A Foodie, Traveller and seasoned food and beverage professional with in-depth knowledge about alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
Goa a Land of history and tradition
India a country known of its unique culture, heritage and tradition, unity in diversity and variety of cuisines from north to south and east to west. in this diverse nation lies Goa a coastal state in southwestern India.
Goa was a under the Portuguese rule until 1961, hence the rich culture takes its influence from the Portuguese colonies in Goa. Goan cuisine is therefore an amalgam of Portuguese and Indian cooking.
Goa is known for its tropical climate, having influenced the cuisine of Goa making Goan food intense in spices and flavours. The staple food of the people of Goa is fish curry and boiled rice. Goan cusine calls for the use of coconuts, rice, fish, pork, meat and local spices like kokum.
Delicacies of Goa: 15 Goan Dishes That Will Make You Drool!
1.Goan Fish Curry
Traditionally called as "Nusten Chi Kodi". The Goan Fish Curry or locally known as "Xitti Kodi" is the staple diet of every Goan making the most famous food of Goa. The Goan fish curry is loaded with a variety of spices along with coconut. Raw mango or "Amsol" is also used to give the dish a tangy flavour. The main ingredients of the dish are a decent sized Pomfret and a raw mango. Instead of Pomfret, Kingfish or Prawns may also be used. This Goan dish is served along with rice.
2. Tisreo Sukhem
In Konkani "Tisreo" means 'Clams' and "Sukhem" means 'Dry'. This is a simple yet delicious dish. Grandmothers in Goa go to the sea coast early in the morning to fetch fresh Shellfish near big rocks and scoop them out with a spoon.
This delicacy is authentically prepared using homemade palm oil, sauteed onions, tomatoes, green chillies, turmeric, red chillies and lime juice finished with fresh coriander.
3. Crab Xec Xec
Crab Xeque Xeque is a popular dish of old Goa especially found near the famous UNESCO World Heritage 'Bom Jesus Basilica' in Panjim, Goa. According to ancestors, this dish is prepared in memory of the crab who gave St.Francis Xavier the Crucifix that he had lost in a storm.
Xec Xec means thick, shaky and sticky gravy, which is commonly prepared by the Goan fisher folks. The main flavour of the gravy comes from the type of crab used in the preparation, light pink colour crabs that have a cross on them.
Each spice is first dry roasted till it changes colour. Coconut, red chillies, fresh garlic, ginger, cloves, peppercorn and coriander seeds are used to prepare the masala. The masala is then cooked with onions and tamarind pulp. It is enjoyed with poee or rice
4. Shark Ambot Tik
Ambot Tik is a Portuguese influenced Goan food. 'Ambot' means sour and 'tik' means spicy. Red chilies (Kashmiri) are used to add spice to the dish and Kokum (Garcinia indicia) or Tamarind is used to make the dish taste sour. Shark fish is diced and tossed with onions, tomatoes, and masala.
Apart from Shark other fish like Squid (māṇki) or Ray Fish (vāghōḷe) are also used to prepare Ambot Tik. It is mostly prepared in Monsoon and Winter seasons.
5. Fish Recheado
'Recheado' in Portuguese literally means 'stuffed' A Portuguese influenced dish that consists of a Pomfret, Mackerel, or any other fish stuffed with a spicy and tangy masala.
Recheado masala is fully ground in palm toddy along with dry roasted Kashmiri chilies and whole spices like cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves and ginger garlic paste in a ratio to 1:1:1:1. This dish may be served with warm Goan bread.
6. Samarachi Kodi
The word “Samar” means Sambar and ‘Kodi’ means curry. The curry gets its flavour from the dry powdered Goan sambar masala made by the local Goans. Samarachi Kodi is a dish prepared during the monsoons. It is a dry prawn curry. Dry prawns, onion, coconut, tamarind and tomatoes are the main ingredients with a spicy, tangy masala. Coconut milk is added to give it the typical flavour and texture. Some also use Bombay ducks instead of prawns. Samarachi Kodi is served best with hot rice and pickle.
'Soro' in Konkani translates to alcohol or liquor, Sorpotel is also known as "Sarapatel'. It is the most famous dish of Goan Cusine prepared for weddings, naming ceremonies, roce, communion or any special occasions.
A secret ingredient lent down by ancestors is that traditionally a little pork blood is used to enhance the flavour of Sorpotel.
The Sorpotel masala is ground in vinegar, which is then cooked in oil and pork blood. The pork meat and offals are cut into small pieces and shallow fried in oil along with onions and Sorpotel masala. The meat is then simmered for 30mins on a slow flame. The longer the dish is refrigerated and rested the better it tastes. It is served along with sannas. Some people also eat Sorpotel with Pao for breakfast
8. Goan Pork Vindaloo
'Vin' comes from the word vinegar and 'ahlo' means garlic in Portuguese. It is the most commonly prepared dish at South Goa. This dish is prepared mostly during Roce ceremonies and Weddings.
