A real Koli meal in Versova’s Koli Village with Authenticook

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a bunch of enthusiastic people who run a food-based start-up that promotes regional Indian cuisine. Authenticook – launched sometime in late 2015 by bankers Ameya Deshpande and Priyanka Deshpande, advertising professional Sai Ghatpande and consultant Aneesh Dhairyawan – focuses on the cuisines of various communities through home dining experiences. The meals are hosted at the homes of people from various communities like the Koli, Pathare Prabhu, Bohri Muslim or Tulu Nadu Mangaloreans, so the food that you get to taste is 100 per cent true to that community or region.

I attended the Koli pop-up hosted by home chef Rajini who stays deep inside the Versoval Koli village. We met the Authenticook crew at the entrance of the village and walked through the tiny by lanes, colourful houses and wedding preparations (yep, there were two happening simultaneously) to our host’s house. The aroma of fried fish and hot bhakris filled our nostrils even before we entered the house which had a kitchen as big as my living room.

Fish thali at Koli lunch with Authenticook
Fish thali at Koli lunch with Authenticook

After a round of introduction, we began with mori (shark) fry with piquant red chutney. The meal that followed beats any fish thali worth its salt in the city. It had deep-fried corn bhajiyas, bhareli paplet – a large, pan-fried pomfret stuffed with spicy green masala, aambyat la ambat – a summer special tangy and sweet curry of prawns cooked in a curry made with coconut and raw mango, bombil fry – Mumbai’s special fried Bombay duck, rice bhakri, steamed rice, and sol kadi to wash it all down. The dessert was bharleli keli – bananas stuffed with coconut and jaggery mixture and deep fried; needless to say that we found it difficult to move post our meal.

Also Read: Baking Bread with Crumbs by Saee Koranne-Khandekar

Mori (shark) fry at Koli lunch with Authenticook
Mori (shark) fry at Koli lunch with Authenticook

Kolis were the original inhabitants of Mumbai and the fisher folks who’ve now settled in various pockets of the city including Versova, Juhu, Mahim, Sion etc. These people still rule the roost when it comes to sourcing the best fish. During our meal our host told us about the variety of fish available that are much better than the regular pomfrets and surmais but don’t have any takers. Unfortunately, the original Koli food hasn’t made it to the mainstream food culture and what restaurants in the city serve doesn’t even scratch the surface of their culinary abundance.

I would highly recommend Authenticook to those who are genuinely interested in the regional food of the country. You can check-out their upcoming pop-ups on their Facebook page. Also follow them on Twitter and Instagram.


  1. This is a very interesting read. Thank you for sharing! Please also inform us about how can one try these home cooked cuisines? Is there a contact number/address where one can call up and prebook?? Do enlighten us. Thanks.

    • Hi Priti,

      Thanks for stopping by to comment. You can check out Authenticook’s Facebook page (link in the blog post) for the details of their upcoming events.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s