Tasty and Spicy Goa Food
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If you come across a group of locals eating in a village café or roadside dhaba (food stall), chances are theyll be tucking into a pile of fish curry and rice. Goas staple dish, eaten twice each day by most of its population, consists of a runny red-chili sauce flavoured with dried fish or prawns, and served with a heap of fluffy white rice, a couple of small fried sardines and a blob of hot pickle.
Favourite Goa Food
Goa is known primarily for its distinctive meat specialties. Flavoured with the same stock ingredients of coconut oil and milk, blended with onions and a long list of spices, including Kashmiri red chilies. The most famous of all Goan dishes, though, has to be pork vindaloo. The dish, misleadingly synonymous in Western countries with any ultra hot curry, evolved from a Portuguese pork stew that was originally seasoned with wine (vinho
) vinegar and garlic (alho
). To this vihdalho sauce, the Goans added palm sap (toddi
) vinegar and their characteristic sprinkling of spices. Pork was prohibited by the Muslims, but made a comeback under the Portuguese and now forms an integral part of the Goan diet, particularly on festive occasion such as Christmas, when Christian families prepare sorpatel
; a rich stew made from the shoulders, neck, kidneys and ears of the pig. Another Portuguese-inspired pork specialty is leitao
, or suckling pig, which is roasted and stuffed with chopped heart, liver, green chilies and parsley.
Fish in Goa Food
Not surprisingly, seafood features prominently in coastal areas. Among the varieties of fish youll encounter are shark, kingfish, pomfret (a kind of flounder), mackerel, sardines and various kinds of snapper. These are lightly grilled over wood fires, fried, or baked in clay ovens (tandooris
), often with a red-hot paste smeared into slits on their sides. The same sauce, known as rechad
, is sometimes used to cook squid. Another, more affordable Goa Food delicacy which seafood lovers shouldnt miss are tiger prawns, which are as tasty and succulent in Goa as anywhere in the world.
Rice and breads in Goa
In tourist restaurants, meat and seafood are generally served with chips and salad, but locally grown short-grain red rice is the main staple in the villages. In addition, the Portuguese introduced soft wheat-flour bread rolls, still made early each morning in local bakeries and delivered by cyclists.
Another delicious Goan bread to look out for is sanna, made from a batter of coconut milk and finely ground rice flour that is leavened with fermenting palm sap (toddi). These crumpet-like rolls are steamed and served with pork and other meat dishes because they are great for soaking up spicy Goan gravies.
Desserts and breakfasts in Goa
No serious splurge is considered complete without a slice of the states favourite dessert, bebinca. A festive specialty prepared for Christmas, this ten-layered cake, made with a rich mixture of coconut milk, sugar and egg yolks, is crammed with cholesterol, but an absolute must for fans of solid old-fashioned puddings. The same is true of batica
, another sweet and stodgy coconut cake that is particularly mouthwatering when served straight out of the oven with dollop of ice cream. If you find yourself in a traditional Goan village over Christmas or during one of the many religious festivals, you may also be lucky enough to taste dodol
, the most prized of all local sweets.
Indian Food in Goa
For those who get fed up with Goa Food-style fish and chips. Indian food is the next best option. Dont, however, expect the same kind of cooking you find in English-Indian curry houses. Curry is actually something of a misnomer. The word, which in India is used to describe one particular aromatic herb (the corri leaf
), denotes a wide range of dishes, each made with its own characteristic blend of spices, or masala
To sample North Indian food at its best, you'll have to head for the upscale goa hotels, or restaurants, where the menus are dominated by Mughlai cooking.
The other popular northern style elevated to an art form by the notoriously sybaritic Punjabis, is tandoori.
Non-Indian Food in Goa
Chinese food is served in most multi-cuisine restaurants, although it tends to be cooked by local chefs and is not what you might call authentic. Still, rice and noodle dishes make a pleasant change, and are easier on the digestive system if youre having stomach problems. The same is true of Tibetan food, which youll find in a couple of established restaurants in Calangute and Candolim, where families of Tibetan refugees have settled.
Read and watch videos how Mongolian foods are cooked today
Western food in Goa is also widely available in the resorts. Expensive international-standard hotels often lay on buffets and fussy a la carte menus prepared by foreign-trained chefs. However, a growing number of restaurants in the resorts (chiefly Baga) also rustle up quality pizzas, pasta, lasagna, stroganoff, German bread and cakes, and even full English breakfasts, using imaginatively adapted local ingredients.
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