Mumbai | Goan food is not just associated with its famous ‘fish curry-rice’ but the authenticity lies in its unique flavours of chillies, toddy vinegar and coconut. I would say the food is ‘unique’. Flavors which perhaps are difficult to replicate very easily, noted Goa-based author and food critic Odette Mascarenhas said.
Goans were some of the best cooks/chefs. The toddy vinegar, toddy and coconut flavors are awesome. Combinations so intricate that at one point of time only aunties could make those preparations, she said. Referring to the USP of Goan food, Mascarenhas said, We still have a lot of work to do to make our Goan food known in other countries.
Many people have tried, but unless one uses the right chillies and the toddy vinegar the taste is difficult to be authenticated. So one plus is that people come to Goa for the food. However there have been a few entrepreneurs who have managed to export the ingredients. So if you ask me what quality…the tartness (vinegar) and the spice (chillies), said the author of ‘The Culinary Heritage of Goa’.
Goan spices and the classical traditional masalas are inspiring different cuisines, she further said. Linda DeSouza, who runs Viva Panjim in the state’s capital city, was also of the view that the spices and chillies are what make Goan food unique. This has to be the local spices ranging from the variety of chillies used to the abundance of local produce and fish. Take for example the Feni as well.
It’s admired and consumed the world over. And it’s distilled in Goa, she said. On people’s preferences, in terms of both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian Goan cuisine, Mascarenhas said, Fish curry (Christian Goan), ‘Chicken Shagoti’ (Hindu Goan), ‘Stuffed Crab’ (Portuguese styled with cheese).
‘Pork chops’ and ‘Sausage pulao’ are also favourites. Although many homes cook vegetarian food twice a week and during Ganesh festival for 40 days, tourists have not still understood the vegetarian preparation. Some great ones are ‘Moggagathi’, ‘Ambade Sansav’ (during season), the vegetable ‘tonaks’ (depends on the season availability), ‘Tambdi bhaji’ and vegetables made from raw fruits like pineapple and jackfruit, she said.
Linda, however, says people’s preferences vary as per their beliefs and traditions. Depending on one’s beliefs and traditions it varies. Hindu Goans observe Shravan which is the lent period observed by Catholics. This in turn results in the non-consumption of fish for close to 40 days, she said.