Let’s go to Goa!
How can one overlook beautiful Goa when in search of Indian food recipes? Close to Mumbai, Goa is a tourist’s paradise which becomes more verdant in the rainy season. When it rains in Goa, the rivers become bubblier than before, the leaves on the trees are sparkling clean and the wind chimes through them musically. To a new visitor, monsoon in Goa is full of surprises – it can mean sudden bursts of torrential downpours that usually last for a short time, although there are occasional periods when it rains for hours on end. These sudden bursts are always succeeded by bright sunshine that lights up the countryside in brilliant colours.
Being close to Arabian Sea, Goa boasts of excellent seafood which add an excellent list toIndian food recipes. The fresh supply of seafood and coconuts dominate delicacies of Goa. During the monsoon, from mid June till end September, fresh fish is scarce and people have to be satisfied with fish caught in the rivers and creeks. During this season, it is salted shrimps and mackerels (prepared in numerous mouth watering ways) that find their way to the family table. It’s ‘no-fishing’ time during the months of rain and the fish loving locals are well prepared. They dry, salt and store seafood to use when there is no fresh catch of the day.
The requisites for authentic Goan cooking are certain ingredients peculiar to it like triphala and kokum. Hardly any Goan dish is complete without coconut as one of its main flavouring agents. Fresh coconut, in one form or other is added. Fish ambotik served with rice is one of my favourite combinations.
A Goan wedding is a many splendoured affair. The wedding ceremony comprises of a number of rituals and the end of which the guests and the hosts partake of a sumptuous meal the menu of which is more or less fixed. It comprises of lonche (pickle), papad, coconut chutney, koshimbir, muga gathi (a gravied dish of whole green gram), batata bhaji, bhajee (vegetable fritters), panchamrut (a sweet sour chutney of coconut and dry fruits), varan bhaat, masale bhaat, jalebi, shrikhand and finally rounded off with tival (kokum extract tempered with mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves).
The various influences have made the Goan cuisine an interesting blend of tastes as a result of which it has a phenomenal repertoire of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Though the recipes and techniques of the two major communities – Hindu and Christian – are different but as a rule the cuisine that comes under the umbrella of Goan is simple but chilli hot and spicy. Traditionally the food is cooked on wood fires in clay pots that are fired by the village potter. Though in the modern times, quite a few Goans have had to leave their land in search of greener pastures, they still get homesick for the smoky flavor of the fish curry and rice that get their distinct taste being cooked in crowded sweaty, smoky kitchens in earthenware pots over wood fires, a tribute to the legacy of Indian food recipes.