Pure Randomness!

Pure Randomness!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I found no aloo in my vindaloo

The delicacies of Goa:
For me vacation means not having a todo list to look into every 30 minutes. But the next thing about a vacation is the food. I love food and I love eating. But I am not as lucky as I was 10 years back with eating, as I tend to put on weight now a days. Some actress or model has famously said that "no food tastes as good as being thin". That is not true for me. For me a lot of food taste better than being thin. But I don't want to be fat either. So I go in for the balancing act between eating and still not eating too much. The only time when this balance tilts a little to the eating too much side is when I am on vacation. This was true while in Goa on my last vacation too. We ate at restaurants with waiters in crisp uniforms, with waiters who bring water with one finger in it and all the variants in between. We ate at a bar in which the owner barked "upstairs" even before I entered. Once my eyes got used to the dim light inside I saw a bar full of men at various stages of drunkenness staring at us and realised why he shouted. But that bar was where I had my best meal from this travel. So food was one major (if not "the" major) part of my vacation in Goa.

When we were on our way back to the airport, we were comparing notes on which meal was our best meal and I realised disappointingly that I should have kept notes on each meal and the restaurant and it would have been fodder for a good blog. Then I thought at least I can write on the dishes I have had. So here goes a small list of dishes I tried in Goa and my take on them.

Serradura - I already wrote about this earlier. So this looks like the winner, nah, it was just that it was the easiest for me to even think about trying. But still, this is a yummy dessert.

Dodol - Dodol tasted somewhat like Kerala halva. It was not as firm as halva, so it almost felt like someone set out to make halva and got tired towards the end and said this is enough and left it a little loose. May be I tasted this at the wrong place, so I didn't take to it that much. But still worth trying out. Here is a recipe and pictures for the same from Flavours of Mumbai.

Costaz Bebinca
Bebinca - I started eating bebinca on the same day I landed in Goa and kept eating almost everyday till I found Serradura. I also picked up 2 packets of bebinca to share with friends and family back home. It is like a layered Kerala halva and very delicious, especially when eaten with ice-cream. I thought I will make it, but when I saw the 9 egg yolks in the recipe, I have postponed it. I hate recipes which ask either for egg yolk or egg white alone. I don't know what to do with the other part. I have to plan to make 2 recipes together sometime. Here is the recipe for bebinca.

Balchao - Balchao is a spicy, vinegary gravy and I ate the pork version of it in Goa. It is terribly spicy and almost made me faint. I couldn't find a pork balchao recipe, but here is one for a prawn one. It looks like prawn balchao is more popular than pork balchao.
Xacuti - Xacuti is also a spicy dish, again with the vinegary flavour, its special ingredient being poppy seeds. Here is a recipe for a fish xacuti. This one made me cry but I didn't faint.

Vindaloo - I have been looking forward to eating vindaloo as much as I was looking forward to jumping into the sea. But every time I ended up eating vindaloo I searched for the aloo (potato) in the vindaloo, sometimes even rolling my eyes at the unsuspecting waiter, when I found no aloo. Vindaloo is also another spicy gravy together with, hold your breath, vinegar. The colour of this gravy being darkish brown from the almost burnt onion made into paste with vinegar. I figured after a few disappointments that traditionally, vindaloo doesn't contain any aloo. But even now I feel it would taste good with potato in the gravy and if ever I plan to make vindaloo, I will make with aloo. Here is a recipe for the traditional chicken vindaloo without the aloo.

Sorpotel - Sorportel is almost liked pickled meet, small pieces of parboiled meat cooked in a vinegar based gravy. I ate this on the first day I landed in Goa and never managed to find it again. I am not much of a meat cook, so I wonder whether I will ever make it also.

Ambot tik - Finally one dish which is not flavoured sour by adding vinegar, but this is still sour but with tamarind.  This dish is mostly made with fish and that too shark. In all the savoury dishes I have here, this might be the only one I will cook. Here is the recipe. For all the other dishes I will wait till I go to Goa again. Or in case you decide to make any of these, please let me know. I can become the helper and taster, rolled in one.


  1. Ok, mail whatever you make with/without the egg yolks/white, whatever. I will eat them all. I too wish I could eat without having to stare at a bigger girth the very next day. I do have tennis to take care of that problem, but nowadays my knees hurt whenever I thump around on the hard courts here. We should figure out some Yoga postures, but then if we become true yogis, we won't be attracted to food anymore.....

  2. Swagata, I put on 3Kgs in 10 days in Goa even though I was 'careful' in my eating. But I just wouldn't like not to be attracted food, no no no... So let's make sure we get our dose of tennis, dance and badminton and continue eating...

  3. Great overview of Goan specialties, though I missed chouricos or sausages. The beauty of food in Goa is that you can find the best of Indian sensibilities and the best of continental food in abundance and at incredibly reasonable prices.

  4. Subhorup, Thanks. I had some chouricos (or chorizo, though I didn't know it was called that at that time) and pork sausages with that delicious tangy flavour, which I have come to connect with anything Goan. But it just didn't occur to me when I was compiling the list as I was looking for cooked dishes :)

  5. Nice Goan Special Round-up.Yummy write-up Dear.Luv it.