Summer Means Something Special To Goans Because Of This Delicious Secret!

Alisha Fernandes , 08 Apr 2016
Carousel Cashew Trail by Park Hyatt Goa
Cashew Trail by Park Hyatt Goa

So, if the surname wasn’t clue enough, I’d like to state for the record that I am as Goan as they come. And I don’t mean my Great Grandfather owned a house there eons ago and I just call myself Goan to collect cool points. I grew up there, played at the beach every Sunday, learnt to row a boat in the backwaters of the River Mandovi, and climbed trees to pluck fruit in the summer. My childhood sounds like something out of a happy Hollywood movie, but it’s the truth.

My favourite part of summer break was the weeks on end me and my family would spend in our ancestral home by the river and the one thing we never ran out of was cashew, owing to the many, many trees that filled the property. The more I think about it, the harder it is to think of a more perfect fit than cashew as the fruit of Goa. Like the state itself, cashew is unlike any other fruit, in appearance, taste, texture and use. Every part of the tree has been used for something. Even the leaves and bark are said to have medicinal properties.

For one, the seed is outside the fruit

Cashew fruit
Cashew fruit

Unlike most fruits, the cashew nut grows outside the fruit. When ripe the fruit has a tart, sweet taste.

Goin’ nuts for nuts

Cashewnuts (Source: Shutterstock)
Cashew nuts (Source: Shutterstock)

Every. Single. Time I go back home, one thing I have to carry back for everyone I know is cashew nuts. There’s really something for everyone when it comes to this humble nut – plain, salted, roasted, masala. The list is endless. But aside from being a great bar snack, cashew nuts are used extensively in Goan and Indian cuisine. (think kaju barfi, the Goan kaju curry that combines two favourites, coconut and cashew nut and marzipan…yummers!) It’s not just a garnish for biryani, guys!

There’s something about the oil

Cashew Oil (Source: Shutterstock)
Cashew Oil (Source: Shutterstock)

Beauty addicts and home-remedy freaks listen up, this is important. Cashew oil (and the fruit) are both richer in Vitamin E than you can imagine, and hence are great for health. You can use it in your food and for both, skin and hair nourishment. High unsaturated fatty acids means that the oil is extremely moisturising and has been proven to improve the texture of your hair too.

Getting drunk on love feni

Cashew Feni
Cashew Feni

Finally, my favourite use of this versatile fruit is the signature type of alcohol that comes out of the fermentation of its juice. This juice is distilled twice to produce feni, while the product of the single distillation is called urak, and is sweeter and a lot less potent (15% to feni’s 40%). It’s an excellent base for many cocktails and is so refreshing if drunk right, I can’t even tell you.

My favourite thing about it as a child was the grandma remedy for a bad throat- pour some feni into a saucer, add some sugar, light it with a match, watch the alcohol burn off and knock it back! (Hic!)

And that brings me to my point. Park Hyatt Resort and Spa in Goa is hosting their annual Cashew Trail and have tonnes of ‘cashew’ inclusive activities for everyone to enjoy! You can find out more about it here.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go check on my existing cashew stock. You’d best be buying me some if I’m running low!

This post is in partnership with Park Hyatt Goa Resort And Spa

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