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The Portuguese influence on Goan cuisine fascinates me. The use of meats and unique flavors in Goan cooking could be very appetizing to the US diner, providing a great mix of east and west. However, the average Indian restaurant has few Goan influenced dishes on the menu.

Why don't we see more Goan dishes?

In one of the food magazines a writer wrote about her travels through India and the food she never managed to taste. (I'll have to find the author's name). I am unfamiliar with two very Portuguese-sounding Goan meat dishes she mentions in the article: bebhinca and goshtaba. How are these prepared?

What are some other unique dishes?

What are ingredients characteristic to Goan cooking?

rks

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I believe Chef Floyd Cardoz of Tabla in NYC is of Goan background.

The menu used to have a description of various spice and paste combinations on the back. Haven't been there in a while, don't know iof it still does.

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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Rks, bebinca is a dessert and was served at Pondicherry.

Goshtaba is not really Goan. From Kashmir I believe. But maybe common to both regions.

Goan food is wonderful. Have you been to Goa? After spending time there, one can hardly find joy in eating the watered down and not so fresh version even elsewhere in India, leave alone outside of India. Goa is so very charming and special. Thanks for this thread... I hope more people can share their perspective on Goan food. :smile:

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Rks, bebinca is a dessert and was served at Pondicherry.

Goshtaba is not really Goan.  From Kashmir I believe.  But maybe common to both regions.

Goan food is wonderful.  Have you been to Goa?  After spending time there, one can hardly find joy in eating the watered down and not so fresh version even elsewhere in India, leave alone outside of India.  Goa is so very charming and special.  Thanks for this thread... I hope more people can share their perspective on Goan food. :smile:

Gosthtaba is from Kashmir. Since Goa was quite isolated much of its cuisine too was confined to its own region. Try getting feni, even now, outside Goa :smile:

Edited by anil (log)

anil

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Goshtabha has absolutely nothing to do with Goa, unless its served in some of the substandard resorts that clutter up the place. Bebinca is very Goan though and is a dessert that must qualify it for some sort of cholesterol loading contest.

Its made of flour, sugar, coconut milk and tons of egg yolks, floavoured with nutmeg and made into a batter that is cooked with ghee in a pan on a slow flame, or baked in an oven. The way its done, you put in some batter, cook it, then put in another layer and cook, then another and so on until you end up with this layered cake, rubbery textured and ultra rich tasting.

It should be noted that there are two types of Goan cooking - Christian and Hindu, the former differing in its use of pork and beef and toddy vinegar. Both use lots of fish and coconut, while Hindu cooking uses the sour kokam fruit that's common to all the cooking of the Konkan coast.

The Portuguese influence is interesting both for what it brought from Portugal - the liberal use of yolks, salt cod, spicy pork, bread, vinegar and very syrupy port wine - as for the exchange of influences from other Portuguese colonies. Its interesting in fact to look at the Portuguese influence across Asia, from Goa, I think touching on Ceylon before the Dutch took over, Malacca in Malaysia where I've been told it may have influenced nonya cuisine and Macao where it links with Chinese.

And there's Africa. I have eaten Chicken cafreal, which I think means African Chicken, in Macao and also in Goan restaurants - the dish comes from the Portueguese colony of Mozambique. Last year in Johannesburg I ate in a Portuguese restaurant started by immigrants from Mozambique and the common spirit with Goa was unmistakable, in the crusty bread, the vinho verde and salt cod (neither easy to get in Goa now but spoken about by older Goans), the piri-piri sauce made with vinegar.

My one favourite Goan dish though is Goa sausages or choriz which are made with spices and vinegar so the pork is almost pickled and can stay good unrefrigerated. The spices and vinegar gives them the most amazing spicy-sour taste, quite unlike anything else you'll encounter in India. As it happens yesterday I took an American friend to Martin's, one of the few decent Goan places in Bombay, and he was raving about them, comparing them to everything from goulash to Brazilian dishes.

If you ever get your hands on them - presumably clandestinely since their preparation is not exactly hygienic and unlikely ever to get past the US authorities - then you could just stew them with onions (they have so much fat you don't need to add any) or as I do, pressure cook them with onions, tomatoes and potatoes which should hopefully kill off any nasty things lurking inside. Martin's fries them in a way I have never managed to learn and in Goa you get them more dry cooked so they can be stuffed in buns for choriz-pau which I suppose could be seen as the Goan version of a hotdog... maybe someone in New York should think of serving these,

Vikram

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Looking for Goan recipes online and found this site, which seems significantly better than the others:

http://www.goacom.com/cuisine/recipes/

Haven't tried the recipes myself, but what seems good is that it doesn't have the obvious recipes like vindaloo and sorpotel, but the lesser known ones that you only eat in Goan homes.

