By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar� Panaji:�FC Goa, the football team, may be in a hot soup with the Indian Super League (ISL) censuring its owners and the team for indiscipline, but in a swanky oriental fusion restaurant at Goa's tony beach village of Calangute, FC Goa looks pretty dishy as a sushi.
Even as stories of football acrimony and ISL intrigue do the rounds in soccer haven Goa and a pall of gloom and uncertainity brews over the future of FC Goa in India's glitziest football tourney, Koi, a pan-Asian restaurant, may have just done its bit to raise the team's spirit, by naming one of its signature sushis after the outfit.
According to Koi co-owner Shefali Gandhi Singh, the FC Goa sushi sticks to the basic tenets of the dish but comes with a Goan twist.
What lends the FC Goa sushi roll a sense of distinct drama (perhaps keeping in sync with the ongoing ISL-FC Goa saga), is a touch of indigenous recheado masala, a sprightly vinegar-based chilli paste commonly used in Goan cuisine.
"Keeping it in line with the tradition of the original sushi, the primary ingredients used are fresh homemade recheado masala with red snapper rolled in rice and sea weed. This is our take on the use of local ingredients. Also, the colour of the recheado atop the sushi reminds us of our beloved Gaurs (as the Great Indian bison, official mascot of FC Goa, is locally known)," Singh told IANS.
She said the response to the FC Goa sushi, which was introduced a little more than a month ago, has been "well received".
"It is picking up momentum and pace in orders coming in. It does take a little coaxing for a sushi lover to experiment with this cuisine as the recheado masala is an acquired taste and many people stick to the basics of the original sushi. The more yearning palate definitely is curious and love it post trial," she said.
The reason why Zico-coached team landed from the grassy football pitch to a sushi plate, she said, is because the folks who run Koi love football and the spirit of the game.
Two of the team's co-owners, business magnates Shrinivas Dempo and Dattaraj Salgaocar, hail from Goa, while the Videocon group and India Test cricket captain Virat Kohli complete the roster of FC Goa ownership.
"We are looking forward to inviting the team and management over for a trial of the same as this is our ode of love to our team FC Goa and it's all for them," Singh said.
"From the initial matches, we have always been true supporters and have stood with it during the trials and tribulations faced by the team. We love the fighting 'never say die' spirit our team possesses," Singh said.
Goa, she said, is blessed with a rich variety of fish, which Koi has been incorporating into its unique menu.
"Since its inception, Koi has specialised in multiple varieties of authentic sushi and sashimi. We decided to dedicate a variation of this world renowned Japanese dish to the Goa palate and come up with a dish symbolic of the produce of Goa," she said.
The FC Goa sushi is priced at Rs. 600 for eight rolled pieces of delight, dunked in wasabi-lined soy sauce.
Asked if she felt for the team, which is in the midst of a protracted wrangle with the ISL, Singh hoped that the dour and dogged qualities of the mascot, the Gaur, would need to be at the fore if the team needs to do well in the future.
"As fans, we are disappointed to know the points that have been forfeited and (it has) put us in an Everest-scaling position to reach the playoffs this coming season. However we hope history repeats itself, as it did in season one and we climb steadily like the persistent Gaur," Singh concluded.(IANS)