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In the early naughts, a cult Bollywood movie, called Dil Chahta Hai, made Goa the millennial destination of the country. Anything can happen in Goa. In the yellow, sandy beaches, or on the river cruise, or in the floating casinos, Goa holds a thousands promises for an epic vacay. And, yes, there’s the food, and beverages. Of course, there is Vindaloo and Feni. But, it’s not just about spices and coconut. There’s a world of gastronomic options there, and this is what you must eat in Goa:
Vindaloo is, without a shred of doubt, the most beloved dish that Goa has to offer. It can be prepared with any meat as raw material, pork, chicken or lamb; but most foodies prefer the pork prep. Vindaloo is derived from the Portuguese carne de vinha d’alhos (literally “meat in garlic wine marinade”). The preparation originates from the tradition of Portugese sailors, who used to preserve their meat is layers of garlic and wine. In the Indian mainland, the expensive wine made way for the relatively cheaper palm vinegar. Please be aware of it’s spice quotient; the dish, loaded in red chilli peppers, might be a tad too spicy for a foreign palate. It is usually served with rice, for lunch or dinner. Widely available across all restaurants in Goa, this dish is often termed as the flagship dish in Goan cuisine.
A Xacuti is actually a Konkani recipe, readily available in the many restaurants and shacks of Goa. It is a curry prepared with complex spicing, including white poppy seeds, sliced or grated coconut, and large dried red chilies, mostly accompanied by rice. The recipe originates in the Arambol region of Goa, among the fishermen in the region. Some experts opine that Xacuti tastes better a day after it has been prepared. But, unless you have a local friend, and access to a homemade version, stick to the fresh prep, we say!
Ambot Tik is not a very commonly available dish, but it is as Goan as it gets. Ambot means sour in Konkani language, and Tik is spicy. The dish, true to its name, is a sour and pungent one, perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea. This is a fish preparation, that uses fish with fewer bones, and the shark preparation is the most exotic.
The Portugese pork sausages, found in Goa, Daman, and Diu, are extremely spicy. They are typically plump, 1.5 cm in diameter. Often served in a spicy curry form, with rice and baked potatoes, it is one of Goa’s must haves. The Goan sausage is prepared using cubes of salted pork and hit with heavily seasoned spices. After filling the casings, the resulting sausages are dried in the sun and then smoked slowly. According to tradition, they are consumed in greater quantities during the monsoon season, when fish is scarce.
This extremely popular dish is widely found in Goa and also in different parts of India. Prawn Balchao is the most popular variant followed by fish or meat. The name refers to the method of cooking, which closely resembles the pickling process. The traditional balchão uses a paste made from dried shrimp known as galmbo in Konkani. Catholic homes typically use coconut vinegar for its acidic sharpness, while Hindu families tend to use cane vinegar to make it milder. The dish originated in the Portugese colony of Macao, and was introduced to Goa by them. It is, truly, a dish of global legacy.
Popularity of this dish has been on the rise for quite some time. The meat, typically pork, is parboiled, then diced and sauteed before being cooked in a spicy and vinegary sauce. In the most adventurous form, the meat is boiled in the blood of the animal, a practice that is quickly disappearing in the modern Goan kitchen. This dish is traditionally served with a spongy, white, and slightly sweet steamed rice, known as Sanna.
Also check out this Thai Chicken recipe from our friend: https://www.jenreviews.com/thai-red-curry-recipe/
This much famed layered pudding is now available in online stores. However the taste of the real Goan variant is unparalleled. This dessert, made of flour, sugar, ghee (clarified butter), egg yolk, and coconut milk, is supposed to have seven to sixteen layers based on chef’s discretion. It is a Christmas specialty, but is very easy to preserve for long periods of time.
Any article about Goa’s cuisine is incomplete without the mention of it’s local liqor: Feni. It is an alcoholic drink with a strong aroma. Love it or hate it, you got to try it once you are in Goa. There are two types: coconut and cashew; the latter being the more popular option.
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