Like apa de camaroes, a totally dreamy prawn 'pie' made with a prawn balchao (pickle) filling and a crust of rice dough raised with toddy. The spiciness of the balchao counterpoints the starchiness of the crust beautifully. Its quite a time consuming dish to make, since you probably have to make the balchao first, but the final result is well worth it.

Some of the ingredients will probably be easy to get, but I think it should be quite easy to find substitutes, since the spirit of these dishes is Portuguese, even if made with Indian ingredients. Even the toddy... wonder if beer with perhaps a bit of yeast for a further kicker could be substituted?

Vikram

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Vikram- thanks for the insight. :smile: The breadth of Portuguese's influence on world cuisine is very unrecognized. I think they rival the French to an extent.

I'll have to try to get my hands on a serving of bebinca. It's a very unique sweet dish. I can taste the rich flavors already!

Given that Goa is a coastal state, sea and freshwater fish are abundant. Are mackerel and prawns the most common fish/crustacean used in Goan cooking? Are there other types of fish commonly used?

What are some good preparations?

It's been a long time since I've visited Goa, but I think a trip to the state is long overdue or at least to a good Goan restaurant in Mumbai.

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The Portuguese influence on Goan cuisine fascinates me. The use of meats and unique flavors in Goan cooking could be very appetizing to the US diner, providing a great mix of east and west. However, the average Indian restaurant has few Goan influenced dishes on the menu.

Why don't we see more Goan dishes?

The reasons my friend are numerous.

Most of the restauant operators are in the bussiness for the money and work with the formula ' give the customer what he wants'. And what does the customer want when he visits an Indian restaurant? Chicken tikka masalla, rogan josh etc etc. He will throw the authentic vindaloo in your face as not being good becauce he has become so accostomed to the doctored version Indian restaurants serve overseas which he takes as standard.

Also, I may have mentioned this before, most of the people working in the Indian kitchens in the US these days are not real chefs or cooks. They have worked for a while in the kitchen and thanks to the acute shortage of help in the Indian kitchen become self proclaimed overnight chefs. They simply do not have the knowledge.

But there is hope. As the audience matures, they, like you are looking for 'beyond the norm' and as this number grows I am certain we shall see a Goan restaurant. Its all a matter of supply and demand. Just look at the number of south Indian vegetarian restaurants that have cropped up in the recent past. And the number offering 'Indian Chinese' has grown tremendously.

If by my above statements I have offended any real chef or proffessional operator, my apologies, as that was not my intent

Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

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Given that Goa is a coastal state, sea and freshwater fish are abundant. Are mackerel and prawns the most common fish/crustacean used in Goan cooking? Are there other types of fish commonly used?

This list of fish commonly used on the Konkan coast might be of use. I compiled it because I was taking friends from abroad to the many small Konkani restaurants in Bombay where you get a great range of fish, much more than just the pomfret-surmai-rawas you get in the bigger places. But the problem is that the menus in these places are only in Marathi so you're faced with all these names you don't know and find hard to describe to foreign friends.

Also now that I've started going to the wonderful Mahim fish market I needed some guide to dealing with the amazing range of fish you get there. So I enlisted the help of a friend who's a Saraswat Brahmin, a community for whom life without fish is impossible to imagine, but who's now living in Oxford so has to keep looking for substitutes for the fish he's used to cooking. This is what he's come up with:

- Pomfret - is there an English equivalent? No. Here also it is called 'pomfret' when one sees it in chinese stores.

- Bangda - Mackerel, but the mackerel we get here are closer to Surmai than to bangda.

- Surmai - King Mackerel, they say in the US, but here it goes as 'Kingfish'.

- Halwa - black pomfret

- Mudadhushi - the veritable 'lady fish'

- Mori - shark

- Ravas - I translate it as sort of a 'large Sea Bass'

- Karli - No name, I'm afraid. In its entirety it resembles a straight sword and is extremely boney - has to be cut in a specific way similar to a Pike.

- Bhingi - sort of herring but bonier.

- Pedi - similar to herring

- Tarlya - Sardines, the only fish common to both shores in absolute equanimity

- Mandeli - no name, but to adopt an aquarium equivalent it could be called a 'golden swordtail'.

- Dhodiyare - Mullets

- Bombil - Bombay Duck

- Verlya - sort of Whitebait

- Tisrya - I would say mussels or cockles.

