A perfect assemblage of Portuguese, Arabian & native Indian cultures, Goan Cuisine is capable enough to satisfy the gluttony of any gourmet. The cuisine reflects the unique combination of the East and West which is also reflected in the culture of Goa. A very simple but rich food – that is what you can expect in Goa.
The Story Behind the Goan Cuisine
How did a regional cuisine of India managed to light an Indo-European romance? How did this cuisine become so rich and advanced?
About 500 years ago, Portuguese while searching for new kind of exotic spices came across Goa which is located at the West most coasts in India. The fiery and spicy food cooked in Indian regions wasn’t suitable to European palates. Gradually, the Goan Cuisine got molded so as to suit the European epicures. And this is how the Goan Cuisine managed to become a rich Indo-European cuisine which is now internationally acclaimed.
Also, Portuguese introduced many new edibles like potatoes, pineapples, guavas, tomatoes, cashews and chillies to Goan Cuisine.
Seafood in Goa
I consider Goa as a promised land for the people who love Sea Food. While fishes like pomfret, kingfish, shark, tuna and mackerel forms the part of staple diet in Goa, the other sea foods like crabs, lobsters, prawns, squids, mussles and tiger prawns would make you drool over them.
Goan Cuisine is seriously a treat for Sea food lovers. Isn’t it?
Cooking Techniques in Goa
Despite the richness of the cuisine, Goan food is cooked in quite simple ways. Locals in rural areas still cook their food in clay pots on firewood. There are modern techniques available but people prefer the traditional techniques so as to add the unique smoky flavor to the Goan dishes.
The miscellaneous platters in Goa may include numerous sea foods, chicken, beef and many vegetarian dishes as well. Goan Cuisine is greatly influenced by two cultures – Hinduism and Christianity.
The Hindu food is mostly vegetarian but the younger generation is quite fond of fish. The cuisine uses less heat and spices like asafetida, mustard seeds, fenugreek and curry leaves. Vegetables like lentils, gourds, pumpkins, roots etc are abundantly used. The medium of cooking is coconut oil with mild use of spices.
The Christian food is the one which is most influenced by Portuguese and involves great use of beef and chicken.
Goans put a great emphasis on the presentation of the food. And that’s what I like the most about Goa. Half of your stomach is full by just looking at the delicious and alluring food.
Some of the most popular and must try dishes in Goa are: Pork Vindaloo (A hot and spicy curry with pork as the main ingredient), Goan Fish Curry (A staple food for both Hindus and Christians), Mackerel Raechad (Fried fish with strong use of spices), Prawns Rava Fry (A terrific appetizer), and Fresh Prawn Pickle (a delicious pickle made from prawns).
The variety of dishes involving use of sea food, pork, beef, Chicken is tremendous. The desserts and sweets are also worth trying for they also possess the unique Indian-Portuguese blend.
Goa is also popular for its locally brewed Feni which is considered unavoidable by any tourist who visits Goa. In fact, you don’t actually visit Goa if you don’t try Feni.
Goa is one of the most popular tourist places in India and Goan Cuisine is one of the major contributing factors to the tourism in Goa. The foodies definitely plan their trip to Goa just for tasting lip smacking and toothsome Goan dishes.
If start appreciating Goan Cuisine, this conversation is never going to end. So, its better one treat his own self with Goan Cuisine to know what it actually is!