In Goa, foraging has all the time been a part of the meals tradition — from wild greens like taikilo (cassia tora) and bamboo shoots to snails from the paddy fields. At the second, it’s the season for a preferred condiment that sprouts solely through the early days of the monsoon. Neither a fruit nor a vegetable, the ghodka or bibayo are germinated cashew nut cotyledons (the embryonic first leaves of a seedling), and are normally added to curries to offer them a nutty flavour and chunk.
I found this ingredient six years in the past, after I visited my native village of Mashem in Canacona. I’d accompany my husband’s household after they went to cashew orchards after the rains subsided to gather them. “Fallen cashew nuts that are not picked up during summer provide free food during the monsoons,” says Miguel Braganza, an agriculture professional and former secretary of the Botanical Society of Goa. Interestingly, these seedlings had been eaten even earlier than individuals found find out how to extract the nut as a result of “it didn’t require one to deal with the corrosive chemicals in the seed coat”.
Treat for a wet day
Bibayo is never the primary ingredient, however used as a complement in dishes like tonak (curried beans with coconut and spices) or simply sautéed with onions and grated coconut. Hansel Vaz of Cazulo Feni, and the person behind the state’s first Feni cellar, Beco das Garrafões, remembers consuming them uncooked as a snack throughout his childhood. However, he says harvesting them just isn’t a cheap possibility. “The worth of cashew nuts is sweet, so it turns into uneconomical to forage bibayo,” he says, explaining how harvesting them kills saplings. And in a state the place over 56,000 hectares of cashew is cultivated yearly — to feed the feni and cashew nut industries — that may be a sensitive subject.
But others argue that it’s a great way to make use of up additional saplings that won’t develop underneath the shade of older bushes. “These are always excess seeds in the orchards, gardens and backyard that are sprouting now. They are hyper-local, not many people know about them, and they aren’t sold in markets,” says Assavri Kulkarni, photographer and writer of the photograph e-book, Markets of Goa. She suggests consuming them uncooked (like a cashew nut), to retain the vitamins (excessive in protein and zinc), or so as to add them to coconut and spice-based curry or pulao.
Seed to range
For many like Marius Fernandes, who’s concerned in reviving Goa’s conventional lifestyle, it is usually about re-connecting with the previous. “Back in the 1970s, we used to go hunting in the hills and cashew groves. Now, most of them have been fenced, so it is getting rare,” he says. Instead, over the past 5 years, he’s taken issues into his personal palms. He collects seeds in May and vegetation them in his yard and waits for the rains. “They start germinating by the third week of June. I use some for cooking, some for growing, and some I gift to my friends,” he says.
Thanks to social media, and consciousness about native components, bibayo is getting observed now and extra city dwellers are beginning to experiment with it. But Kulkarni believes the restricted amount obtainable is a part of the enjoyable. “It is not something that you can grow like a seasonal vegetable. So one should enjoy what one gets, to keep up nutritional levels and for some warmth during the rains.”