Discover Goa seafood
Azure sea, palm-fringed beaches and smoke-flavoured food and curry make Goa a paradise on Earth.
Goans take pleasure not only in what they eat, but also in how they cook the food: in earthen pots over firewood. The basic ingredients are local products, spices, chilli, coconut oil and coconut milk. Commonly used spices are cumin, coriander, chillies, garlic and turmeric. Kokum is another local ingredient used to flavour fish curries.
The Portuguese introduced the oven-baked bread that a boy from the Padeiro (baker) delivered every morning. Padeiros (Poder in Konkani) have always been from the Christian community. Pão (bread) known as pau in Konkani, though not a staple food, has now become popular with all communities.
Fish curry and rice is the staple diet. Along the coastline, trawlers can be seen casting their nets to collect king fish, mackerels, sardines, shark fish, squid, sting rays, prawns of all sizes, crabs, mussels, oysters and crayfish.
At low tides, shellfish are collected by the women and children of fishermen and sold fresh in the market or on the roadside.
Among the most popular seafood dishes is Balchao, a preparation with fish or prawns where whole spices like cumin and dry red chillies and a little sugar are soaked in vinegar and ground into a thick paste. The result is a sweet-hot-sour flavour.
Ambot-tik is a slightly sour curry prepared with shark or stingray. Caldeirada is a mildly flavoured stew in which fish or prawns is cooked with vegetables, and often flavoured with wine. To make Recheado a whole fish, usually mackerel or pomfret, is slit down the centre and stuffed with spicy red sauce after which it is cooked. Rissois are snacks or starters, made with prawns and fried in pastry shells.
Sorpotel is Goa’s signature meat dish, and is prepared with pork, liver, heart and kidney, all of which are diced and cooked in a thick and spicy sauce. The gravy is then sopped up with sannas (ice cakes).
Vindaloo is another traditional Portuguese dish made with pork preserved in red wine or red wine vinegar and stewed with garlic. In Goa, spices and dried chillies are added. Restaurants make this dish with chicken or lamb mixed with potatoes.
Xacuti is a traditional way of cooking chicken in a coconut-based gravy with a variety of spices. The result is a mild curry with a distinctive, delicious flavour.
Another preparation is Galinha Cafreal. The chicken is marinated in a paste of chillies, garlic, ginger, spices, lime juice (or vinegar) and deep-fried, barbecued or roasted.
Chouricos are spicy pork sausages using well-salted and spiced cubes of pork. The strings of sausages are sun-dried and then hung above the fire to be cured. They are eaten in the monsoons, when fish is scarce.
There are two vegetable dishes that deserve mention – mergolho, made from pumpkin and papaya, and breadfruit curry.