- Khube - here I guess 'clams' would be more appropriate

- Kurlya - crabs

- Gaboli - fish roe

Since the Konkan extends roughly from north of Bombay down to Mangalore, the fish caught in its waters would include the Goan ones. The only exception would be Bombil or Bombay Duck, which is really only found around Bombay. Also, a Goan friend tells me that the fishes valued most in Goa are slightly different from those up north. In Bombay, Pomfret rules, but in Goa its just another fish, while its Dhodiyare or Mullet which gets the highest prices.

Hope this helps,

Vikram

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i've posted this on another thread, but here is a piece i wrote on a goan restaurant. would be interested to know what you think.

x

Edited by lissome (log)

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons: That is all there is to distinguish us from the other Animals.

-Beaumarchais

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Also now that I've started going to the wonderful Mahim fish market I needed some guide to dealing with the amazing range of fish you get there. So I enlisted the help of a friend who's a Saraswat Brahmin, a community for whom life without fish is impossible to imagine, but who's now living in Oxford so has to keep looking for substitutes for the fish he's used to cooking. This is what he's come up with:

- Pomfret - is there an English equivalent? No. Here also it is called 'pomfret' when one sees it in chinese stores.

- Bangda - Mackerel, but the mackerel we get here are closer to Surmai than to bangda.

- Surmai - King Mackerel, they say in the US, but here it goes as 'Kingfish'.

- Halwa - black pomfret

- Mudadhushi - the veritable 'lady fish'

- Mori - shark

- Ravas - I translate it as sort of a 'large Sea Bass'

- Karli - No name, I'm afraid. In its entirety it resembles a straight sword and is extremely boney - has to be cut in a specific way similar to a Pike.

- Bhingi - sort of herring but bonier.

- Pedi - similar to herring

- Tarlya - Sardines, the only fish common to both shores in absolute equanimity

- Mandeli - no name, but to adopt an aquarium equivalent it could be called a 'golden swordtail'.

- Dhodiyare - Mullets

- Bombil - Bombay Duck

- Verlya - sort of Whitebait

- Tisrya - I would say mussels or cockles.

- Khube - here I guess 'clams' would be more appropriate

- Kurlya - crabs

- Gaboli - fish roe

Vikram- thanks for the wonderful list! Most of the fish are available here in the US. I know there are many ways to prepare fish "Goan" style. Are there certain fish someone would use more often in a home setting?

What fish would be best used for poaching?

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Bebinca is very Goan though and is a dessert that must qualify it for some sort of cholesterol loading contest.

Its made of flour, sugar, coconut milk and tons of egg yolks, floavoured with nutmeg and made into a batter that is cooked with ghee in a pan on a slow flame, or baked in an oven. The way its done, you put in some batter, cook it, then put in another layer and cook, then another and so on until you end up with this layered cake, rubbery textured and ultra rich tasting.

It should be noted that there are two types of Goan cooking - Christian and Hindu, the former differing in its use of pork and beef and toddy vinegar. Both use lots of fish and coconut, while Hindu cooking uses the sour kokam fruit that's common to all the cooking of the Konkan coast.

:hmmm:

Bebinca is certainly not rubbery textured. But yet you could be right, most places do serve/sell Bebinca that is awful

:hmmm:

And yes kokum would be used in Goan Christian foods too, in their Fish Curries.

Here again, Tamarind would be a souring agent in a Hindu Shaguti and the same for a Christian Xacutti too, though the flavors and tastes differ considerably.

And to speak of styles of cooking, there are basically two large group classifications, the Bardez and the Salcette, though I feel a true Goan would shed more light on this.

And am positively sure the Goan Muslim cuisine also has its share to show, of which not much is known.

:smile:

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      Post your questions here -->> Q&A
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    • By Bhukhhad
      Breakfast in India vs Breakfast in our homes outside India
      My breakfasts have varied from the time I started to cook for myself instead of just enjoying my Mother’s cooking. At first they were a mix-match of meal fixings, or just dinner leftovers. Or the good old breakfast cereal and milk. But as the years passed and I was more organized, the meals I enjoyed in my Mother’s home began to swim in my memories. And I began to prepare those for my family. However, I am no amazonian chef, so depending on  the hectic nature of the days plans, I switched back and forth from convenience with taste, to elaborate and of course tasty breakfasts. We do have both vegetarian and non vegetarian foods but Indian breakfasts will mostly be vegetarian. 
      So here are some of the things I might make: 
       
      1. Poha as in mostly ‘kande pohe’.
      2. Cheela/ Pudla
      3. Masala toast
      4. Indian Omelette
      5. Handwo piece
      6. Thepla
      7. Vaghareli rotli
      8. Dhokla chutney
      9. Idli sambhar
      10. Leftover sabji
      11. Muthiya
      12. Khakhra
      13. Upma
      14. Paratha
       
      1. Kande Pohe: 
      The dish derives its name from Maharashtra where the Kande Pohe are celebrated as breakfast. They can of course like any breakfast, be eaten at any time. 
      Pohe/ Poha are steamed rice grains that have been beaten flat and then again redried. So they are like Rice flakes. Except they are hand pounded, so have a knobbly texture. 
      You get several varieties in the market. I prefer the thick white variety. 
       
