Goa is best known for the sparkling string of golden sand beaches, nonstop parties and its beautiful boutique beach shacks. But if you look beyond this, you’ll find a Goa that is any foodie’s paradise. Goa’s colonial past, ruled by the Portuguese has created an exciting blend of east and west in the cuisine. Here are some of the best dishes you must try:
Goan Fish Curry
One of the most popular dishes you’ll find is the amazing Goan Fish curry. The main ingredients of the dish are a decent sized Pomfret/Kingfish and a raw mango. Loaded with various spices along with coconut, it has a tangy and spicy taste which will leave you craving for more. Pair it with rice and gorge in.
This is yet another Portuguese influenced famous Goan food. The Goan curry consists of chicken, potatoes, onions, coconuts, chillies, and other spices. Kashmiri chillies are specifically used as they give intense hot flavour and also give colour to the dish. This is one of the most popular Goan Food. Made with freshly roasted spices, this chicken curry is eaten along with pav by the locals in the region. You can serve it along with rice instead, which makes an equally good combination.
There’s an interesting story how this dish was named. In Portuguese, ‘vin’ translates to vinegar whereas ‘ahlo’ means wine. The dish consists of pork, onions, chillies, garlic along with Vinegar and other spices. It is said that this Goan food was previously called Vindahlo but because of the use of potatoes, folks started calling it Vindaloo (aloo – potatoes). Pork Vindaloo is one of the most famous dishes from India. So much so that it’s found in all of the major Indian restaurants around the world.
If you are in Goa, or anywhere near a Goan restaurant, you must sample Sorpotel, which is again a derivative of a Portuguese stew. The word Sorpotel is derived from the konkani word Soro which means alcohol. This goan delicacy is prepared using pork and beef or mutton liver. Characteristically thick, spicy, and red, the Sorpotel tastes even better with a little aging – set it aside for a day or two and then relish.
Fun fact: Apparently, Sorpotel is cooked and enjoyed in Brazil too, however in South America, it’s known as Sarapatel.
The list of sea food can never be completed without mentioning prawns, and while there are a lot of ways to prepare a beautiful dish of prawns, this fiery dish from Goa is very popular. Prawn Balchão is a spicy shrimp based masala pickle which can be kept in the refrigerator for several days, so it is something you can make ahead and have on hand for guests or for meals later in the week. The spicy-tangy, sweet type of pickle is served with hot plain boiled rice and is relished by everyone.
Sannas are our very own idlis. But these spongy steamed rice cakes are different than normal idlis as they have a sweet coconut flavour and are made from Goan rice. Sannas are mostly eaten with Goan pork sorpotel curry, but they complement most of the Goan dishes. There is a sweeter version of Sannas called godachi sanna which is made with jaggery.
When someone thinks of Goan cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind is the seafood, but there are some amazing vegetarian options to explore as well. Goan Khatkhate is a Goan vegetable stew which is made with lentils and various vegetables like carrots, potatoes, green beans and drumsticks. The dish is famous among the Konkani community in Goa. Served warm over steaming hot rice and a dollop of ghee to finish. Nothing and I do mean nothing is better!
Poee or Poi is probably the most famous Goan bread. Prepared from wheat flour and bran, it is considered highly nutritious and people suffering from diabetes are known to consime poeee on a daily basis. You can visit any Goan bakery to see how poee is made and taste it fresh out of the oven. Goan poee is versatile and can be eaten with any gravy.
Bebinca is one of the most famous and loved dessert of Goa. This Indo-Portuguese dessert is a multilayered cake that is prepared using coconut milk, sugar, eggs and flour. Thee caramelized sugar gives a rich flavor to the dish which melts in your mouth. You will see Bebinca always getting featured in most Goan festivities, be it Christmas, Easter or weddings.
Sounding as sweet as it tastes, Kulkul is a dessert without which Christmas is incomplete. It is made from maida and semolina and the rolled pastries are then deep fried. I bet you can’t stop once you start eating it. But remember to save some for Santa!
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