Goan food in a nutshell is ‘vibrant’. The dishes are interesting and just a glimpse at their elements will indicate a ‘more than meets the eye’ story. Goa, situated in West India, is distinctly different to the rest of India. Creating a patchwork in this otherwise non-pork and beef eating blanket, one can commonly finds pork and beef on the menu and of course thanks to its lovely coastline; fish. It may seem surprising and inconsistent at first blush, but to understand the history of Goa, it couldn’t have been any other way. A state whose origins were planted in Hinduism only to experience 400 years of Portuguese colonialism will certainly communicate this through its way of life, language and food.
A Goan kitchen will look very different to that of the Punjabi North. Open the refrigerator and expect to find coconut milk, grated coconut, kokum (a sour fruit used in savory cooking) and the citrus note curry leaf. From the Portuguese influence, the savory dishes incorporate vinegar, sour fruits (guava, passion fruit) and pork dishes (pork vindaloo).
Today’s dish is a Goan seafood curry that we make at Tulsi. The dish is well balanced in terms of sweetness from the coconut, acid from the yoghurt and heat from the roasted spices. Each mouthful will yield
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a cultural dialogue of two very different cultures coming together and producing a harmony of flavors.
Goan curry works well with all pearls of the ocean. Baste a piece of salmon in the sauce or cook it with a combination of shrimp, fish and scallops and if you’re not in the mood for seafood, swap it out for chicken or vegetables. All combinations work. Throw on your beach flip-flops and unwind as you eat this curry ‘Goan style”Goan Curry Ingredients
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp. ground coriander powder
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp. desiccated coconut (shredded and unsweetened)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- Kosher salt
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp. ginger and garlic paste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1) Except for the desiccated coconut, roast the spice mixture until aromatic, remove from heat. Add the desiccated coconut and grind with ¼ cup water until it is a wet paste
2) Add oil to a hot pan, sauté onions until translucent, add ginger and garlic and cook until they lose their raw flavor. Add the turmeric and season with salt, cook for a couple of minutes
3) Add the tomato sauce and the wet paste and cook until the oil separates. Check for seasoning. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp is translucent in the center. Garnish with cilantro
Saira Malhotra is a classically trained French chef and graduate from the French Culinary Institute. A British born Punjabi, Saira has grown up around food which started from her family pizza business in a small suburb of London. Having studied in France and Italy and living in the Big Apple for the past 12 years, Saira has brought her European, Asian and American influences together via the palate and communicated through her food blog ‘Passport Pantry’.