      1 cup dry poha per person
      1 medium onion sliced
      1/2 jalapeno deseeded
      1 sprig curry leaves
      2 small garlic cloves
      1/4 t cumin seeds
      1/2 lemon 
      1/8 t asafoetida
      1/4 t turmeric
      small handful of cilantro leaves
      1T fresh grated coconut
      2 T Peanut oil 
      salt to taste
      sugar to taste
       
      In a pan heat some oil and add cumin seeds. When the seeds sputter, add sliced onions and stir. Saute on medium heat till they turn slightly browned here and there. Do not burn the onions. 
      Meanwhile wash the Poha in a colander and drain. Do this two or three times to get rid of any dirt and also to allow them to rehydrate. They do not need soaking. Fluff the poha with a fork. Add salt sugar turmeric asafoetida and chopped cilantro. Mix and set aside. 
      Once the onions are ready add minced garlic and chopped jalapeno along with the curry leaf sprig. 
      Turn the heat to low and add the poha mixture. Stir to coat and to allow the turmeric and asafoetida to cook. The poha will turn mildly yellow and start giving a wonderful fragrance. 
      Turn off the heat. Fluff gently and plate. Garnish with fresh grated coconut and a squeeze of lemon juice. 
      Finger licking good!! 
      Now when I make this next I will post a picture. 
      Update: Ok I felt the urge to have Kande Pohe for tonight’s dinner. So here is a picture. I am certain to enjoy it for breakfast as well. The measurement of 1 cup poha per person is too much for one meal. But carried over to another meal thats super good! I will also have some stir fried bok choy greens made in the same kadhai after the poha was done, and some cooked and sliced beetroot for salad. My family will add some haldiram sev on the poha for extra crunch! And we will all have some chaas to round off this meal. 
      *************
       
      2. Cheela/ Pudla
       
      These are essentially crepes but in the Indian style. 
      1/2 cup sieved garbanzo bean (Besan) flour. 
      Water to form a thin batter
      1T plain yogurt 
      1/2 t ginger garlic paste 
      1/4 or less green chili crushed
      2 t heated oil *
      pinch asafoetida
      pinch turmeric 
      salt to taste
      chopped cilantro (two sprigs)
      some ‘masala’ from a readymade pickle
       
       
      Method:
       
      mix the ingredients together except oil. Heat oil in a separate pan and add about 1 to 2 t of the hot oil onto the batter. It will sizzle. Use a whisk to stir thoroughly. The batter should be pouring consistency. 
      Let the batter soak for about half an hour if possible. 
      On a hot griddle, pour a ladle full of the batter. Turn the griddle with your wrist to spread the batter around. Cook on moderate to high flame. Flip the crepe when all the sides look like they are ready. You can add a little oil to the sides of the frying pan to make the edges crispy. 
       
      In my home we usually have a Besan cheela with some yogurt its a quick and filling breakfast. You can have a small salad or fruit with it to make it more complete. Or fill the center of the cheela with some cottage cheese and fold for added creaminess! 
      ****************
      3. Masala Toast : 
       
      1 slice of bread (your choice) toasted
      1/2 small red onion minced
      1 medium roma tomato diced (or whatever you have)
      cilantro (few leaves)
      1/8 t cumin (optional)
      1/4 t chaat masala ( available in stores)
      1 inch cube paneer
      1 T peanut oil
      pinch turmeric (optional)
       
      Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions. Add the tomato and cook down to mush. Crumble the paneer and add the dry spices. Stir for a few seconds to warm the paneer. Add the cilantro and though I have not written it as an ingredient, I like a few drops of lemon juice. Do not overcook paneer.
      I started this topic because someone asked for Indian recipes on the new forum. I don’t think they have seen any yet. I hope they find this useful. I am enjoying it. 
      **************************
       
      I will add recipes to the list slowly. I have to however add that after a certain ‘age’ I have now resorted to having to make sure I have three things for breakfast besides coffee: a glass of water, a small portion of fruit and a small portion of some protein not necessarily meat. 
      Bhukkhad
       

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