This dish consists of pork, onions, chillies, garlic along with Vinegar and other spices. Masala is prepared using the chillies and other ingredients and is then mixed with meat and vinegar(Palm Toddy). This mixture is stored overnight.
Its unique flavour comes from the chillies and whole species used which is ground in Palm toddy vinegar. Some Goans like to substitute vinegar with Feni(Cashew Fruit Liquor) to prepare the masala.
The older the dish gets, the better it tastes as the meat gets marinated properly and absorbs the flavours.
9. Feijoada - Red Beans With Pork
Goan Feijoada is a traditional and historic Portuguese influenced recipe. This flavorsome thick, spicy and tangy red gravy is made with Salted pork, masala and red beans. Coconut milk may be added instead of water for the gravy as coconut milk will add a unique flavour and give a thicker consistency. Goan Feijoada is best enjoyed with steamed rice.
10. Chicken Cafreal
In Goa, Caferal means “Komi” which means 'chicken'. This is the most mouth-watering and tasty Goan dish. This is a green tangy dry preparation spicy and minty in flavour. Mostly whole chicken legs are used for preparing this dish.
Green Goan masala is prepared by using whole green chillies, fresh coriander, mint leaves, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves with fresh ginger garlic and lemon juice. The chicken legs & thigh is then marinated with this masala and cooked on low flame till dry. Served along with sauteed potatoes or wedges.
It is a very popular dish enjoyed with drinks in local bars or beachside Shacks
11. Chicken Xacuti
Most famous non-vegetarian coconut based gravy served during Goan weddings and feast. The uniqueness of the gravy comes due to the use of poppy seeds and whole spices such as cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds & peppercorns which are dry roasted and then ground along with coconut which gives it its brownish hot colour. The gravy goes best with Goan Pulao & Sannas.
Sorak means 'sour'. It is a simple traditional Goan red vegetable gravy which is sour and spicy in taste, which is usually prepared during the monsoon season when fish is not available.
This dish is prepared by putting together onions, tomatoes, whole red chillies, coconut, tamarind, coriander seeds & turmeric powder with a pinch of cumin seeds.
The taste of this dish comes from the earthen pot in which it is cooked. This pot is known as "Touli" made from red Goan mud.
It is usually enjoyed with hot steaming rice and dry fish
13. Goan Khatkhate
Goan Khatkhate is a Goan mixed vegetable stew. Lentils like Toor dal(Split Pigeon Peas) and Channa dal(Bengal Gram) are mixed with various vegetables like carrots, corn, potatoes, French beans, green peas and drumsticks. Spicy coconut paste made out of Kashmiri red chillies and grated coconut is added along with other spices. The dish is famous among the Konkani community in Goa. This healthy stew is served along with rice and pure ghee is poured on top before eating.
14. Poee or Poi
Poee or Poi as per Goan ancestors got its name from the stoned goan oven in which it is prepared, this bread resembles the texture of Goan rocks. It is most famous bread of all Goans especially in North Goa.
Often referred to as Goan Pita, Cuniachi Poee or Bhakri, it is a favorite bread of all goan Nana’s & Papa’s (grand-moms & grandpas) due to its high nutrition value. It is also known as Poder’s (breadman) best friend.
It is made from whole wheat flour and Goan toddy(Palm Wine) is used for fermentation of the dough. Once the dough is prepared it is then rolled and dusted with wheat bran. Some mix the whole wheat flour along with the bran while kneading the dough.
This bread is hollow from inside and mainly used for stuffing roast preparations, chilly fries and Goan chorizo.
Sannas or “Sannon” got its name from the round vessels used to prepare them. It is the most famous well known traditional and one of the most common dish which is always prepared on every occasions & feasts. Also known as a type of Goan bread, Goans commonly describe it as cakes due to its sponginess.
It is always eaten with any goan gravies. The main ingredient used in Sannas is goan palm toddy(Palm Wine) which is freshly extracted early in the morning.
Rice is soaked for 6hrs-15hrs and then ground to a thick batter after which freshly ground coconut is added along with palm jaggery and palm toddy. The secret to perfects Sannas that every goan religious follows is by placing it at a warm place for fermentation.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Samuel Henry
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on July 30, 2020:
Reading this makes me hungry. I love food cooked in coconut milk. I have not tried eating Goan food but I already know that I like their food. Thanks for sharing the Goan cuisine.
Liz Westwood from UK on July 24, 2020:
This is a well-structured and interesting article. Your illustrations are excellent. I have learnt a lot about Goan cuisine from reading it.
Marisellda D on July 22, 2020: