Saturday, January 19, 2013

the Goan food we loved and enjoyed in Goa...

 We were in Goa for an adventure holiday in the first half of this month, enjoyed every moment there do I need to mention? We did a biking (cycling) expedition in the western ghats spanning 5 days and some 300 kms, it was a challenging task for me but absolutely worth all the pain we took. Yes, myself and Arvind both were a part of this expedition. Last time I was alone in an all women group for the Kullu to Khardung-la biking expedition, you would remember if you are a regular reader of BKK.

So Goa was enjoyed to the hilt, the greenery, the sea and the sun and all the seafood we could eat. After the expedition. We stayed back in Goa for 4 more days just to enjoy the local cuisine and to have walks around the markets and beaches. Fortunately, there was an art festival going on at the Kala Academy in Panjim where we found a nice Goan food stall run by a local women organisation. We tasted a few things and were hooked to it. So much so that we used to head for this stall after all the wandering during the daytime and get our dinner packed from this stall, go back to our guest house and enjoy a lavish meal of seafood and local breads. Even the desserts were local all this while. Let me introduce you all to a few foods we loved in Goa.

This a mussels curry with a coconut base and mild spices. I had seen fisher women selling these on the streets during my cycling expedition and had never imagined these would be so tasty. We had it everyday for dinner along with either chicken Cafreal or a crab curry.

This is a Squid stir fry with bell peppers they call squid pepper fry. The first time I ordered this dish from a menu there I thought a black peppercorn heavy stir fry is in order, it turned out to be bell peppers much to Arvind's dismay. He is intolerant to bell peppers but I just loved it. So when I saw it here on this stall by ladies, I got it packed for myself. It's a bit oily but really tasteful with the scallop rings soft and supple and not rubbery.

They had a traditional Goan/Maharashtrian flat bread made with rice flour called Bhakhri. This is an interesting soft bread that suits well with these curries.

They always have some Goan pao too. We loved Goan pao (bun) and this Bhakhri with this crab curry and mussels that we brought back to our guest house room one day.

I would tell you a secret, we used to bring the packed food to our room and not the dining hall of the guest house (NIO science center guest house) just  so we could suck the hell out of those crabs mercilessly in the privacy of our room :-) It was so so yummy believe me.

Look at the rich coconut based curry and the small crabs that were so soft and yet meaty. Very fresh flavors of the sea.

Other curries we loved were the Cafreal as we otherwise also love a coriander greens chicken I cook at home.

Another interesting curry we had at a spice farm was a coconut based (quite predictably) thin curry that had a very interesting vegetable in it. On asking the owner told me this vegetables was called Bimli in local language and was a little sour in taste. This thin curry was served for breakfast with a Pao baked in village bakery. I couldn't take a picture because we were all ready for our next ride of the expedition early in the day, all packed up. I tried to recreate that recipe with the same vegetable that I brought back and loved it all over again.

We enjoyed a few desert snacks as well. Here is a fried modak that is a stuffed pastry with a sweetened coconut mixture.

Here is a gujhia shaped stuffed pastry that they call karanji and this one is stuffed with a mix of chana dal and coconut.

Here is another fried cake like dessert snack that is again coconut based. Made of rice flour, coconut and sugar, this one can be stored for a few days.

Here is another stuffed pancake that used the same ingredients but the cooking technique is different. The name I forgot.

We tasted a halwa like dish cooked using broken wheat (daliya) and set into a mould and then cut into pieces like cake.

In this picture you can see some puran poli wrapped in a cellophane as well..

Here is another interesting take on the same set of ingredients with a bit different seasoning perhaps. Steamed into a leaf cone, this was stuffed with a coconut and jaggery mixture. Very rustic in taste but delicious. Note the serving pot that is shaped like cashew apple.

We found a nice bakery in Panjim fish market called P. Jackson's. This bakery is a very humble place but his bakes are really authentic and yummy. You would find Goan sausages and spice mixes at his shop and a few meat and seafood pickles also. We tried a sweet bun called Bolls which he said were a part of wedding gift from the bride's side to all the neighbors of the groom. Such lovely traditions. Here is the bun we enjoyed on it's own, sometimes with a dab of butter. It will make a nice breakfast bread with hot milk.

These Bolls (the sweet buns) are made of rice flour (I suspected some wheat flour as well), coconut jaggery, coconut meat and toddy to ferment. It had a very rich and complex taste to it, mildly sweet and dense. They say it keep well for 2 weeks and is discarded only when a layer of fungus is seen on the surface.

We also tasted the famous Dodol and Bebinca.

Here is the Dodol which is a custard pudding made using coconut milk, rice flour and eggs. Sweetened with coconut jaggery again. I am planning to cook this one as well.

Very tasty and addictive, mild sweetness that is complex with the use of coconut jaggery.

Bebinca is made using egg yolks, coconut milk and nutmeg powder and is a layered cake. Very rich flavors but a dense cake that fills you up quickly.

Interestingly, almost every single thing had coconut but such rich and varied flavors. The only thing we had there without coconut was the Sol kadi which is made using some coconut milk in North Konkan region as a friend told me. Goan Sol kadi is a deep pink drink that has some chopped green chilies, garlic and coriander greens floating on top. It was really very tasty with fried fish dishes we enjoyed at out guest house kitchen.

One more very interesting recipe was a salad with dried shrimps that was served at the guest house kitchen. The dry shrimps were stir fried and then mixed with raw onions and scraped fresh coconut  It was so yummy I decided to look out for dried shrimps in the local fish market, and finally found it. The recipe will definitely be shared here.

Goa was a flavorful experience. I would definitely try a few recipes myself, brought back a few ingredients and share the recipes here as well.

Hope you like this post with my foodie encounters in Goa. Wishing you all a tasteful and yummy year ahead...


  1. Glad you enjoyed Goa. I had seen the cyclists and now I wish I knew you were a part of it. Dodol by the way has no eggs.

    1. oh you saw the cyclists Archana? he he..
      Good to be corrected on Dodol. It was yummy and I intend to find out a recipe and make it one day.

  2. Omg almost everything is new for me,,.

  3. i enjoyed your goan food post... in fact i have had all the sweet stuff mentioned there. the pancake like sweet is called alle belle. its basically maida-egg-salt-water batter made into pancakes and then stuffed with fresh grated coconut-jaggery-cardamom filling... really yummy.

    the rolls stuffed in leaves is called patholi. rice batter and coconut-jaggery stuffing steamed in turmeric leaves or banana leaves. i have a post on the blog. its easy to make and we make it when the turmeric leaves are available during the shravan months.

    the dodol can also be made with ragi flour. i make this at home with ragi flour and without eggs.

    your post reminded me of the time we spent in goa & and the mussel curry the way my mom makes it.

    1. Thank you Dassana for the names and info you added here :-)
      I am missing this food :-)

    2. welcome sangeeta. you can easily make great goan food at home and then you won't miss. not sure where you will get mussels or crabs in delhi, but you can make the goan fish or prawn curries along with the goan sweets.

  4. Wow ! not only you cycled all the way , you even managed to click the food ! I like Goa and people and has been visiting every year since 1991 .

  5. Nice post on Goan food and as Archana pointed Dodol has no eggs, Bebinca has them...

  6. The name u forgot us alle belle