10 Dishes from the Konkan Belt you Need to Know About

10 Dishes from the Konkan Belt you Need to Know About
A traditional Konkani fare is usually heavy on coconut, fish and mangoes, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

If your claim to fame is your love for spices, then you must make it a point to sample Konkani food on your next trip to the region

OT Staff
October 24 , 2020
08 Min Read

A narrow strip tucked between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, the Konkan region is a sight to behold with stunning beaches, ancient forts, and some of the best food India has to offer. Stretching from Thane in Maharashtra to Mangalore in Karnataka, Konkan is surrounded by the breathtaking Sahyadri hills.

The food here draws influence from the Maharashtrian, Goan and Karnataka cuisine.

Konkani cuisine is predominantly non vegetarian, but also has elements like Konkanastha brahmin cooking which is strictly vegetarian and less spicy. There are usually two styles of preparation, Karwar and Malvani. Traditional Konkani fare is often considered incomplete without coconut and kokam which are primary ingredients in any Konkan household.

Here’s a guide to what to eat when you are on your next journey along the Konkan coast. 

Sol Kadhi

Sol Kadhi or Kokum Curry

One of the most popular drinks to come out of the Konkan belt, sol kadhi is a mildly spicy drink made with kokum and coconut milk. A glass is consumed at the end of a meal as it is considered to be a digestive. You will come across several versions if you travel along the Konkan coast. Sometimes, it may have garlic, coriander leaves and cumin. In Goa, some eateries serve it without the coconut milk. This watery version is a kokum-steeped water (like an infusion) with chopped coriander and cumin. Kokum incidentally is a fruit from the mangosteen family. This popular souring agent is largely found in the Western Ghats. 

Bombil Fry or Bombay Duck

 
 
 
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Bombil fry, or what is more popularly known as Bombay Duck, is a popular dish available in parts of Konkan, like Maharashtra. In Mumbai, you will find many bars and pubs serving this is a side dish to go with your drinks. Not to be confused with anything from a bird species, Bombay duck is a variety of fish consumed either fresh or in dried form. It is marinated in a combination of spices and fried (sometimes with a coating of rava) and served with lemon wedges.

Patholi

 
 
 
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Think of patholi as a kind of thin rice pancake or roll. It is filled with dessicated coconut and steamed in turmeric leaves. Topped with a generous dollops of ghee, it is fragrant and flavourful. When turmeric leaves are not available, banana leaves are used. A perfect ending to a sumptuous meal, these are prepared during festivals that fall during the monsoon.

Airavat

Airavat

A dish native to North Kanara, airavat is a perfect blend of tamarind, jaggery, ginger and dates. A regular feature on occasions like festivals, wedding ceremonies and religious feasts, it is an explosion of flavours. Though not much is known about the origins of this dish, but what we can assure you is that this Konkan delight will leave you craving for more.

Bharli Vangi

 
 
 
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Each Konkan region has its own variation of this stuffed eggplant in gravy dish. Within Maharashtra, there are three styles of preparation. While the Konkan method adds roasted peanuts to the curry along with the spicy Malvani masala, the north Maharashtrian version has poppy seeds, sesame seeds and niger seeds in the gravy. The Karwar-style version has a coconut-based gravy and is best served with rice. 

Kadamb

Steamed rice cake in Banana leaf

Kadamb is the Konkani version of steamed idlis. Prepared with cucumber, rice, jaggery and coconut, it makes for a great breakfast option. It gets steamed in banana or turmeric leaf and seasoned with mustard seeds. It is best had with chutneys on the side.

Kolombo

Kolombo

You cannot talk about kadamb without mentioning kolombo. This Konkani sambar is not very different from a typical sambar in a Tamil household. The spices and the preparation methods are pretty much the same, the only difference being that the Konkani variation is loaded with vegetables. 

Clams Gravy

Clams Gravy

Konkani cuisine is best known for its seafood dishes. For instance, their delectable clam gravy. Clams can be broadly classified into three types: khubbe, tisre and kalva sukke. This Konkani delicacy is prepared using kalva sukke. With an overload of coconut, using both fresh and dry roasted, this rich curry is best served with steamed rice. 

Mooga Mole Randayi

 
 
 
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Ending the list on a healthy note is this Konkan special sprouted moong dal curry. Again belonging to the sambar family, this dish is made without onions and garlic. Rich in protein, it is a customary element in most Konkani thalis.


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