On Assignment: The New Gastronomic. Extra shots.
In Mint Lounge, Gayatri Jayaraman discovers that indigenous vegetables are making a comeback. Read the story here.
I had the chance to watch Chef Mandar Madav of JW Marriot cook up some Kelphulaci Baji just like how his mother would cook it in Malwan style but with a little twist of his own. It must have tasted good because even my mother never succeeded in feeding me that. However, vegetarians would love such normal torture methods of kind mothers.
But if you do get to meet Chef Mandar and want him to cook some authentic stuff for you, you must ask him to cook a simple dish out of one of the small sized fish that are commonly used in Malwan, Konkan or any West Coast homes.
The people from this part of the West Coast know that the best tasting fish are not the larger ones but the smaller ones you find the market. Each fish has a different taste just like different vegetables. The masala used and the method of cooking differs depending on the fish. No restaurant, even the ones that claim to be the most authentic has captured the variety that exists in a West Coast home yet. So if you want to ask the Chef to cook you something special, ask for some seafood.
Looks good, but it needs some acquired taste.