Goan Cuisine: a Unique Blend of Indo-European Flavours
|January 22, 2014||Posted by under Places|
While much of India’s cuisine is vegetarian, Goa is quite different. This is largely due to the Portuguese influence, with the Europeans having controlled Goa for more than 400 years. As a result of their presence, meat was introduced to the Goan diet and has become something of a staple.
In fact, there are several dishes available here that you won’t find anywhere else in India, such as pork vindaloo and the local fish curry. This interesting mix of cultures has resulted in an eclectic culinary offering, making it a wonderful choice for foodies.
We’re going to take a look at some of the dishes that clearly blend European and Indian influences to create something that’s uniquely Goan.
Pork vindaloo is a staple of Goan restaurants now and is also a favourite overseas. The key to getting this spicy curry right is to let the meat marinade in all the spices for several hours to ensure it’s flavoursome and that all the ingredients have time to blend together.
The Goans have modified the original recipe slightly and use SAP vinegar, instead of wine vinegar, as well as adding extra spices to the mix. The result is a delicious curry that perfectly showcases a selection of Goa’s fresh spices.
Leitao pork is another dish that is indicative of how the local culture mixed with that brought in by the Portuguese. This meal is made up of a cut of pork that’s filled with roasted and chopped heart and liver, as well as green chilli and parsley.
Pork is an unusual ingredient in Indian cooking generally and it is only so widely used in Goa thanks to the extended period of Portuguese rule.
Another staple of Goan cuisine is seafood and one of the most widely available dishes is fish curry, which is normally made using pomfret. The sauce is coconut based and very flavoursome, although not overly spicy.
Ginger, cumin, turmeric and coriander are among the spices that are used in this delicious sauce. The curry itself is typically served with rice, allowing all the flavours of the curry to shine through.
Arroz doce is a wonderful example of how the Portuguese took an Indian dish and made it their own. It’s based on kheer – a sweetened rice dish – and bears a strong resemblance to rice pudding.
The ingredients are simple – rice, milk, water and sugar – and it’s often flavoured with lemon rind or cinnamon sprinkled on top. This is a great example of how the cultural exchange worked both ways.
Canja de galinha
Canja de galinha is another dish you should look out for during your foodie holiday to Goa. It was originally a Goan chicken broth that the Portuguese have adopted and adapted. The broth itself contains chicken pieces and rice, and is seasoned simply with parsley, lemon juice and pepper.
It’s a delicious meal that’s surprisingly filling – and one that’s offered extensively in Portugal, as well as in Goa.
There are so many wonderful flavours in Goan cooking that your taste buds will be delighted by what you find in the state’s restaurants. The basic beach shacks offer excellent Goan fare at affordable prices, while many of the top tourist resorts are home to westernised restaurants where you can enjoy international, as well as local, meals.