Goan food is completely different from anything you may find anywhere else in India. Attributed to the state’s diverse cultural heritage (and the Portuguese inhabitants who lived here for almost 450 years), the cuisine is a blend of Portuguese, Catholic, Hindu and Konkan. As a result, everything, from
the ingredients used to the cooking methods employed, are unique and far from ordinary.
Full of hidden treasures and an endless selection of non-vegetarian and seafood favourites, the food runs a gamut of flavours from tangy to salty to hot and spicy. At the end of the day, though, it’s all about food keeping your tummies full and hearts happy.
So what is the kind of food you will find in every Goan home? Well, there’s the staple – fish, curry and rice. Simple, but hearty fare that Goan’s eat everyday. Yes, everyday. Because, what’s a Goan without his fish, curry and rice. Made with fresh coconut milk and red chillies, this Goan curry has retained its exquisite flavour over the decades with nary a change made to its basic recipe.
You can order this at any (and I mean literally any) restaurant in Goa, big or small, beach side shack or five star. You can order it a la carte from the menu with fried fish and side dishes of your choice, or even opt for the traditional thali. Consisting of portions of boiled rice, curry, kismur (freshly grated coconut mixed with dried prawns), sukhem (a shellfish preparation cooked with desiccated coconut), fried fish (ask the waiter what the fish of the day is) and sol kadi (a tangy, spicy drink of coconut milk mixed with kokum juice which works as a digestive), the Goan fish thali is a must try. If you are in the capital, head to the ever-popular Ritz Classic, or try out Britto’s in Calangute which is also well-known for its sea-food platter. In the south, drop by at either Zeebop, a beautiful seaside restaurant on Utorda Beach, or Furtado’s in Colva.
Other fish dishes include fish recheado (mackerel or pomfret stuffed with a spicy paste of red chillies and vinegar-another Goan staple), stuffed crab, rava fried prawns (which are simply shrimp dusted with some salt and turmeric powder and rolled in rava or semolina), prawn balchao (picked prawn), etc.
As far as non-vegetarian fare is concerned, most homes make dishes like pork vindalho (go to Nostalgia’s in Raia for some authentic vindalho), chicken xacuti, chicken cafreal (Florentine’s in Saligao serves the best cafreal in the world) sorpotel (this is a pork preparation), fish caldine (a lovely yellow non spicy coconut milk base curry), at least once a week, usually on Sundays. This is then relished throughout the week, especially sorpotel which only gets better the longer it remains.
If you eat pork, don’t miss Goa’s famous pork sausages. Be warned that these are nothing like the hot dogs or frankfurters available in the market. Spicy and tangy, Goan sausages are a distinctly acquired taste. But once you get past the initial shock, you will gorge on them like the locals do. Good brands to buy are Home-Made, Karma’s, Costa’s etc. To cook, just chuck the sausages in a shallow pan with half a cup of water, one onion (quartered) and one potato cut into large sized cubes. Then just cover and boil for 10-12 minutes. Served at roadside eateries with a local bread called pao, this is Goa’s most famous choris pao.
Hungry yet? 🙂 Book your Goa homestay now and enjoy the perfect Goan meal tomorrow. Hurry!