Art Directory India

Goa: Mesmerizing Cuisine

Goa: Mesmerizing Cuisine

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Along the southern coast of India, lies the smallest state of Goa, covering just about 1,429 square miles. This little state, not entirely too tiny, is known for its beaches making it a well-known destination for tourists to relax and unwind. In addition to the beaches, Goa is also the destination for many music festivals, as well as the location for the annual International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Goa plays host to thousands of tourists on a yearly basis. A fact about Goa, that many may or may not know, was that Goa was ruled by the Portuguese for four and a half centuries. This means that one can find many Portuguese influences within Goa.
The locals of Goa, known as Goans, are often termed as “susegad goenkar”, meaning that they are very carefree, unbothered by the tides of time, living their life coolly and in a lethargic manner. This term is a misnomer, as the locals are very hard-working, working tirelessly to earn their keep and place. However, goans do know how to relax. This if often done in the evenings, when every member of the family is home. They would sit out on their porches or balconies, and just relax, talk about the day and have fun. But the most notorious way would be through food.
As a catholic goan, a lot of my childhood was spent in glee, while I watched my mother cook food for the family. Times like Christmas, New Year, Easter and many other Feasts of the Saints, were spent in the company of the entire family. The house would be bustling with noise as all the children of the family got together and played, the men of the family would gather around and talk and drink or do some miscellaneous work around the house while the women would be in the kitchen cooking food, sometimes moving away to talk to the others. This was a tradition still followed by many.
As mentioned before, Goa is still heavily influenced by Portugal and the influence is even stronger within Christians, food is no different. Here is a list of food that one must try when visiting Goa:
1) Goan Fish Curry: A staple in almost all meals, this curry is made with fish and served with white rice. One might not always know, but this curry tastes even better if consumed a day after it is prepared.
2)Fish Rechado: Rechado is Portuguese for “stuffed”. Here, a pomfret or mackerel is stuffed with homemade masala and shallow fried until the skin becomes a little crisp. Often served as a side dish to the curry and rice combo, this fish is also consumed on its own, such is its wonder.
3)Ros Omelette: This particular dish can be considered as goan street food, often sold at the many food carts lining the roads of Goa. It can be prepared at home, but nothing can be compared to the taste and fun one may find while eating it alongside the road, standing amongst the crowds lining the food cart.
4)Pork Vindaloo: Given that its main ingredient is Pork, not many attempt this particular dish. However, this dish of a Portuguese descent is made with a lot of chillies, vinegar and garlic. This makes it both spicy and slightly tangy.
5) Xacuti: Most commonly made with chicken to suit the tastes of many, this dish is also just as tasty when made with mutton. This gravy dish is made with a lot of spices and coconut, giving it a unique taste.
6) Fish fry: Fresh fish is often simply coated with rawa, or semolina and fried. This can be either shallow fry or deep fry. This method of cooking fish is spectacular as the fish is crisy on the outside while soft on the inside.
7) Pork Sorpotel: once again, pork makes its appearance. This is a very popular dish to be served on all occasions, from birthdays to weddings to Christmas. To be able to properly enjoy the dish, one must consume it on third day after it has been prepared. During the previous three days, the dish has to be heated up and brought to a simmer. This is best when consumed with either rice or sanna (a steamed rice bun of sorts).
8) Chicken Cafreal: This chicken dish is prepared by marinating chicken in a lot of green chillies, herbs, coriander and other spices. The chicken is then fried or cooked according to taste and consumed. The abundance presence of green chillies gives it a unique green color.
9) Aad Maas: A pork gravy dish that is a favourite of nearly everybody in a household. Literally meaning ‘bone and meat’, this dish has a lot of gravy to be consumed with rice. The bones add flavour to the gravy along with the red Kashmiri chillies used in preparation.
10) Crab Xec-Xec: what kind of list of goan dishes is complete without this particular dish? With crabs as its main focus, Xec-Xec is mad by firstly pureeing onions and tomatoes. To this, spices are added and then cooked with crabs. Crab Xec-Xec is a common and popular dish at many beach shacks and is an absolute must try.
The above list is just a minor glimpse into the varieties of food offered in Goa. There are a lot more dishes worth having and that’s not even considering the deserts! If you happen to visit, do try some of the local dishes to truly get a feel of Goa. As the saying goes “When in Rome, do as the romans do”, similarly, when in Goa, eat like the Goans do. Happy Eating!

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