6 Konkani Muslim Delicacies To Savour This Festive Season

Among the underrated, almost niche sub-cuisines that exist in India, the food of the Konkani Muslims is perhaps one that is least talked about. While most cooking techniques and dishes that are a crucial part of the Muslim communities that inhabit our country stem from the Mughal influence on India, little is known about how fleeing traders from Iraq settled along the coastline of Thane, Raigad, Sindhudurg, Goa and Ratnagiri gave rise to a unique food culture that drew inspiration from its native and adopted roots.

As these traders established their foundations in India, mercantile routes continued to flourish with the Arabs – who were known to make pit-stops on Malabari shores as well as the coasts of Tamil Nadu and the Konkan region. While rice, fish and coconuts continued to reign as staples for the locals, the heritage of Arabian cuisine was brought on by those who decided to stay back and settle on the land. Dry coconut or khopra – became an integral aspect of sweet and savoury preparations, and so did cream, saffron and dry fruits. This amalgamation of Maharashtrian, Konkani, Arab and Mughlai elements is what shapes the framework of Konkani Muslim cuisine as it is known today.

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Mutton Goriso

A slow-cooked mutton stew – a la Mughali korma – the goriso is a mildly spiced curry which is simmered until the fat from the bones float on top to form a layer. Flavoured with dried coconut and spices, the goriso is typically paired with bhakri or roti; however, it is said to be especially delicious when offset with a sweet, steamed rice cake-like delicacy known as the sadani. Unlike most Maharashtrian meat curries which have a fiery flavour profile from the get-go, the spice levels of the goriso can be adjusted according to one’s liking.

Dum Cha Mhavara

What is an excellent example of a fusion of Arab and Konkani cultures – the dum cha mhavara – or stuffed, baked fish is testament to the application of what is essentially a Mughal technique of slow-cooking. With complex flavours from the spices and smoke from the dum, sturdy fish varieties are typically opted for during preparation. Paired best when eaten with rice, this delicacy showcases the best of both worlds effortlessly.

Kavatacho Bojar

Image Credits: Sailu's Food

While most Indian and global cuisines are known to stuff minced meat or vegetables with boiled eggs, the kavatacho bojar flips the concept on its head. A dish where tangy curried chutney is stuffed into a sliced boiled egg, before it is simmered in a robustly flavoursome gravy, what balances the spice is the caramelised onions that are used to form the base of the thick sauce in which the eggs are tossed.


In a traditional Konkani Muslim meal, the khatoni finds a special spot and reputation for being a palate cleansing drink. Made with the residual cooking liquid of black-eyed peas, the khatoni is flavoured with the classic coastal flavours of kokum and a handful of spices. Consumed warm, the khatoni has an opaque appearance with a mild brown tinge from cooking the beans, as well as an underlying nuttiness from cooking the pulses.

China Grass

Although the name can throw one off at first, China grass pudding is a commonly relished delicacy during Ramadan in Konkani Muslim as well as South Indian homes across India. A reference to the plant-based thickening agent that is commonly known as agar-agar, China grass is a wobbly, creamy dessert made with coconut milk, sugar and cardamom. Its jelly-like texture, derived from the agar-agar or China grass, is what gives the pudding its odd and unusual name. Enjoyed as part of an iftar spread, the thickener is also consumed during the hot months for its natural cooling properties.

Shakkar Pulao

An unusual rice preparation of fragrant grains cooked with jaggery, raisins and roasted peanuts, the shakkar pulao is a delicacy that pairs well with the spicy curries and stews which are traditional to Konkani kitchens. Considered to be a part of the main course of any festive meal, the pulao is also eaten with a spicy lal mirchyachi chutney which offers a burst of sweet and spicy flavours. What makes the shakkar pulao different from a traditional zarda is the use of peanuts and the inclusion of jaggery in the tradtional way of preparation.