Rissois at the Michael Swami Rosette pop-up | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
“The Portuguese traveled along the coast of India from the Basin in Maharashtra to Calcutta in Bengal and settled in various parts On th eway. Some even married into Indian families and as a result, a unique Indo-Portuguese cuisine came into existence,” says Chef Swami, who recently brought to the fore the Portuguese contribution to Indian cuisine.
From cheese making to staples like potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and even bread, much of our current food can be attributed to the Portuguese. Yet we know very little about their versatile diet. Similarly, the contribution of the Anglo-Indian community to the Indian culinary repertoire includes their unique adaptation of local ingredients and spices, such as the popular bottle masala.
Bandra Style Grilled Lamb Chops with Bottle Masala at Michael Swamy Rosette Pop-up | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
At a recent pop-up event, Swami combined the cuisines of the two communities. He chose two dishes from the Anglo-Indian community – curry lamb and English trifle – that have become synonymous with Indian food over the years, and introduced a variety of dishes that are popular in his restaurants in Pune, Delhi and Mumbai. ,
The à la carte menu included appetizers, mains, and desserts, as well as the communities’ signature bread and rice dishes. Small plates included dishes such as Bhujingflattened rice and chicken are made by wrapping it in leaves and roasting it over coals; Veg and Shrimp resolvesFried patties stuffed with spicy stuffing, and prawns in coastal green spice and smoke cooked in tandoor.
Lamb Curry Dal at Michael Swamy Rosette Pop-up | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
Under the main course, the dishes of choice were Lonvas (the popular Anglo-Indian bottle spice, made with coconut milk and stalks), Vegetarian and Fish ChinchoniA dish that is sour, and made with kokum and local spices like clove, cinnamon, turmeric; Curried lamb in lentil sauce Served with pasta. Red Rice Creme Brulee And a english trifle Wrapped sweets.
Looking at the treatment of dishes — the Bhujing, For example, there were roasts in the tandoor – one wonders whether these are traditional dishes or their take on the classics. Turns out, traditionally they are made using poha and spices, which are grilled over coals in a banana leaf. “It was a mill worker’s meal made early in the morning before the workers left for work in Mumbai’s Vasai area. This dish is a local street food dish that is eaten even today,” Swami Sharas explained how meat is still cooked over a jute-wrapped coal fire in regions of Goa and Gujarat.
Cheese Mousse Masala at Michael Swamy Rosette Pop-up | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
The bottle masala used in lamb curry is a mixture of 28 to 32 spices and is made by Anglo-Indians only in the summer months. “The spice would be kept in colored glass bottles and sealed with cloth and wax to be used throughout the year. At the pop-up event, the spice was used in three dishes to showcase its versatility,” he says.
Himalayan Trout Chinchoni at Michael Swami Rosette Pop-up | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement