**Sameer Desai is a creative professional and is popular Angat Pangat for his thought-provoking posts.**
When my friend Sriya Kulkarni told me that her mother-in- law makes a special dish during festivals, I wanted to taste it. So, there I was at their doorstep one afternoon.
It’s called Shirvalya and they have been making this for generations. Sriya’s mother-in- law told me she is originally from Belgaum but learnt to make shirvalya from her sister-in- law, who was like a mother to her because of the age gap. I was told that a special equipment called the Shevga is used to make the rice noodles.
Basically, you mix rice flour with water in a 50-50 proportion. It’s better to have flour made from new rice than old because the new riche is more starchy, and lends the characteristic smooth texture to the dish. You add one teaspoon groundnut oil, one teaspoon butter (LoNi), and salt to taste in the rice flour and boil it. Once you remove the boiled dough, divide it into balls, about the size of an orange. Boil four litres of water separately and put these balls in it. This is the second stage of cooking. Once that’s done, the noodles are ready to be pressed using the Shevga.
These silken noodles can be eaten with coconut milk. The coconut milk they served me was so tasty—the balance between the coconut milk and jaggery was perfect. “We don’t use any old jaggery, we get ours specially from Belgaum,” Sriya’s mother-in- law told me.
This was my Shirvalya experience—a typical Konkani dish. In the Kokan, people make this
whenever they have guests coming over, or on a festive day, people make this delicacy.
However, it’s fast disappearing with time. Unless the new generation takes this craft forward.