Soul Cocina

Eco Chef Roger Feely

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Cashew Harvest in Sindhudurg



SOUL COCINA MOTION PICTURE Cashew Harvest in Mutt

I was lucky to visit Mutt in Sindudurg, Maharashtra (home of Malvani Cuisine) with Sachen, one of the students from ACE during cashew season last year. The cashew fruit is a great treat when it is ripe. You can't eat too much though because they make your mouth tingle and sting a little. There are many theories about cutting one end or the other first, or just adding salt to the fruit to take away the sneaky astringency, but I didn't find it to make much of a difference. A small price to pay for such a treat.

Where the real damage comes is from the shell of the nut. When you break the shell it lets off a bitter juice that can burn your finger... or as I found out the hard way, your mouth and tongue. There are people in the village who specialize in opening the shells of cashews. They grow their fingernails specifically for the annual process, and it leaves the fingers stained for weeks. You can see in the video above how hard it is to open a single nut.
The young greener nuts are soft and vegetablelike, almost like a fresh pea or bean. But if picked too young, the nut is bitter. These young green cashews would make a great salad. But it is the fully matured ripe nut that is highly prized. As soon as the fruit is harvested the nut is seperated from the fruit by hand and the fruit is sold to makers of Feni, while the nut is taken back to the village to be opened by hand. Everyone knows the going rate for cashews and mangoes in Sindhudurg.
Seperating the fruit from the nut is a family affair.
Tune: Family Affair by Doctor L and Antibalas from Mind Records 2006 7"


Sachen cuts the cashew fruit for an afternoon snack in the shade.
Cashew nuts, attached to the fruit at a market in Goa


Next to the cashew orchard, which has hundreds of trees, is a mango orchard just as vast. I was visiting just a month too early for mango season. These are the trees of the mighty Alphonso mango.

Tune: Wylin Out (Kutmaster Kurt Remix) by the Mighty Mos Def and Chitown's Diverse from the BBC 12" EP vol 2 from Bobby Friction and Nihal

Tune: Botallan Sharab Diyan by Bally Sagoo also from the BBC 12" EP vol 2 from Bobby Friction and Nihal

Here is a view of the well behind Sachen's family's home seen through a mango tree.

Talking a break from the heat, a cup of water from the well can't be beat.

Tune: Water No Get Enemy by Fela Kuti from the LP Expensive Shit

Tune: I Thirst by Dillinger from the album Cup of Tea

Exclusive Mix: Estoy Seco After 12:12AM Thirsty MIX in the Soul Cocina
This mix starts off with Estoy Seco by Conjunto Los Bucucos off the Salson LP then moves on to more salsa dura with La Reina Celia Cruz backed by La Sonora Poncena from the Lp La Ceiba released in 1979, the year of Chicago's great blizzard. Then the mix moves on to two modern cuts, the first is Mi Swing es Tropical by Nicodemus and Quantic then onto a song called Julieta by Oreja remixed by Seiji from Bugz in the Attic on a Candela label 12". From here we move on to the big song Magalehna by Sergio Mendes from the Brasileiro LP as the triangle takes us to the opening triangle from Willie Colon's Ghana E from the Gran Fuga LP. Then we drop a fun 7" from the glorious year of 1975. This '75 gem is a cover of Fela's Shakalao by Lizandro Meza y Su Conjunto from Colombia. The African vibe gets stronger and stronger as we cross the Atlantic to Ghana for a song from the Hedzoleh Soundz LP produced by the mighty Hugh Masakela. Then Back to Brasil for some beats from Marcelo D2's instrumental LP of A Procura Da Batida Perfeita. Next up- More beats with flavor.. this time from Spain with a little vibraphone action for all the newborns from Zeta, off of the 1999 LP Guateque. next a tune from Orishas Emigrante LP before we move into Mala Rodriguez chatting on Jota mayuscula's LP Hombre Negro Soltero Busca. Then we step into some heavy duty old school hipi hopi from Brasil by Filosofia de Rua and Duck Jam with nacao Hip Hop. The mix ends nicely with a tune from the Nia LP by Blackalicious
There are also jackfruit trees in Mutt.Jackfruit for sale in Mumbai above, and below in a market in Goa


They got chiku too!
Bells on the road back to Goa

Tune: Road to Goa from Vijay Raghav Rao's LP Festival Time
This song is typically Goan. It has that friendly childlike sound that I associate with a lot of Goan music. Similar to the instrumentation that backs Lorna or the music of Alfred Rose.


But pt Vijay Raghav Rao's music on Festival Time is not all so soft and simple.
Check out this tune from the record:
Tune: Sarod Dhun also from Vijay Raghav Rao's LP Festival Time

