Pathare Prabhu Meal with Soumitra, Manju and Mealtango.com

In this food loving city of Mumbai, people are always out on a hunt for authentic food, but eventually wind up at a Chinese or Italian restaurant. There isn’t a lack of Malwani, Goan and Parsi restaurants in the city, but the one question we always ask ourselves is — “Yes this food is tasty as F*ck, but is this AUTHENTIC enough? ” Where do we draw the line between authenticity and something that is just there. Well there is only one answer and that is go to the homes of the local people, and eat what they eat, drink what they drink and find out about their clans/families or culture. Well we are lucky that there are companies now that have started with “Authentic Meal Experiences” in local peoples home and MealTango.com is one of them. They offer a wide variety of experiences by local home chefs in and around Mumbai, Pune etc. They are also present in cities around the world, doing the same thing, offering Food enthusiasts a lovely experience. We went for one such experience and it was definitely one worth going for. The food was made by Soumitra and his lovely wife from the Pathare Prabhu clan.

Fresh Kolambi (Prawns)
Fresh Kolambi (Prawns)

Our Hosts and a brief History about Pathare Prabhu clan:

On meeting Saket Khanna, one of the co-founders of MealTango.com at an award function, we were introduced to the concept of curated home cooked meals. Since the first one, was at a short notice we were asked to check out the next one. Boy oh Boy!!! were we in for a treat. If a meal is titled as “Check out the Seafood fare” by Soumitra, then They had me at Seafood!!! We were informed that he belongs to the Pathare Prabhu clan who are one of the oldest residents of Bombay. On a nice and refreshingly free Sunday, we made our way to Oshiwara where he stays for a culinary treat as well a brief history of the Pathare Prabhu Clan. We were welcomed by his wife Manju, we could see the table was already set, and could get the aromas right till the lift outside. Soumitra our Chef is a graduate from a Hotel Management school but due to circumstances could not pursue his dream in the industry. However, even after entering the Finance field and doing pretty well at it, he does miss cooking and through MealTango he’s living the dream.

Kolambi
Kolambi Khadkhadle
Our warm hosts, had left a few dishes to be cooked, once we arrived. But before that, he gave us a brief history about the clan, showed us their ancient family cook book which were almost 100 years old, passed down through generations.. Using a  metric system which was no longer followed. He also mentioned as to how the people of the Pathare Prabhu clan were great thinkers, educated professionals and were also the first to to abolish Sati and allow widow re-marriage. After this brief discussion we made our way to the kitchen where Soumitra and his wife were finishing off a few dishes which they had kept aside for us. We on the other hand were given a really tasty drink/ sherbet while a prawn dish, a Bombil dish and a ghol fish dish was being prepped. When Soumitra was cooking, we couldn’t help but notice him using this really fragrant spice mix, and on asking him he told us that this was thier “Sambhar Masala” Powder, very similar to a garam masala, and they use it in almost every dish. The powder, some prefer it light brown, but Soumitras’ was dark brown had a hint of hing, whole garam masalas and about 25 to 30 more ingredients.

 

The Menu:

So now coming to the meal as a whole, there was the following:
1. कोलंबी खड्खडले – A red garlic masala prawns (kolambi khadkhadle)
2. कोलंबी गोडे आटले – A sweet brown prawn curry  (kolambi gode aatle)
3. बोंबील मेथकुटाचे – Bombils in achaar masala (bombil methkutache)
4. काट्याचे भूजणे – The Ghol fish spine in onion masala, stewed with onions and chillies (kaatyache bhuzne)
5. मटण गोडे – The red mutton and potato stew (Mutton gode)
6. करंदीचे लोणचे – Shrimp pickle (karandiche lonche)
7. तळलेले घोळीचे – Pan Fried Fish (Tarlele Ghodhiche)

 

The Meaty Affair:

