A Sense for Spice – Konkani Cuisine by Tara DeshPande Tennebaum
A spicy Konkani afternoon and the launch of Tara’s culinary collection
It was a wonderful afternoon this 26th of June (oh that’s only the day before yesterday, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to post it this soon) spent in the great company of a few other fellow foodies and connoisseurs from the city. It was an event pulled together by the Imperial Culinary Club for the Delhi launch of the actress turned an inspiring gourmet writer Tara Deshpande Tennebaum’s culinary tome “A Sense for Spice”– a collection of recipes and stories from her Konkani kitchen
The Konkani cuisine has always had my fancy but somehow except for my few encounters while travelling to Goa I’ve never really had a chance to learn and explore the cuisine. So, when I received this invite I immediately marked the date on my calendar for in no way did I want to let go of an opportunity like this one.
I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to this rich cuisine as the actress herself donned the chef’s apron and prepared four of her favourite recipes from the book at the live cooking station while interacting gregariously with all of us present there. As she prepared the recipes, namely Bangbang Batata– Crispy Potatoes with Chilli and Garlic, Kakdi Chi Kochimbri- Cucumber and Peanut Salad, Koliwada Prawns and Chicken Xacuti– Goan Chicken Curry, the aroma of the Konkani spices infused itself all though the air transforming it into an absolute gastronomic delight. The dishes defied my pre-consumed notion about the Konkani cuisine that it is excessively spicy and hot, but to my pleasant surprise all the dishes were just the perfect balance of heat and spices and the Koliwala Prawns was delicious, a winner – hands down.
Tara aided by Chef Prem Kumar Pogakula, Executive Sous Chef The Imperial, managed everything from cooking to taking the questions from the keen audience with élan, and despite the celebrity lineage she came across as a down to earth food lover and won hearts with her never fading smile. The live cooking and tasting session was followed by a quick launch her book jointly by her and Mr. Vijay Wanchoo- Sr. Executive VP and GM The Imperial. The spicy afternoon ended with a lavish and scrumptious lunch at the Daniell’s Tavern featuring the coastal flavours from the book.
A quick peek inside the Book:
A Sense for spices– is not just a recipe book but a saga replete with stories of the rich Konkani traditions, the kitchen practices, detailed glossary of atypical regional spices and not to forget the exciting recipes from her grandmother that have been carefully elucidated in plain words. The finer nuances of the traditional recipes, some of which date back to 1800’, have not been compromised while adapting them for the modern kitchen counters. The book with a total of 123 conventional Konkani recipes carefully divided between different courses and ingredients , most definitely calls for an addition to the book shelf of any food enthusiast, priced at a decent Rs.495 is available at most leading bookstores or at the Godrej Nature Fresh outlets.