As you read this, Shubhra Shankhwalker is on her way to Bengaluru, her bags filled with fresh fish, and vegetables such as skinny gourds, local karelas, hog plum, breadfruit, and local rice. “I am particular about where the ingredients are sourced from, how fresh they are, and their flavour,” says the home cook, all set for her pop-up in the city this week.
On a mission to popularise the cuisine from the Gaud Saraswat community she belongs to, Shubhra believes Goan cuisine is often misrepresented in today’s world, which is what she aims to change at the event. While this is the first time she will be hosting meals outside her home state, she has been curating sit-down meals at her farm in Camurlim, North Goa since 2017. “I base these on the concept of how our grandmothers used to cook — shop for fresh produce in the morning and cook them by afternoon. There’s no set menu and I cook based on season, and catch of the day,” says the 41-year-old.
To prep for the event, she was at the Miramar beach at 5am yesterday to get her hands on fresh mackerel and kingfish that she has frozen to bring along. “In other states, mackerels are bigger in size and I’m unsure of the source, which is why I decided to bring fish from Goa,” says Shubhra, who is also getting dried kokum, dried jackfruit seeds, sea salt, pickles like the sweet hog plum pickle, garam masala, and papad.
The four-course menu (non vegetarian and vegetarian versions are available) features dishes such as a chopped pineapple karam with a mustard chutney; karatyache raite, a bitter gourd raita with peanuts; visvanache hooman, a kingfish curry; aluchi bhaji with colocasia leaves, jackfruit seeds and coconut masala; barille bangde, a stuffed mackerel dish; shirvyo, a dessert with rice noodles and sweetened coconut milk.
Shubhra admits not knowing how to cook when she got married. “I did not even know how to clean prawns. Once, my husband got live prawns and I put them in water, waiting for them to die! I was that ignorant. When I made my first potato bhaji, even the crows refused it,” laughs Shubhra.
At the pop-up, all dishes are based on traditional recipes the home cook has learned from her late mother-in-law. “She would pick up the freshest fish for lunch, and I’m trying to make the food as close as to what I would have given you in Goa,” concludes Shubhra.
On September 8 for dinner and September 9 for lunch and dinner. ₹3,600 per person. @conservatory.blr on Instagram for tickets.