Soft, warm pao and Boiled rice was there for accompaniments, with a curd and onion salad and cucumber peanut salad. The recipe for the Sweet Brown Prawn Curry (Kolambi Gode aatle) is mentioned below, this was the Chefs favourite dish. They were all freaking great, but this one took the cake for him. Sweet because of the caramelized onions, and smooth because of the fresh coconut milk. The gravy did also use prawn heads which gave it great depth of flavour. The Kolambi Khadkhadle (Red Garlic Prawn) was like a quick stir fry of the fresh prawns in oil, garlic chopped, red chili powder and the really flavourful “Sambhar Masala.” Finished off with some salt and water, this dish was the Foodie’s favourite.
PicsArt_1417075922935
Kaatyache Bhuzne
The fish dishes had the same spice mix in them, but tasted so different all because of cooking methods and the type of fish used. First was the Kaatyache Bhuzne which is the spine of the Ghol fish and the little meat that was attached to it, all was stewed in this lovely gravy. The gravy consisted of chopped onions(Although he said to use sliced), chopped chilies, ginger and garlic paste, chopped coriander and the spice powders of turmeric, chili powder, salt which was all emulsified with oil and nicely mashed using Mr. Soumitra fingers. The spine of the fish was added to this rough paste with little water and then it was put n the gas to stew. The Bombil (Methkutache) also has a similar method except it used a lot of Achaar masala (dry powder) and chopped garlic. The last of the fish dishes was fillets of Ghol fish which were marinated with the Sambhar Masala and coated with rice flour and rawa. Fried nice and crisp on a ‘tawa.’
PicsArt_1417075704761
Tarlele Ghodhiche
Now when we spoke to Soumitra before the meal, he told us how they preferred mutton over chicken for all preps. The percentage of Non Vegetarian to Vegetarian food is 90% meat and fish and 10% consumed is vegetables and fruits in their diet —  In our hearts, we wanted to become Pathare Prabhus then and there! He also told us, since they were the earliest settlers of Maharashtra, their cooking was influenced a lot by the English style of cooking case in point the Mutton dish. The Mutton Gode dish which is essentially a stew, on that day was the only non seafood item on the table. It had a simple method of cooking and a sinful flavour when it came to taste. All it had was onions that were caramelized, Sambhar Masala, Red Chili powder and potatoes, a very close cousin of the Irish and English stew, but one that they would never be able to eat.

 

To all our readers it may seem to be  a very heavy and spicy affair all these dishes put together by the foodie couple, but in fact, it wasn’t. We ate a lot of food and it wasn’t heavy nor did it burn our guts, the spice was so nicely masked with the use of caramelized onions or coconut milk that we couldn’t stop eating!!!!!! The pao and steam rice, absorbed and held all the sauces/ gravies and also lent its own texture to the dishes. We had to sit and wait for at least 20 minutes for the food to digest such that we could have our dessert. Soumitra told us their clan does have desserts similar to the Pooran Poli, but that day decided to stick to a simple yet yummy Lemon souffle. Though it wasn’t set enough, it was light, with crumbs of biscuit in the center and lemon rind which contributed to the zing of the dish.

The Seafood Thaali
The Seafood Thaali

And Finally:

At the end of it all, this was an entire experience that was given to us by Soumitra and his wife Manju and the team behind MealTango.com. We agree that in this ever changing world of pubs and fast food, we need to have these kind of meals and meet these kind of people to understand that there is so much more to food and culture. Enough words cannot describe this event but, we hope that through this little write up, people do go and check out this experience. They have a lot more experiences lined up on their website do check them out. This is a great idea and more power to home cooks and home chefs!!!

Food: 5

Decor: 5
Value for money: 4

 

(This meal was sponsored by Mealtango.com but honest views have been given by the reviewers. Inclusive of all taxes this meal for two was for ₹ 2575)

 

Do it yourself:

This is just for all you foodie enthusiasts, Mr Soumitra was kind enough to share the recipe of this really tasty Kolambi (Prawn) Gode Aatle. Its tasty as hell and can be eaten with Rice or Bread/Pao.

 

Grated fresh coconut- 1 cup
Parbhi Sambhar powder – 1.5 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Prawns – 12 nos
Prawn heads – 2 nos
Tamarind pulp – 2 tbsp
Besan – 2 tbsp
Cloves – 2 nos
Cinnamon – 0.5″ stick
Oil – 1.5 tsp
Hing – 1 pinch
Onions 2 medium

Heat oil, add a pinch of Hing, splutter, add cloves and cinnamon, splutter, add chopped onions and cook on a slow flame with a pinch of salt till brown. The grated coconut to be used for coconut milk- 1 cup water to get thick extract and 2.5 cups water after squeezing out the thick extract for thin.

Add besan, tamarind pulp, prawn heads and dry masala to the browned onions. Cook for a minute and add the thin extract. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 mins. Strain after simmering and put back on the flame… Now cool on a very slow flame without covering. Add prawns and season with salt and sugar. Add the thick extract and mix. Allow it to mix well while on flame but do not let it come to a boil (it’ll split). Take off the flame after a minute or two. And there you haveit — Authentic Kolambi Gode Aatle.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s