This is a bit of a one-off post. I usually try to give you posts that have a spice or an ingredient that you can find (perhaps with some digging) to incorporate into the food you cook at home. This is a bit different because this spice is one I discovered while in Goa. It’s nothing I had ever seen before, and I have been unable to find it anywhere here. But I feel like holding on to this is like keeping a secret – so I thought I would share it with you.
One of my favorite things to do when travelling is to go to a local market. And it’s always amazing to me to see that what is commonplace somewhere, literally growing like a weed and in everyone’s homes, can be so exotic elsewhere.
This allspice-looking berry is called teflam. I’ve also seen it referred to as tirphal or teffal fruit. It’s grown along the Konkan coast in India and is a distinctive ingredient in Goan cooking.
I bit into the fresh berries, which have a stronger taste than the dried, and, to me, they have a taste that is strongly reminiscent of kaffir lime, though with a bitter, peppery edge. The Portuguese called them “acrid lime”, and many believe that these berries are related to the Sichuan peppercorn. Quite frankly, there’s not a ton of consistent information out there about them.
I’d love to learn more about this spice myself, so if you have more information or have your own experience with teflam, please share!