The sun shining down my back, and a growling stomach courtesy the breakfast I’d skipped could not deter the excitement I had building up within me.
The reason – I was off to try an authentic, home cooked, Pathare Prabhu fish meal, a cuisine I knew very little about. The venue – the host’s Versova home, where a balcony overlooking Versova beach created the perfect setting for the sea creatures we were about to feast on. The host – the warm, home chef Geeta Dhairyawan who passionately and lovingly fed us that entire afternoon.
The AuthentiCook concept provides many budding home chefs such as Geeta aunty, an opportunity to showcase their culinary talent to diners in the comfort of their home. Here you get to try regional Indian cuisines that you’d never find in a restaurant – a Manglorean GSB meal, a Keralite Sadhya, or a Pahaadi meal with ingredients sourced from Uttaranchal! Now the AuthentiCook concept may have been done previously in the past – both successfully and unsuccessfully. But what works strongly in their favour is their moderate price point, and variety of regional cuisines on offer.
While we waited for our meal to arrive, we learnt that the Pathare Prabhu’s are amongst the original inhabitants of ‘Bombay’, having come from Gujarat. Pathare Prabhu cuisine may be lesser know amongst the other coastal fare of Malwan and Konkan, but is equally delicious. The use of minimal ingredients, fast cooking time, and simple techniques ensures that the core ingredient remains the star in the meal – in this case it’s the fish!
We started off our ‘thaal’ with a perfectly fried, yet not too oily ‘Rawas Fry‘ drizzled with a slice of lime. Next up, was the Pathare Prabhu trademark ‘Paplet cha Bhujna‘ where a pomfret sliver came swimming in a spicy, red gravy to be polished off with rice. The original, desi green curry – ‘Kolumbi cha Kaalvan‘ tasted like an amalgamation of green chutney and cocnut milk with large prawns dunked within. My favourite of the meal was the spicy and tangy ‘Kolumbi cha Lonche‘ or prawn pickle – hard to believe this was made without any vinegar. We washed all of this down with ‘Kokum Sarbat‘ and the traditional ‘Sol Kadi‘.
I have voiced my love for home dining experiences and pop-ups repeatedly. I love dining with strangers who enjoy their food, and are so passionate about eating that they’d traverse the city to dine in at a stranger’s home. I enjoy trying cuisines and dishes, because food has the ability to make you travel without budging an inch from your seat. I love it when a home chef feeds me, they deserve all the recognition and praise they can get.
Our Pathare Prabhu fish meal was priced at Rs. 899/- for unlimited servings, which I thought was a steal considering the menu was fish-laden. And that you could seriously over-eat without feeling heavy or queasy post your meal. I’m going to end this post with the wise words that the home chef Geeta Dhairyawan jokingly said that afternoon – ‘Fish isn’t non-vegetarian. Fish are sea crops after all.’ The Parsi in me was mighty amused!
Upcoming events include a Pahadi Food experience and a Manglorean GSB meal on the 6th of February.