Category: West Indian Cuisine

Laal Maans

Laal Maans
West Indian Cuisine

Laal Maans

Laal maans is a speciality from the western Indian deserts of Rajasthan made from venison in a sauce with yogurt and the red hot Mathania chillies.

Now made in every Rajasthani home, the Laal Maans was once the privy of only kings and game hunter.s

The medieval Maharaja Sriji Of Mewar, tired of his usual roasts after a hunt, ordered the royal chefs to create something that is hot yet with a sweet after taste and succulent enough to suit the palate of a warrior.

Legend has it that the first iteration was a simple dish with flavours of just garlic and yougurt. Though it was quite interesting, the subtle curry failed to mask the gamy odour of the deer and was rejected.
After much trial and error the chefs soon realised that adding fiery red Mathania chillies hid its gamy odour and have it a deep red colour.

Thus was born the Laal Maans.

Since then it’s a dish that was created by men’s folk of Mewar, women were not allowed to cook it. Even today, Laal Maans makers are men, and that includes The present Maharaja Sriji Of Mewar who is among the last few to have mastered the traditional style of cooking the dish.

Galinha Cafreal

Galinha Cafreal
Western Indian Cuisine

Galinha Cafreal

A spicy preparation, Galina Cafreal is a popular dish from Goa made from whole chicken legs, flavoured with regional spices and herbs and shallow fried.

In Portuguese, Galinha means chicken or fowl and Cafreal is derived from the Portuguese word Cafre, meaning African Black. Extremely popular in the bars and taverns of Goa, this dish can trace its origins over 3 continents.

The dish is though to have originated in the African country of Mozambique. Sometime after the 15th century, when the Portuguese occupied the region, they adopted this dish, frango a cafrial as it was called, and modified it to suit their tastes.

Later when the Portuguese landed on the sandy shores of picturesque Goa, they brought with them African soldiers and slaves. This was when the Galina Cafreal, a favourite of both the Portuguese and the Africans, was introduced to India. Over the years, it evolved using local ingredients and became the dish Goans enjoy today.

To the Goans, “Cafreal love” is still one of the best legacies of Portuguese rule.

Potato in Bombay Duck

Potato in Bombay Duck
West Indian Cuisine

Potato in Bombay Duck

A dish with a very misleading name, the Bombay Duck is a not a bird but a fish. Native to the costal waters of Western India, the Bombay Duck, also known as Bombil or Lizard Fish is a fisherman’s favourite.

The dried salted smelly crumbly fish was held in high regard by British colonials. When rail links were first started on the Indian subcontinent, the prized fish, notorious for its sharp and pungent smell, was transported to different regions of India on trains. Since the smell of the dried fish was so overpowering, it was later consigned to the mail trains; the Bombay Daak (daak meaning mail).

‘You smell like the Bombay Daak’ was a common term in use in the days of the British Raj. Over the years the term was eventually corrupted and its present day name of Bombay Duck was born.

The Potato in Bombay Duck is a highly popular recipe using this unique dried fish.

(To be confirmed)

Pork Vindaloo

Pork Vindaloo
Western Indian Cuisine

Pork Vindaloo

A dish popular in the Western Indian region of Goa and the Konkan, Vindaloo is dish of pork marinated in wine and garlic.

This famous Indian dish finds its origins is the Portuguese carne de vinha d’alhos (literally “meat in garlic wine marinade”). The raw ingredients were packed in wooden barrels with alternating layers of pork and garlic and soaked in wine. This allowed Portuguese sailors to keep their food preserved during their long voyages to India.

Once it reached India, local Goan cooks added their own twist using palm vinegar instead of red wine, and adding spices and dried red chilies. The name was also localised to the Vindaloo we all know today.

Most people in the UK know of vindaloo as a tongue-searing curry, but it wasn’t always that way. The word vindaloo is a garbled pronunciation of the popular Portuguese dish carne de vinha d’alhos (meat marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic), which made its way to India in the 15th century along with Portuguese explorers.

Once in India thelocal Goan cooks added their own twist to suit local conditions: There was no wine-vinegar in India, so Franciscan priests fermented their own from palm wine. Regional ingredients like tamarind, black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom were added. But the most important addition — the dried red chillies, were imported to India from the Americas. A legacy of Portugal’s once global empire,

When the British occupied India from 1797 to 1813, they were delighted to discover this East-meets-West food, as well as Christian Goan cooks, who, free of caste and religious restrictions, were happy to make pork dishes beloved by expats.

In early British India cookbooks, vindaloo recipes remained close to the Goan original. But the dish gradually met the same fate as many Indian dishes when it was exported to England: It became another hot curry. The tang of vinegar disappeared along with the practice of marinating the meat, and the balance of different spices was lost under a blistering excess of chillies.

Luckily, in at the Indian Food Bazaar, the Pork Vindaloo stays true to the old days when cinnamon and cardamom provided an earthy elegance, and the heat was kept in check.

Undhiyu

Undhiyu
West Indian Cuisine

Undhiyu

A slow cooked mixed vegetable speciality, Undhiyu comes from rural coastal regions in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

The name of the dish comes from the Gujarati word undhu which means ‘upside down’ referring to its peculiar method of preparation.

Fresh produce is mixed with herbs and spices and filled in earthen pots which are then buried underground. A flame is then lit on top of the pot so the dish cooks under a fire instead of atop.

The dish contains an assortment of regional seasonal vegetables found all along the South Gujarat coastline including potatoes, green beans or new peas, unripe banana and eggplants as well as fritters of chickpea flour and fenugreek. These vegetables ares cooked in a spiced paste with ginger, garlic, green chilies and coconut.

A favourite of the costal farmers, Undhiyu is a complex affair. The preparation of the ingredients takes mosts of the day and it’s cooking takes an additional four hours or so. This explains why the dish is usually only cooked in large quantities.

The Undhiyu is a robust, unctuous dish. It is best enjoyed with the Thepla a thick flatbread, made from chickpea flour.