The Bangalore by the Bay Festival at Cafe Mozaic (Vivanta by Taj, MG Road) is not only well-known Chef Selvaraju’s Konkan adventure but the opportunity to be schooled in matters of sea food.
It’s not like the city does not have its share of seafood restaurants and claimants to coastal delights, but things take a decidedly upscale turn when this is done at the hands of the likes of Ramaswamy Selvaraju, Executive Chef, at Vivanta by Taj, who, we know, walks the extra mile for authenticity.
Speaking to Explocity, Chef Selvaraju explained that Konkan cuisine comprises the coastal districts of the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. There are two main styles of cooking in this region: one is the Goan Hindu cuisine which reflects the eating habits of local populace while the other is the Goan Catholic cuisine influenced heavily from the time Goa was a Portuguese colony.
"Food in this region uses local ingredients like coconut milk, Goan vinegar and kokum," Selvaraju said, "in Goan cuisine, seafood and pork dishes dominate. However, there are also vegetarian options as well: specialities like ross which is a coconut based dish, hoomans are the local curries and karam are the salads."
"Prawn Balchao is a unique combination of onions, tomatoes and dry shrimps and dry coconuts, with a piri piri spice mix as the secret ingredient," says Selvaraju. "The Goan fish curry involves the right blend of chilli, coconut milk and kokum, while the Crab Xec Xec has Xacuti masala that uses coconut, chilli, coriander seeds and other spices," he says. And of course the dish that transports you to Goa right away, Pork vindaloo made with piri piri masala, pork, baby potatoes and cherry tomatoes that will be served with fermented rice bread.
The traditional way of cooking is in claypots over fire wood, which imparts a subtle smoky flavor. "Key to this food is the freshness of spices, which are ground and used with the right combinations of ingredients," the chef added.
Fresh fish is not something we Bangaloreans will expect, leave alone take for granted. We Bangaloreans are going to be happy that the fish at The Bangalore by the Bay Festival will live up to its name.
"Normally all the seafood would come frozen for the hotels; we wanted our guest to taste the freshness in the food which comes only when it is caught and served within few hours," says Chef Ramasamy Selvaraju, Executive Chef, at Vivanta by Taj. "All seafood served for Bangalore by the Bay is caught at different coasts of India (like Kerala, Goa, Orissa, Gujarat etc) and served to our guests in Bangalore within 24 hours of it being caught."
The Bangalore by the Bay Festival will feature Prawn Balchao, Goan fish curry, Crab Xec Xec, Pork vindaloo, and Chicken Cafreal. Another highlight of the festival are the different live counters that will be changed every week. Piri Piri pan grilled prawns, Mackerel Recheado, Mandkyo chilli fry, Rawa fried King Fish, Goan Ros omelette are just some of the items that will be part of the live grill.