Food

This Goan restaurant cooks with Indian heritage ingredients

Through a workshop in Tamil Nadu, Edible Archives founders demonstrate the food philosophy they live and breathe in Goa

About 50 metres from Swami Dayananda Saraswati’s ancestral home in Tamil Nadu’s Manjakkudi, in the foyer of a beautiful home that also plays host to his Memorial, Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar and Shalini Krishan of the Edible Archives rustled up a simple, flavourful dish called radish and rice. They also traced the birth of their brand, Edible Archives, and the values with which they intend to raise their baby.

Radish and rice was a marriage of equals; it placed prominence on the vegetable and allowed the rice — Bengal’s gobindo bhog, sourced from their farm in Manjakkudi — to layer it with crunch, taste and texture. Ginger, green chillies and cumin paste lent it a freshness of flavour and a hint of spice.

This Goan restaurant cooks with Indian heritage ingredients

The thing about Edible Archives is that it is neither about fusion in cuisine nor experiments for the sake of it. It is a story of creating and nurturing a collective food consciousness — of sorts. By becoming aware of every small thing that you eat, you, in a sense, become a bit more aware of your own self.

The heart of Edible Archives is a month-and-a-half-old restaurant — currently a 36-seater — housed in the cusp of Assagao and Anjuna in North Goa. Located strategically in the courtyard of a large old Portuguese home, it celebrates all things indigenous.

This Goan restaurant cooks with Indian heritage ingredients

Anumitra, who holds a doctorate in Cognitive Linguistics, grew up in a rice-eating household. But it was during her stint with chefs from around the globe that she discovered how passionate and particular they are about ingredients. “The idea to pursue a project like Edible Archives also stemmed from my own interest to look at the diversity we had in India, to draw upon memories to create food that was locally sourced and seasonal, and to make it in a way that was lived in memory rather than in what is written.”

Shalini worked as an editor at leading publishing houses before deciding that to actually appreciate something in its entirety, you have to live the process. She says people need to be educated on the premise of “ingredient-driven” restaurants.

This Goan restaurant cooks with Indian heritage ingredients

At Edible Archives, there is a seasonal menu — currently a winter menu until the sun blooms in March — and a couple of dishes that change every three days or so.

Amongst the most sought-after is the Edible Archive bowl, an innovative showcase of creativity and abstraction. The day Shalini and Anumitra left, the bowl comprised thavala kannan rice (a rustic, red rice from Kerala), beetroot stir-fried in Sri Lankan style, a koftaof mustard greens, raw banana and sweet potato, a begun (brinjal) bhaja for the vegetarians and a sardine fry for those who love their seafood, with a spicy pickle made of carrot and raw papaya for the zing.

This Goan restaurant cooks with Indian heritage ingredients

Sourcing ingredients directly from farmers across the country and spending time with them, has allowed for food creation to become a real, participative experience that is cultural, anthropological and sociological. One laden with seasonal flavours and coated with memories aplenty.

Says Shalini, “I talk to them, and steer them to try different types of rice they are perhaps not familiar with, in the hope that they engage with diversity and inherit lived memories.”

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 12:12:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/this-goa-restaurant-cooks-with-indian-heritage-ingredients/article30640955.ece

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