Colonial flavours of Goa


The Portuguese left an indelible impression on India in general and Goa in particular. While Goan cuisine is starkly divided into Hindu Goan and Portuguese Goan, there are areas where the lines have blurred over the centuries.

The use of vinegar for example is seen across the board, and so is fish. This week we look at two typical Portuguese dishes common in Goa.

Galinha Cafreal: Chicken Cafreal
This is actually a kind of a roast which predominantly uses Indian spices. If you are visiting Goa, be sure to visit Florentine in the North Goan village of Saligao; you will not get better cafreal anywhere in the world than this family-run restaurant.

1.25 kg chicken with skin, cut into large pieces,
125 gm onions, chopped
2 inch piece of ginger
7 cloves of garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
3 green chillies
I small bunch of coriander leaves
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala powder
30 ml oil

Grind half the onions with all the other ingredients, (except for the oil and chicken), in a blender till you get a smooth paste.
Marinate the chicken with this paste for at least two hours, preferably overnight.
Heat the oil in a large wok and stir fry the remaining onions till golden brown. Add the chicken and all the marinade and look on low heat till done. Keep turning so that both sides are browned well and cooked through.
Reserve the juices and serve separately with Goan bread, salad and a slice of lime.

Mol De Peixe: Fresh Fish Pickle
The original recipe calls for pomfret but, you can use black pomfret or any firm-fleshed fish.

1 kg pomfret, deboned
3 cups vinegar
1 head of garlic
2 inch piece of ginger
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
25 dry red chillies
Oil for frying

Cut the fish into small pieces and apply salt and turmeric and marinate for one hour.
Grind the ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, turmeric and dry red chillies in some of the vinegar till you get a smooth paste.
Heat oil in a wok and fry the fish until tender, for about five minutes, add the masala and fry for another couple of minutes. Now add the remaining vinegar and cook for a further ten minutes on low heat. Set aside to cool.
When totally cooled down, place the fish in a sterilised jar and cover with the masala/vinegar mixture. Store in a tight lidded jar.

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