If you were to look at a typical crowd-pleaser of Goan Thali, you’d spot the veggies, the curries, the fish, (or maybe the chicken) and the rice. I think no matter what you pick, Goan food makes for a very wholesome nutritious meal that deserves an afternoon siesta. Yet, as I find my way through Goan restaurants and most food blogs around social media, I realise that the Goan Fish curry is just one pre-defined entity made of coconut and prawns. It doesn’t end there.
There’s a myriad of Goan curry preparations ranging from the humble but spicy hooman, a coconut based fish curry that is usually consumed with Kodi, a popular drink prepared from kokum and coconut. This helps take the edge off of the spice. Another crowd favourite breakfast favourite is the Tonak, a curry made with the local harvest of alsande, or the cowpea/ black-eyed pea best enjoyed with rice dosas or tender coconut pole. Apart from this the more popular ones are the tangy balchao, the spicy vindaloo, the flavourful Cafreal and the much loved, sweet and spicy xacuti.
Don’t get us wrong, the curries represent a unique aspect i.e. the Saraswat Brahmin Hindu influence and the Portuguese Catholic influence on the cuisine of Goa. They would be the first thing we’d recommend too! What’s disheartening is that the spotlight sidelines a lot of other fabulous gravies and curries that are just as lip-smacking!
So here’s our list of Goan Curries you should try when you’re tired of the Xacuti or the Cafreal:
A vegetable-loaded dish that is synonymous with the much loved festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in Goa, the Khatkhatem is as blissful as food can get! It is a crucial delicacy of the Saraswat Brahmins of Goa.
According to Sneha, a Goan Food Blogger, “Khatkhate is basically a spiced vegetable stew”. The base of the curry is made from grated coconut, lentils, and a whole lot of vegetables ranging from corn, brinjals, cucumbers, pumpkin and everything else that you can think of! For most Goan recipes, a touch of jaggery is what brings it all together.
On her Instagram blog (@thegoanfoodstory), she further adds that the addition of ‘tirphal’, or Sichuan pepper is what gives the vegetable curry a unique flavour. If you ever visit Mum’s Kitchen or the Caravela Cafe in Panjim, it’s recommended that you try their Khatkhatem. It tastes best when served with rice or the pao.
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A gastronomical trip to Kashmir
Kashmiri cuisine has been influenced by the cuisines of the Mughals, the Arabs and the local style of cooking of the Kashmiri pundits. While most of the signature delicacies of the region are non-vegetarian, there are many interesting vegetarian dishes to try as well. In the non-vegetarian dishes, mutton, chicken or fish is the main ingredient. There is abundant use of spices like cardamom, fennel, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and saffron giving the food not only exquisite taste but also rich aroma. In this article we bring to our readers 16 ‘must try’ items from Kashmiri cuisine.
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