Kokum Curry has quickly gained a reputation for serving delicious Goan Saraswat cuisine
Kokum Curry is situated on a busy street in Candolim, above Delfino’s Hymart and is a passion project of Sapna Sardessai in collaboration with Prakash Pereira and the Armacar Group, who originally conceptualised a place that would be dedicated exclusively to Goan Saraswat cuisine, which is something this place boasts of.
Saraswat cuisine originated from the Konkan region on the western coast of India and is believed to have been introduced by the 96 Saraswat families that migrated from the Saraswati River basin.
The food served here is not something one would get to savour in other restaurants across the state, but is very much a part of the everyday Goan Hindu cuisine. The décor is typically Goan with a matted cane roof and little bamboo basket lamps hanging from the ceiling as one enters. The restaurant is spacious with a laterite stone wall providing a backdrop to a few kokum plants, symbolically planted in earthen pots. The stone flooring and the greenery around give you the feel of a garden restaurant – airy and eco-friendly. Their USP is also the fact that this is a pet-friendly place. Sapna says that all the dishes at Kokum curry are made using local produce like coconut, coconut oil (khobrel tel), tamarind (amtaan), kokum (solam), asafoetida (Shankarchhap hing) and schezwan pepper (teffla). Chef Anjali Walawalkar and Sapna Sardessai who have curated the menu use strictly traditional techniques of cooking to maintain the authenticity of the food.
The bar menu has a selection of White Wines, Breezers, Whisky, Scotch, Bourbon, Rum, Wines, both domestic and imported along with other beverages. Their mocktails and cocktails are typically Goan with names like Goan Dry Day, Virgin Kokum Mojito, Goan Sunrise, Goan Weekend, Kokum Mojito with kokum syrup used as the main ingredient. We were served the Kokum Mojito which was a heady mix of kokum juice, mint, white rum and soda which is a very refreshing drink to have on a hot summer day.
Kokum Curry boasts of a wide variety of starters. Right up from the humble masala papads to prawn cutlets, from generous fillets of fried fish, mussels, crabs and squids to the Churchurit Bombil (dried Bombay duck fried to a crisp with coconut oil).
We tried the Tisreanché Daangar which is delicately spiced clam cutlets, shallow fried on a skillet and served on a bed of onion rings. The cutlets were done to perfection with the right hint of spice. They have different kinds of Foddi which are banana, brinjal, sweet potato, lady fingers, maadi or any other seasonal vegetables which are shallow fried on a griddle and served with a dip. We were served the Myndoli banana foddi which are ripe Moira banana slices coated in a spicy masala and pan fried with semolina. An excellent starter to go along with drinks of your choice.
We were then served some Voddiachi Kismoor which is a crisp salad made with sundried ashgourd chips that have been dried and crushed. We had the Prawns Masala Fry, prawns coated in the chef’s special fiery spices and pan fried. This dish is a bestseller with its perfect coating of masala and hit all the right notes on the palate.
Kokum Curry is the perfect name for a place that is famed for its Kokum Curries. They have six kinds of Kadis which is the Khutti Kadi (kokum-pink digestive, with green chilies, fresh coriander and Shankarchhap hing), Vovyachi Sola Kadi (coconut milk-kokum digestive with aniseed/ajwain), Miriachi Sola Kadi (coconut-milk kokum digestive with black pepper and red chilli), Losnichi Sola Kadi (coconut-milk kokum digestive with garlic and green chili), Harvya Mirsangechi Sola Kadi (coconut-milk kokum digestive with green chili) and Phannachi Sola Kadi (coconut-milk kokum digestive with green chilli and a tempering of mustard seeds in coconut oil). All of these curries or kadis as they are called, have a unique flavour of their own and is a must try when here.
The menu boasts of a wide variety of breads, a Vegetable Pulav, a Sungtacho or Tisreancho Pulav, varied combo meals, a vegetarian platter as well as a Goan seafood platter. They have Karatheacho Kunvoll, Ansachi Karamm and Ambadeache Saasav for sides which are rare and vanishing recipes.
They also have a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian thaali. Sapna suggested we try out the non vegetarian thaali which consisted of rice, prawn curry, dry vegetable, tisrea suké, chicken shagoti, a large slice of fried kingfish, dry prawn kismoor, cucumber koshimbir, chapati, sola kadi and manganné, which is a dessert. Every item on the thaali was lip smacking with something for every palate. The manganné which is a traditional sweet made from gram dal and sago pearls cooked in coconut milk and jaggery with nuts and infused with the flavour of cardamom was the perfect ending to a lovely meal.
Apart from their thaalis, Kokum Curry has their signature dishes like Bharilli Vainggi with Taandlachi Bhaakri, Bharillé Bangddé, Bangdeaché/Sungatché Lonché with Poee, Mutton Suké with Wadé, and Talillyo Kulliyo.
The desserts section features traditional Goan sweet dishes like Sakharbaat, Pais, Sukurundé, Myndoli Kelleacho Haalwo and Shirvolyo served with Choon and Goad Ros.
The staff was polite, friendly and only too eager to explain the specialties and what each dish is about. This place is one of a kind and a must visit if you want to try out Goan Saraswat cuisine. Do make sure to ask for Sapna Sardessai when you visit; she will go out of her way to make you feel welcome and show off the culture and heritage of the cuisine that gives her so much happiness