Delicious Goa Rains

Allmmeache Tonnak

The local mushrooms (Allmi) are a seasonal, rare delicacy in Goa with prices as princely as Rs. 1000 for 50 buds when they first arrive! They find their way into Goan gravies, omelettes, are masala fried with semolina, or even consumed plain stir-fried. I don’t know if the taste either justifies the price or the craze… but the love of them is very intrinsic. Below is a recipe for the most popular preparation.

Ingredients: 50 mushrooms, washed off the mud, drained and chopped; 2 onions (half onion sliced lengthwise and the rest chopped); 1 cup grated coconut; half teaspoon turmeric powder; 1½ tablespoon coriander seeds; quarter teaspoon cumin seeds; ½ inch piece of cinnamon; 6 peppercorns; 3 cloves; ½ teaspoon chilli powder; marble-sized ball of tamarind; 2 flakes of garlic (optional); 4 small red chillies; 2 tablespoons oil for frying; 2 kokum shells (solam); ¼ teaspoon sugar; salt to taste

Method: In a deep pan, mix together the chopped onion and the mushroom with a tablespoon of oil and a quarter teaspoon turmeric powder. Sprinkle some water over and cook covered on slow heat till the onion gets translucent.

While the mushroom is cooking, in a tablespoon of oil, fry the spices (chillies, coriander, cumin, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns) and keep aside. Fry the onion till golden brown, add the coconut and fry till golden, adding a quarter teaspoon of the remaining turmeric powder and the chilli powder. Cool and grind both with the tamarind to a smooth paste. Keep extra grinding liquid aside.

Add this paste to the mushroom with salt and a pinch of sugar. Add the liquid that was kept aside. Add kokum shells. Coconut milk may also be added instead of the grinding liquid. Bring to the boil and Allmmeache Tonnak is ready to be served.

Lootichi Bhaji

This variety of colocacia shoots up in densely wooded areas with the first rains. These early shoots of locally called Looth vegetable are consumed before they gain in foliage.

Ingredients: 10 shoots of Looth vegetable, outer covering removed, washed and greens chopped finely; 2 tablespoons vatana (peas, soaked overnight); 1 heaped tablespoon tur dal (soaked in water); 1 onion, chopped; 3-4 ambadde (hog plums); 3-4 green chillies, slit lengthwise; 1 cup grated coconut; ½ teaspoon turmeric powder; ½ teaspoon chilli powder; 1/ teaspoon garam masala powder; 4-5 voddio (a local preserve made from ash gourd and stored); 1 teaspoon mustard seeds; 2 tablespoons oil for frying; ¼ teaspoon sugar; salt to taste

Method: Pressure cook the chopped vegetable, onion, dal, vatana, ambadde and green chillies to 3 whistles approx or till soft.

Grind together grated coconut, chilli and turmeric powders with sufficient water to a smooth paste. Heat oil in a pan and drop in the mustard seeds. Add the voddio and fry on low heat till you get an aroma and the voddio are evenly browned. Add the pressure-cooked contents. Add the ground paste, garam masala, salt to taste and sugar.

Looth vegetable needs to have a souring ingredient added to take away any itchiness this vegetable produces. You may add kokum shells or bilimbis or tamarind instead of the hog plums.

Faaglachyo Foddi

This variety of spiky gourd or Faagla (Kantola) is a favourite with Goans. Shallow-fried, coated with semolina, this is often on the menu during the holy month of Shravan.

Ingredients: 10 tender kantolas; ½ cup semolina; 1 teaspoon besan (gram flour); ½ teaspoon chilli powder; ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder; ¼ teaspoon garam masala (optional); 1 tablespoon oil; Salt to taste

Method: Wash and cut the kantola into slices lengthwise, very lightly scraping off the spiky exterior. Add the powders and salt to the slices. Toss, to evenly coat.

Heat oil on a tawa. Mix together the besan and semolina. Roll the kantola slices in this mixture and gently place one by one on the griddle. Sprinkle a little oil over.

Cover and allow to cook on slow heat. Remove lid. Turn the slices over and fry till golden brown. Do not make the slices too slim.

Taushyachi Karamm

The local variety of cucumber or taushi are in abundance in the monsoon season and various preparations of this water-based vegetable/fruit lighten the monsoon menu. The local taushe is said to be tenderer, more hydrating and infinitely tastier. The Karamm is a salad made using cucumber and coconut.

Ingredients: 1 large cucumber (taushe); ½ cup grated coconut; 2 green chillies; 2 teaspoons mustard seeds; sugar & salt to taste

Method: Wash and finely chop the cucumber. Chop one green chilli finely. Dry roast the mustard seeds till they begin to pop. Keep aside.

Grind together the grated coconut with one green chilli, sugar and salt, very coarsely. Add very little water and half the mustard seeds and grind again but not too finely. Keep aside this chutney.

Just before serving, combine the chopped cucumber with the chutney, the remaining mustard seeds and the chopped green chilli. Adjust salt and sugar to taste.

Ghodka Tonnak

Cashew seeds that fall on the earth when the fruit is being plucked, germinate with the onset of monsoon. The nuts are then prised open and the tender cashew cotyledons, are used in delicious vegetable preparations.

Ingredients: 30 split ghodka; ¼ cup moong, soaked overnight; 1 small ripe tomato, chopped; 1 cup grated coconut; spices (1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 3-4 cloves, 1 cardamom, ½ inch piece cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds); 4-5 dry red chillies; ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder; ½ teaspoon chilli powder;1 tablespoon oil; ½ teaspoon mustard seeds;1 sprig curry leaves; salt and sugar to taste

Method: Pressure cook the ghodka and moong to 2-3 whistles or till soft.

Dry roast the spices, chillies and grated coconut on slow heat till golden brown. Grind to a smooth consistency with chilli and turmeric powders, using sufficient water.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and the curry leaves. When the mustard begins to pop, add the tomato and stir fry. Add the pressure cooked ghodka mixture. Add the ground masala with the grinding liquid. Adjust salt, and sugar.

You may also prepare this dish with onion, in which case you stir-fry the chopped onion before the tomato.

Text & Images: Sapna Sardessai

For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

Author: Planet Goa Team
For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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