Once you get to Goa, apart from the scenic beauty, un-ending parties and all the fun, the one thing that everyone dies for is authentic Goan food. Being a coastal town on the shores of the Arabian sea, the staple food of Goa consists of rice, seafood, coconut, vegetables and local spices which are some of the traditional main ingredients in Goan cuisine. Goan food is similar to Konkani or Malvani cuisines which uses a lot of spices and flavours and so the aroma of food is always lingering inside you making you hungrier all the more once you start muching on them.
Here is a list of 7 authentic dishes you should definitely try when you visit Goa next.
1. Goan Fish Curry.
Goan Fish Curry is the staple food of every Goan around the world, and not so for nothing because this dish tastes the best with anything you eat it along. The preferred fish here is usually Tuna or other fishes with firm white meat, but you can go with any kind of fish that suits yous taste. Goan Fish Curry is generally free of oil, contains lime juice, turmeric, salt, black onion seeds and curry leaves. The sauce, which is the most important part of the dish, is where the spices are added to and is mainly made up of garlic, turmeric, red chillies and coriander seeds. Goans also add Kokum, the dried skin of a fruit belonging to the mangosteen family, to add a specific flavour to the curry. Some stalls also add clove in the mix which adds a tinge of sweetness and great aroma to the food.
If reading this got your mouths watering, make sure the famed Goan Fish Curry is on your to-eat list.
2. Prawn Balchao.
For everyone who loves spices, Balchao is one dish that you should definitely give a try. This fiery, tangy sweet and sour dish from Goa is more like a pickle and tastes best when served in its authentic way – along with hot boiled white rice. Coconut toddy vinegar is one important ingredient in this dish, because it’s Goan and so why not Coconuts! Balchao doesn’t necessarily need to be made of prawns, but it is the most preferred variant; it is also made out of fish or pork. The key ingredients in this include tomatoes, onions, ginger-garlic paste, curry leaves, dried red chillies, black pepper corns, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, mustard seeds, clove, sugar and of course, cocounut oil and coconut toddy vinegar.
From the ingredients, it is quite clear you that will start spitting fire like an chinese dragon once you have something this spicy, but then you know you have had something really authentic only when every taste bud tingles in your watery mouth!
3. Chicken Xacuti.
One of the many famous Goan dishes cooked with a medley of spices, Chicken Xacuti is a unique dish that consists of Poppy seeds and Kashmiri Chillies. The pronunciation “Shakuti” is most probably derived from the word “Chacuti” which is Portuguese, although the Portuguese Chacuti is brownish in colour as compared to the red Goan Xacuti. The Goan version of the dish is loaded with ‘masalas’ and so when you have it, expect an explosion of spices and flovours when you chew on the tender curry meat. Other ingrediets in the dish include ginger, garlic, corriander, chillies, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, aniseed, black pepper corn, poppy seeds, Kashmiri red chillies, star anise, maize flower and nutmeg.
4. Mussels Rava Fry.
Fried mussels are so tasty that you can eat it like chips, although they taste a lot tangier and spicier than normal chips. Mussels are known commonly as Xinanios in Goa. They are small shelled creatures that are found stuck to rocks, usually after the monsoons. Mussels are usually collected by hand, cleaned, mixed with the ‘masala’ and then fried after dipping in rava. Frying style depends upon the needs of the person consuming; some prefer deep fry while others prefer shallow fry.
5. Chicken Cafreal.
For those who have savoured the mouth watering taste of Tandoori chicken, Chicken Cafreal can be an added bonus as it is more like the Goan version of tandoori chicken. It is green in colour as it is cooked in green chillies and corriander leaves. Other ingredients include giner, garlic, poppy seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon, cumin seeds, turmeric and tamarind.
6. Pork Vindaloo.
The word vindaloo is a garbled pronunciation of the popular Portuguese dish carne de vinha d’alhos (meat marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic), which made its way to India in the 15th century along with Portuguese explorers. In Goa the dish was tweaked, incorporating chiles, tamarind, black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom. When it was exported to England, it became another hot curry, losing its vinegar tang and spice complexity, but the Goan version stays close to the original.
After all the spicy and tangy treats, let’s end the list on a sweet note. Bebinca is a Goan dessert and this thing is a bomb in the mouth because a traditional Bebinca has 16 layers made up of different ingredients including plain flour, sugar, ghee (clarified butter), egg yolk, coconut milk and almond slivers. It is usually served warm along with cold ice cream. It is also a common dessert in Goan restaurants and is also easily available to carry and preserve for a long time or eaten fresh.