Goa with its beaches and tourist spots may be a go-to holiday option for a lot of Chennaiites, but how much do we know about Goan dishes?
There isn’t a large influence of Goan and Portuguese food in Chennai and its dishes, though a lot of the ingredients used are similar. Coconut, red chillies, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper are used liberally in both cuisines, but their ratio and method in which they are used in cooking vary greatly. Some of the most famous curries from the cuisine are the vindalho (sea food cooked in sauce), guizado, xacuti and balchao.
Goan-Portuguese cuisine is healthy as there is very little oil used in all its dishes. Also, most of the items are cooked in their own juices. This makes them retain their flavour to a large extent.
One can make many of the Goan-Portuguese dishes at home with fairly simple recipes. Some of the tasty and healthy dishes like Mexilhoes em Limao e Pimento just involve lime and pepper mussels. This cuisine gives scope for vegetarian dishes such as vegetable caldin (a Goan-Portuguese inspired mild vegetable curry) and non-vegetarian dishes such as Escabeche de Bacalhau (codfish with tomato gravy, potatoes and olive oil) alike. So, with just simple infusion of spices, vegetables or meat, one can come up with a variety of tasty dishes which are healthy options for the diet conscious too.
(Chef Vasco Silveria was at The Raintree, St Mary’s Road, for the Goa-Portuguese Food Festival which concluded recently)
- 1 whole chicken (1.2kg) into 2 chunks
- 250 gms dry red chilli
- 1 tbsp mixed cloves, cinnamon and peppercorn
- 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2 large onions chopped
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt to taste
- Oil as needed
- Grind the chillies, whole spices, ginger, garlic, tamarind and vinegar to a fine paste and keep aside.
- In a kadhai, fry onions till brown, add the chicken and stir fry for five minutes. Add sugar and masala paste and fry for about five minutes.
- Add water and simmer on a gentle heat till chicken is tender.
- Serve hot and garnished with coriander sprigs.