on overdrive at the Culinary meet…the amicable Chef Surat  of our very own Nostalgia restaurant brought in a variation of how the preparation is normally made- the Ambadeamchem Lonchem. Yes we have often heard of the preparation Ambade Sansav…but there are more ways than one in preparing this fruit. Next week Edia Cota of Alila Diwa will post a yellow and red combo of this very same fruit.

For those not yet initiated in the mysteries of local Goan culinary art, the name might send out wrong signals …that we are talking about a mango pickle. Ambade in Konkani is Hog plum, and the same misconception is held in Kolkata where this very fruit (hog plum) is called ‘amra’
So what is the ‘hog plum’ fruit? Normally found throughout the Caribbean region, it was brought to our shores by the Portuguese. Dry hog plum fruit is usually washed ashore on the beaches of the Caribbean islands, Gulf of Mexico and even as far as the southeastern beaches of the US of A.
The fruit is low in calories, high in fiber (helps lower the risk of diabetes and heart ailments), Vitamin C and iron and a source of Calcium.

The Goan Culinary Club is very active in bringing long forgotten recipes to the present. Our chefs with their knowledge (which perhaps many of us are not aware of) have delved deep into the past to bring to us an awareness which our fast paced life has conveniently pushed away. Yes we are all aware of the mango, but how many of us know about its relation - the Ambade?

So those of you who would like to ‘taste’ the different preparations of the past head over to the Hotel Fidalgo on the 20th August where the member chef’s will be putting up a spread. We will be giving you a peek into the menu shortly. We are celebrating a day which Goans all over the world do…they have named it World Goa Day. Our co founder Rene Baretto in the UK will be showcasing our culinary art to all the Goans abroad to awake nostalgic memories too.

This is what good relations is all about!