Thanksgiving Pie Tart


Instead of baking a pumpkin pie, sometimes I'll bake sweet potato pie in the fall. This tradition comes from my time in South Carolina. But while at Citizen Cake I designed my own fall favorite. It's not a pie but a tart, but it feels like a pie! I revisited this favorite again this year.
Pomegranate and Persimmon Pie
vanilla scented hachiya persimmon custard topped with fuyu persimmon slices, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate gelee in a brown butter-vanilla tart shell
I made this pie tart tonight for tomorow's Thanksgiving feast with the H.O.G. posse. I am also making something else. The "something else" ingredients are pictured on the left and they will be in the oven on low heat overnight (except for the apple in the bowl with the limes, that's my midnight snack.) And I will add tomatoes and cilantro tomorrow. What's This? ... or rather, what will this become? I'll post the final picture after Thanksgiving.
I give thanks to all the musicians and DJs who have contributed food themed music to Soul Cocina for the Beatwalla Vs. Hunger Mix. I plan to put it together in early 2008 and I am still requesting music with a food theme at Musica@soulcocina.com to build up the library before I begin. Special thanks so far for participation from Wayne and Wax, Terrakota, DJ Gaetan Fabri, El Chavo, DJ C, Slim Rimografia, The Singleman Affair, and DJ Franko from Discos Unicornio

My food mix is in the works. While you wait, check out my favorite mix of all time over at Fufu Stew. It is a Thanksgiving mix dedicated to turkeys, soul food, grits, chitt'lins, corn bread, and all things funky! It is the fufu stew mix number 8 and it is not to be missed. Get it while it's hot and play this mix on Thanksgiving for your family and friends. I know I will.

Tune: Life's Pie by Don Will, Fresh Daily and Finale with Beats by the mighty Oddisee. The 101 Mixtape by Oddisee is the best Hip Hop has to offer in 2007

Tune: Shoo fly Pie by Dinah Shore
Dinah also put out a few cookbooks.

Tune: The Thanks I Get for Loving You by Candi Stanton

Tune: Give Thanks and Praises by Bob Marley

Tune: Give Thanks by Lee Dada and produced by Echo Sound System

Tune: Thank Ya by Jean Grea from Attack Of The Attacking Things.

buy music and books from today's featured artists here.

Mapusa Market

The Friday market in Mapusa is the best market I have found in Goa. The Panjim Market is great for everyday shopping, but the Mapusa market has everything the Panjim market has and more. The market also caters to farmers with agricultural products like seeds and farm tools. There is lots of dried fish, dried shrimp, makarel, and Bombay duck (bombil or bummalo). The first time I tried Bombay duck was when Major Marfatia took us to a Parsi restaurant last year in Mumbai called Britanias. Ever since then, Bombay duck has been my favorite lizardfish. You can also find fresh Bombay duck at the Mapusa market, as well as pomfret, rockfish, kingfish, clams, and lots of other fresh and dried seafood.
The long thin dried fish on the left is Bombay duck
Tune: Bombay duck by The Ventures

Mapusa comes from the Konkani words maap, meaning "measurement", and sa, meaning "to fill". The market dates back to as early as 1850. There are some curious antique shoppes near the market. I saw some old gramaphones for sale so I started my hunt for old Konkani and Hindi records. There was one shopkeeper that kept some old records in a pile on the ground under an antique cabinet. They were Portuguese and Hindi records that seemed interesting (some Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar 78's) but they were all scratched and cracked. The Indian climate really takes its toll on old records. Although I didn't score any film scores on vinyl in Mapusa, I did get some great tracks back at home in Dona Paula. Instead of the old fashioned way, these songs came to me via bluetooth from a friend's cell phone to my laptop. Cell phones are used in India even more than in the US, if you can believe that. SMS (text message) is one of the most common forms of communication in India. So here are some Hindi film classics that were bluetoothed to my computer.

Tune: Khoya Khoya Chaand by Mohammed Rafi

Tune: Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si by Kishore Kumar

The best bread in Goa is baked the old fashioned way. Without any preservatives or dough conditioners. Artisian pao is everywhere in Goa and is prefered to the commercially packaged bread. There are many pao bakeries scattered across Goa and guys ride around on bicycles with big baskets selling poa door to door and on the street. There are a few bakeries that bring their fresh baked goods to the Mapusa market.

More dried fish.
Kokum and tamarind (two ingredients in Ambot Tik.

Avacados in India are much larger than the hass avacados we eat in California. They are even bigger than the Florida avacados. Quiet frankly I have never tasted an avacado in India (yet) that was nearly as good as any avacado I have tried in US or Mexico. This guy said these avacados came from Tamil Nadu.

here is some Konkani music from the 1960's and 70's

Tune: Cathrina by Helen D'Cruz and Henry D'Soaza

Tune: Corun Cantaram by Lorna

Tune: Sezari by Helen D'Cruz and Henry D'Soaza

Tune: sorga Rajeant also by Lorna

Tune: Swapan Go Fantyechem by Hemant kumar and Helen D'Cruz

Tune: Taxiwala by Jerome Desouza and chorus

Tune: Yeo Baile Yeo also by Lorna

Tune: Nach maga nach by Jerome Desouza and Lourdes Colaco
Tune: Love Mi Hafi Get (Nannygoat) by Cutty Rands and Beres Hammond
The easygoan lifestyle reminds me of the caribbean. Goat is used in many Indian kitchens, and it is often served on festive occassions. After slavery was abolished in Jamaica in the 1830's Indian and Chinese workers were brought to the island to work the sugar cane fields under the indentured labor system. The India laborers brought the recipe for goat curry to Jamaica where it is now a popular festive dish, they also brought ganja and dreadlocks.
Tune: Dreadlocks inna tenament by Jacob Miller
You can see young Jacob Miller sing this song in the film The Rockers You can also see him pull a knife on a guy over a chicken leg in the film. If it was Goan chicken cafreal, I would have done the same thing.