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  • The many uses of cashew nut

    Jun 8th, 2015

    It was during the Cashew Trail, an annual event in Goa, that I vowed never to dismiss anything false -even false things are packed with goodness. Yes, the cashew apple is a false fruit on which hangs the cashew nut, that perfect snack which is often called `nature's vitamin pill' and is laden with protein and essential minerals (iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper and manganese).And while pouring feni (cashew drink) anglaise over cashew turnover (filo stuffed with cashew) Thomas Abraham, the man behind the Cashew Trail, went back five centuries when the Portuguese brought the cashew tree to Goa from East Brazil. When summer begins to edge spring out, the cashew apple turns from an emerald green into canary yellow, then borrows the red of the morning sun, ready to be picked off the boughs. Lace your sneakers, slather sunscreen, oil your bicycle and begin the Cashew Trail at the Mac & Cedric Vaz Cashew Farm in Valpoi.On the long ride to the hotel, breathe in the Goan air filled with the aroma of cashew apple, jackfruit and mangoes. The cycling trail concludes with a delightful barbecue. The fruit has ripened and plucked off the boughs.

    Executive Chef Saulo Bacchilega can work wonders with the cashew nut. He throws cashew in with mango to make a delicious chutney. Forget the ordinary peanut, make cashew chikis. Roast a few nuts and the greens turn into a scrumptious salad. Heard of cashew ice-cream? It is the slurpiest.Make way for fresh cashew apple juice. Bake cashew cookies. Turn it into a creamy anglaise.

    There's nothing quite like the joy of cashew apple under the feet. Imagine stomping the fruit in a rock-hewn pit, the feet dressed in a sweet slumgullion. Traditionally, that is how cashew, like grapes, was footstomped to get the juice to make urak and feni. Nearly 90 litres of cashew juice is boiled in a copper pot which is sealed with anthill clay. The first distilled product is urak (18 % alcohol content) and then feni (45 % alcohol content). Interestingly, Time magazine had included cashew feni in its list of `10 Ridiculously Strong Drinks'. In the farm, one can watch cashew juice being turned into an alcoholic drink.

    Shakespeare had said: Sweetest nuts have the sourest rind. The Bard's rhetoric befits the cashew nut.