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Monday, February 17, 2020

This Sunday, eat the food of Mumbai’s earliest settlers

Eating at a Pathare Prabhu food pop-up seems like just the thing to do on Sunday afternoon.

By: Team Express FoodIE | Mumbai | Published: April 30, 2016 12:02:05 pm
Kolumbi Cha Loncha (Prawn Pickle). Kolumbi Cha Loncha (Prawn Pickle).

We quite like Mumbai-based food discovery platform Authenticook. Launched late last year by bunch of friends — bankers Ameya Deshpande and Priyanka Deshpande, advertising professional Sai Ghatpande and consultant Aneesh Dhairyawan — Authenticook’s dining experiences have always piqued our interest. Who wouldn’t want to sample Mangalorean Goud Saraswat Brahmin food, or Maharashtrian Brahmani Jevan, or explore the Lost Recipes of Kannauj?

“Authenticook focuses on promoting authentic regional cuisines made by talented home-chefs empanelled with us. Our pop-ups are mostly held at the homes of the home-chefs, where diners can enjoy the meal and learn about the customs and traditions of the family,” says Priyanka Deshpande.

Sarangya Cha Bhujna. Sarangya Cha Bhujna.

The platform’s latest dining experience is focused on the food of the Pathare Prabhus, who are believed to be among Mumbai’s oldest residents. Who are the Pathare Prabhus? There are different theories about how the Prabhus came to settle in Mumbai, sometime in the 13th century. Some like V Bhanu believe, they migrated from Gujarat. “The Pathare Prabhu are one of the original settlers of Bombay City who perhaps migrated from Saurashtra and Gujarat and settled at Mahim in Greater Bombay,” writes Bhanu in his People of Maharashtra. As pertinently, for those interested in the cuisine of the Prabhus, he goes on to add that the people are non-vegetarian, and eat fish, chicken and mutton. In an interview to burrp.com, chef Bimba Nayak, a Pathare Prabhu herself, says that, “We’ve always adopted and adapted. So you’ll find strong influences of Gujarati and Marwari cuisine in our food because we came from that region. Even the British influenced the way we cooked, so some of our dishes are baked and are similar to British pies.”

A Pathare Prabhu meal. A Pathare Prabhu meal.

It is this food that Geeta Dhairyawan will be cooking this Sunday.

“We are small group of people. I don’t think there are too many of us left. The hallmark of our cuisine is its simplicity. We use very few ingredients — chilli powder, garlic, coriander — but with just these, we make a variety of dishes. And we don’t use coconut as much as other Maharashtrian communities in the city do, especially those from the coast” says Dhairyawan.

The menu this Sunday will feature dishes such as Kolumbi cha Lonche (a tangy prawn pickle), Kolumbi cha Kaalvan (green curry preparation of prawns, coconut milk, coriander, green chillies), and the hard to find Pathare Prabhu delicacy Gholicha Bhujna, a spicy Ghol (Jew) fish red curry among others.

The Pathare Prabhu pop-up will be held in Versova, in Andheri, Mumbai. The meal is priced at Rs 999 per diner. Call Ameya at 98332 83656, or write to ameya@authenticook.com.

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