The Saras Mela is on in Bandra Reclamation. It’s a local exhibition of Maharashtra where people from all over the state put up stalls of food and artifacts. On sale are many Konkani and local spices and handicrafts. I went there looking for kokam butter (vegan vegetable butter) and kakavi (liquid palm sugar) but unfortunately both got over by the day I visited the mela. However I did manage to get hold of some spice mixes, mint powder, dried coriander and kokam powder. Also I ate a hearty meal of the famous maharashtrian dish thalipeeth.
Kokam is a beautiful violet colored fruit which in dried form is used in almost all Konkani dishes. It gives a sour flavor to dishes. My favourite dish using kokam is sol kadhi. Usually kadhi is made from butter milk (dairy). Kadhi can be made from any vegan yoghurt too. However sol kadhi is made from coconut milk and hence is vegan! Its simple to prepare and requires no cooking and hence its raw too!
I had to put my kokam powder to good use so I made it immediately. Now one can buy coconut milk in tetrapak but this tastes best with fresh milk. The easiest way to make coconut milk is to drink coconut water which is easily available all over the city and then ask the vendor to scrape the cream inside and carry it home in a packet. Now grind this in a mixieand add kokam powder, salt, ginger chilli paste and garnish with fresh coriander leaves and here it is – the refreshing sol kadhi. Sometimes I even carry it for long hot journey to work.