In the month of April, 2014, I visited Goa for the first time and that too primarily to attend the marriage of a friend. Before then, whenever I used to tell some friends that I had never been to Goa, they would give me a look as if I had committed a crime of not visiting Goa before!
Goa is known primarily for it’s serene beaches and an active party life. Beyond that, there’s another part of Goa – the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Churches and Convents of Goa, the greenery of the Western Ghats and a laid-back lifestyle. However, this post is focussed on a few Goan dishes that I had managed to sample during that visit.
Goan cuisine is essentially an extension of the cuisine of the Konkan coast of India. Broadly speaking, the cuisine falls into two categories : Hindu cuisine and the Catholic cuisine. Since I had tried a fair bit of Konkan cuisine before, this time I tried to sample a bit more of the Catholic cuisine . From the beginning of the 16th century , the Portuguese ruled certain parts of India , Goa being the predominant territory – till 1961 when it was taken over by Indian government after military action.
The Portuguese influenced Indian cuisine by introducing new ingredients and spices to India and also Portuguese dishes which were adapted to Indian culinary styles and tastes.
1.Prawn Xacuti : “Xacuti (pronounced “Sha-kooty”) is the quintessential Goan curry. It is a rich delicious blend of local spices and fresh coconut. Although the origins of this recipe are Portuguese in nature, the dish is completely Goan in taste and flavours”.
2.”Mackerel Racheado is one of Goa’s most famous dishes. Recheado means stuffed in Portuguese and in this recipe, the masala is stuffed into the mackerel”
3.”Cafreal is a spicy chicken preparation which originated from the Portuguese colonies in the African continent. The generic preparation involves fresh coriander leaves, onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, chilli, mace, clove powder and lime juice.”
4. Wedding Veg Meal : Kokum soup, Jackfruit curry, Raw Mango curry, Chilly fritters, etc.
5.Lepo (Sole fish or tongue fish) fry
6. “Balchão is a spicy seafood or meat dish in a spicy and tangy tomato-chili sauce. It resembles pickling and can be made days in advance without reheating. The traditional balchão uses a paste made from dried shrimp known as galmbo in Konkani.”
7. Fish curry thali with Rawas (Indian salmon) fish fry plus shrimp and other fish curry.
8. Shinaneo/Xinanyo (Mussels) fry
9. Crab Xec Xec refers to crabs (preferably rock crabs) cooked in a pre roasted coconut gravy.
10. Shark Ambotik : “Ambot” meaning Sour/Tangy and “tik” meaning Spicy. “The strong flavors of Shark meat compliments the tangy and spicy taste of the gravy.”
11. Kokum Juice: Kokum or Garcinia Indica is a fruit which is famous for its healthy and refreshing cool drink.