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October 2006

Carrot Cake with Fig Jam


p>Spicer College in Kirkee, run by the Seventh Day Adventists, has always had a food department . They teach their students food technology and catering and produce a crunchy peanut butter, soya milk, a muesli, frozen corn plus several goodies from their bakery section among which are lamington cake, doughnuts, date cake, brownies and carrot cake. In twenty years they have not varied their products and they are uniformly good, produced in small quantities and always sold out by the end of the day.
Since they are so reasonably priced with no frills whatsoever I always pick up something if I am passing by one of their outlets. (There is one in the Wonderland shopping arcade on Main Street).


My own carrot cake recipe adapted from one in "The Joy of Cooking" is a trifle better and I wanted to bake it again when I got hold of some organic khandsari (raw cane) sugar recently. It is made with oil and might be a bit healthier with the addition of the cane sugar instead of white sugar.


1 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder

2/3 cup sunflower oil
1 cup raw cane sugar
2 eggs

1 1/2 cups grated carrot (about 8 small ones)
1/4 cup walnuts and almond bits or any other nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil 2 5" round cake tins and set aside. Grate the carrots, chop the nuts. In a mixing bowl sift all the dry ingredients together. In a seperate bowl pour in the oil, add the sugar and mix well. Beat the eggs and add to the oil and sugar mixture.When well mixed add the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up any lumps till completely incorporated into the oil mixture. Last of all stir in the walnuts and grated carrot and divide the mixture equally between the two prepared cake tins.
Bake in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes till done. Remove and cool on a wire rack. When cooled spread fig and walnut jam on the top of one cake and sandwich with the other. Decorate with slivers of carrot.

"The Joy of Cooking"
Irma Rombauer & Marion Rombauer Becker

Pomfret curry at Morjim



Morjim is one of the quieter beaches in North Goa and well worth a visit. We stayed at one of the few 'resorts ' there which consisted of some wooden shacks with attached baths open to the sky. Very nice. But the food was awful. This might have ruined the few days we had there but we were lucky to find the "Seahorse Restaurant" on the corner of the Morjim Mandrem crossroads.
Mandrem is known for the Olive Ridley turtles which nest and lay their eggs there. Hopefully this wonderful spot will not be ruined by shacks which have sprung up a little too close for comfort on the beach, several of them licenced out to a few Europeans( exceptions obviously) trying to make a quick buck by encroaching on the habitat of the very same attraction which has enabled them to earn a living in this beautiful place.


Anyhow about the "Seahorse". It is owned by the Shetgaunkars, a husband and wife team. Sujata does the cooking and Uday runs the bar, the little tandoori area and does the waiting on tables. The restaurant seats 20 people and is very popular amongst the locals which gives you an idea of the quality of the food.
The Shetgaunkars have been in the restaurant business for 15 years, having run the Residency restaurant in Margao. They then tried to start an eating place on Bogmalo beach, next to Joets, but the investment was too high, barely clearing a profit after the season's license and electricity bills were paid off. So they decided to come home and start anew in their own village. They have built a basic little place decorated with yellow mirror work lanterns and red check tablecloths complete with a TV showing Hindi soap operas, popular with the villagers who actually come for the welcome change of tandoori and chinese food which are on the menu, but don't want to miss out on their favourite programmes.


We had malai kebabs from the tandoor which were smooth as cream, and then opted for the Konkani cuisine. A pomfret curry cooked in a different way from the usual Goan style and a very nice dal fry which was out of this world with hot buttered naan.

Sujata will especially cook vegetables and fish or prawns in the Konkani style if ordered in advance. She shared the fish curry recipe with me.


  • 1 medium sized pomfret about 750 gms
  • 1/2 coconut
  • 5 flakes of garlic
  • 1" fresh ginger
  • 4 green chillies
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 large tomatoes.
  • 1/2 tsp haldi /turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp jeera / cumin powder
  • 4 red chillies
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp chopped green coriander

Chop the coconut roughly, peel garlic chop ginger and chillies. Combine all and grind into a paste in a blender. Cover the paste with 3 cups of hot water and set aside.

Slice the pomfret into thick slices. Chop the onion into fine slices. Break the red chillies into pieces and shake out the seeds. Blanch the tomatoes in hot water. Dunk in cold water and peel. Then chop into peices.

Heat the oil and fry the onions till golden brown. Add the fish slices and fry lightly for a few mintes till brown . Remove.To the same oil add the chopped , peeled tomatoes, the cumin, haldi, red chilli bits and salt. When the tomatoes have dissolved add the coconut paste and water. Cook the paste for ten minutes. Add the fish slices and cook for another 5 minutes. Add a coriander , give the curry a good stir and serve with rice.

It is a bit of a walk from the beach to the Sea Horse but well worth it.The Shevgaunkars make you feel right at home.

Oh, Oh, Oatmeal Cookies


I have been searching all the general stores around to find a source for Khandsari. No luck till yesterday. Chandan's , at the end of M.G. Road has turned out to be a great place for so many types of flours and jaggery and spices. For a number of reasons I hadn't been there for years ...parking being the main problem. Before Dorabjee's it used to be THE place for all types of provisions. Typical of all general stores then, it was crammed from floor to ceiling with hundreds and thousands of things which could hardly be seen and the staircase was a death trap, a fall off point for suicidal housewives.Then the place became too small to accomodate everything and there were a host of other hassles. Things were redesigned and the groceries came downstairs and it has become self help. Now I think it well worth the trouble to go there again. Look what I uncovered.
Raw Khandsari sugar! It is marketed by Sunil Vehele whose company is called  Mahalaxmi Trade Links. He imports the khandsari from Cuba ! Besides this he he also sells organic indigenous red and brown rice from Bhimashankar which he buys on a barter system from the adivasis /tribals there. He also stocks organic jaggery and barley from Maharashtra and wheat puffs made from organic wheat from Holland. Ok so though I do support cooking globally and eating locally grown foods, I am quite happy to find that the wheat puffs are minus the chemical crap  the stuff is usually be covered with.
The Khandsari has less calories than sugar, it is a natural sweetener and is sulphur and chemical free. I bought a couple of kilos and immediately got set to try out Elise's grandmothers recipe for Oatmeal Cookies.


By making a few changes to the original recipe, using 2 cups of khandsari sugar instead of the one cup of brown and one cup of white sugar and adding a 1/2 tsp of nutmeg and 1 and 1/2 tsps of cinnamon (instead of the tablespoon recommended, as I'm sure that must be a mistake) made them just delicious.
It took 20 minutes in my oven at 350 degrees as I gave each cookie one big heaped tablespoon of the mix and I had to use a rather thick baking sheet. The general idea is to let the cookie get slightly brown on the edges and thats enough to cook it while keeping it chewy. Elise's recipe made 36 good sized cookies which are fast diminishing.