Given that Indian cuisine differs from place to region, west Indian cuisine maintains the traditions and cooking methods of India while also showcasing a wide variety of dishes and spices. And speaking of the western ghats, some of India’s best cuisine can be found in the Konkan region there. Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Goa’s customs and cultures have the biggest influences on Konkani cuisine. Chef Roopa Nabar is here with us today to present a variety of traditional Konkani dishes that are spicily delicious.

1. Bangda With Tirphal (Baked Spicy Mackerels)

Every place has a few native ingredients that give a sense of pride to the people and a unique taste to their culinary preparations. In the Konkan region, it is Triphal, a spice which for lack of a better example, is quite close to Sichuan peppercorns – almost like a coastal, earthier version of them. The fresh green Triphal is dried till black and used to flavour many dishes, especially oily Omega 3 rich fish preparations like sardines and mackerel. The flavour profile of Triphal is very unique and in this recipe, turmeric leaves add a nice aroma and flavour that complement the Tirphal rather than overpowering it.

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes

Serves: 4


4 whole mackerels (bangda), cleaned

20 tirphal, soaked in 1/4 cup water

Salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

3/4 cup grated fresh coconut

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

6 dried red chillies

2 fresh turmeric leaves, halved

10-12 kokum petals

2 tablespoons coconut oil


Make slits on the surface of the mackerels. Apply the salt, turmeric, and red chilli powder and keep aside.

Preheat the oven at 200°C.

Grind together coconut, coriander seeds and dried chillies along with some two tablespoons of water to a fine and thick paste.

Apply the paste to the mackerels, add the tirphals and kokum petals and wrap them individually in turmeric leaves along with the mixture. 

Drizzle with coconut oil and arrange them in a baking dish.

Bake the mackerels for ten to fifteen minutes.


Pro Tip: This preparation is locally called as ‘Bangda Dhodak’ where this fish is roasted in the clay oven.

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2. Kaju Vatana Gole (Green Peas and Tender Cashew Nut Stir Fry)

Green peas are not a very common sight on the west coast and Kaju Vatana Gole is one of the few recipes it is used in. Usually made during weddings and other occasions to give guests from other parts of the country something familiar to chow down on amongst all the traditional local fare. What brings this dish close to home is the addition of tender cashew nuts, which are native to the Goan belt. The cashew nut under the bright orange fruit is enclosed in a grey shell that is cracked and peeled to reach the tender cashew kernel. You can then enjoy the fruits of your labour, quite literally. Kaju Vatana Gole has a short cooking time and subtle flavour making it ideal for a quick meal.

Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes

Serves: 4-5


1 cup peeled tender cashew nuts (kaju) 

2 cups fresh shelled green peas (vatana) 

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

A few curry leaves

3 green chillies, roughly chopped 

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder

1/2 cup grated fresh coconut

2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves


Heat the oil in a pan and let it heat up. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter.

Add the asafoetida, turmeric powder, curry leaves and green chillies and mix well.

Add the peas along with tender cashews and mix well.

Add one-fourth cup of water, cover and cook for eight to ten minutes.

Add the salt, sugar and pepper powder, mix and cook for two minutes or till peas become soft.

Serve hot garnished with coconut and coriander leaves.

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