Konkan cuisine

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Konkan cuisine

Konkan recipes: Bangbang Batata, Koliwada Prawns

Anwesha Mittra, TNN | Jul 23, 2013

The Times of India

Konkan recipes: Bangbang Batata, Koliwada Prawns (Photo courtesy: The Imperial, New Delhi) The Times of India brings you a few hand-picked recipes from actress turned author and cook Tara Deshpande's latest book 'A Sense for Spice'.

The recipes are extremely close to her heart as that was the way they were made and served in her grandmom's kitchen in their ancestral home.

'A Sense for Spice' is Tara's second book after Fifty and Done (1999), where she looks most fascinated and inspired in her grandmother's kitchen in their ancestral home in Belgaum, a mid-size city on the border of Karnataka and Maharashtra. As kids Tara and her sister woke up to the sweet fragrance of her grandma's jasmine hair oil, the tinkle of cups and saucers, the gurgle of milk, the slurring of tea leaves against a sieve in the kitchen.

Married to a Jew who is a vegetarian, Tara finds herself doing a lot of veggies in her menu, which again is abundant in Konkan cuisine. What's her second favourite cuisine then? Says she, "Italian! My husband loves the cuisine because it allows you to use a lot of vegetables, though he enjoys my native cuisine too quite a lot." But what stresses her most is the fact that women are slowly moving away from the kitchens and letting their cooks take over. "Women should cook even if they have busy schedules, you create a legacy by cooking, and that's a magical way to make your family happy and show them you care. But yes, they should encourage men too to enter the kitchen every once in a while." She retorts.

You would be cooking Bangbang Batata which is crispy potatoes with chilli and garlic, and Koliwada Prawns, a fried prawn specialty laced with generous dose of spices. To cook these you need to stock up on fresh greens from the local market and a whole array of spices, some of which are common to Indian kitchens. Plan this feast for an occasion, or simply to try your hand at something that's outside your comfort zone.

Bangbang Batata

Bangbang Batata

(crispy potatoes with chilly and garlic)


Brown baby potatoes or medium-sized potatoes, washed 250gm

Salt or to taste ½ to 1 tsp

A pinch of sugar

Red chilli flakes ½ tsp

Turmeric powder ½ tsp

Semolina or rava/sooji 1 tsp

Ghee or vegetable oil 1 ½ tbsp

Green chillies, 1½"-2" long, finely chopped 2-3

Finely chopped garlic 2-3 cloves


- Scrub the potatoes and steam them till tender but firm. Cool and peel.

- If using baby potatoes, leave them whole; slice larger potatoes into thick wedges. Transfer to a large bowl

- Mix the salt, sugar, chilli flakes, turmeric powder and semolina in a bowl

- Sprinkle this over the potatoes and toss, till well coated. Reserve

- Put the ghee or oil in a wide skillet on medium

- Heat and saute the green chillies and garlic for 10 seconds

- Throw in the spiced potatoes, reduce heat and cook for 6-8 minutes, tossing regularly to ensure even cooking, till the potatoes are browned and the semolina is crisp. Serve hot with lime wedges

Koliwada Prawns

Koliwada Prawns


Medium-sized prawns (size: 30-40prawns/kg) or skinned fish fillets 15 no.

Vegetable oil for frying 600 gm


Cayenne pepper powder 1tsp

Garam masala powder 2 tbsp

Carom seeds or ajwain ½ tsp

Salt or to taste 2 tsp

Chopped fresh coriander leaves 1 tbsp

Ginger paste 1 tbsp

Garlic paste 1 tsp

Red food colouring or tandoori colour ¼ tsp

Lime juice 1 no.


- Shell the prawns, if used, and remove the tail if desired. De-vein and wash well

- Cut the fish, if used, into 1" cubes. Wash well

- Pat the seafood dry with paper towels

- Mix all the batter ingredients in a bowl. Add the seafood and mix well to coat it evenly

- Taste and add more salt if required

- Pour oil into a small kadai or wok and put it on high heat

- Coat and press each seafood piece generously and evenly in the rice-flour.

- Reduce heat to medium and fry 1 piece of seafood for 3-4 minutes, till golden and fully cooked.

- Fish cubes will take longer to fry than prawns. Taste to test if the piece is cooked through. Repeat with the remaining seafood.

You might find some of the recipes pretty elaborate, but what's a Sunday meal without an extensive prep!

Kakdi Kochimbri

Konkan recipes: Kakdi Kochimbri, Chicken Xacuti

The Times of India

Kakdi Kochimbri


Puneri or similar mild, tender, 6" long cucumbers 1 kg

Powdered sugar (more, if coconut is omitted) 1 tsp

Salt or to taste 1tsp

Grated fresh; or frozen, defrosted, unsweetened coconut (optional) ½ cup


Ghee or vegetable oil 2 tbsp

Black mustard seeds 1 ¼ tsp

Pinch asafoetida powder

Indian green chillies, 2"- 2½" long, finely chopped or to taste 3-4 no.

Crushed, unsalted roasted peanuts ½ cup or more Juice of lime 1 no.


- Peel the cucumbers and quarter them lengthwise. Gently scrape off any large seeds

- Dice the cucumbers into 1/5" cubes

- Put the diced cucumbers in a colander or sieve placed over a bowl. Cover and refrigerate till ready to serve

- Remove the cucumbers from the refrigerator. Discard any water that may have accumulated in the bowl below the colander or sieve.

- Toss the cucumbers with coconut and sugar. - Put the oil for tempering in a small skillet or tempering spoon on medium heat

- When hot, add the tempering spices and cook for 30-60 seconds, till they splutter and turn fragrant. - Cool and pour the contents of the pan over the cucumbers

- Toss well, till the cucumbers are coated with the tempering

- Add the lime juice and peanuts and toss again. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately

Chicken Xacuti (Goan chicken curry)

Chicken Xacuti


Skinned chicken pieces with bone 800-900 gms

Vegetable oil 4 tbsp

Dried bay leaves 2 no.

Medium sized red or white onion, finely chopped 1 no.

Salt or to taste 2 tsp

Spice paste

Vegetable oil 2 tbsp

1" Cinnamon stick 1 no.

Cloves 4 no.

Black peppercorns 4 no.

Coriander seeds 1 tsp

Cumin seeds 2 tsp

Dried red Byadgi or Kashmiri chillies, stalks and seeds removed 5-6 no.

Medium sized white onion finely chopped 1 no.

1 ½"-2" long green chillies, roughly chopped 3 no.

3" fresh ginger root, peeled, roughly chopped Garlic cloves, roughly chopped 8 no.

Coconut paste

Vegetable oil 2 tbsp

Raw, unsalted cashew ¼ cup

White poppy seeds or khus-khus 2 tsp

Grated fresh, or frozen, defrosted, unsweetened coconut ½ cup

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