Goan food is renowned worldwide for its full-bodied coconut, fish and spicy pork curries.
But there’s more than just pork and pomfret to the cuisine, Deepa Suhas Awchat claims in her second cookbook, The Goa Portuguesa Cookbook.
Awchat who is CEO of the restaurant of the same name, Goa Portuguesa, in Shivaji Park, has compiled a book of 118 recipes (62 of which are vegetarian), of the dishes served in the restaurant.
Published to celebrate the eatery’s 21st anniversary in December, the Rs 795 book starts with a long introduction by Awchat about cuisine from the sunshine state. She reiterates that the cuisine doesn’t just include the better-known Portuguese-influenced Catholic dishes such as Pork Vindalho and Goa Sausage Chilli-Fry, but also dishes of Goan Hindu cuisine, which are rarely available outside Goan homes, such as Split Pigeon Pea and Coconut Curry and Solkadi (a coconut milk refresher served in Hindu Goan homes.)
The coffee table book is divided into welcome drinks, starters, soups, main courses, rice and breads, side dishes and desserts. Each section has large colour pictures of the dishes and clearly written recipes using readily available ingredients… For ingredients that are hard to source (such as teffal berries), she suggests alternatives.
Occasionally, the author offers historic nuggets on the origins of certain dishes, revealing for example, that Chicken Xacuti has its roots in Hindu Goan cuisine.
The soups include basic recipes such as spinach and potato soup and pumpkin soup, while the starters are divided into vegetarian (eg Brinjal Fritters with Tangy sauce) and non-vegetarian varieties (eg Goa sausage in bread). Ditto with the main courses, Tender Jackfruit with Coconut shares space with Pomfret Curry. Desserts include recipes for the queen of Goan desserts, the multi-layered delicious Bebinca, which few people outside Goa know how to make, and drinks include cocktails made from the Goan liqueur, Feni. The book is easy to navigate and simply written, so that even a novice cook can have a go.
* 400 grams of boneless mutton n 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste n 1 teaspoon turmeric powder n 6 tablespoons of oil
* 20 dried red chillies n 30 cloves
* 30 black peppercorns n 5 one-inch sticks of cinnamon n 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds n 40 cloves chopped garlic n 3 tablespoons of vinegar n 1 large onion, chopped n 1 large tomato, chopped n 2 cups of mutton stock or water n 1 teaspoon of sugar n salt to taste
* Cut the mutton into one-and-a-half-inch pieces. Marinate the mutton in a mixture of salt, ginger-garlic paste and turmeric powder for 20 minutes.
* Heat two tablespoons of oil in a pan and stir-fry the red chillies, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, cumin seeds and garlic till fragrant. Grind all the spices with vinegar to a fine paste. Add a little water if required.
* Add four tablespoons of oil to the pan and sauté the onion till it changes colour. Add the tomato and cook till soft. Add the spice paste and mutton and sauté for five minutes.
* Add the stock or water and cook till the mutton is tender.
* Add the sugar and salt and cook till the gravy thickens. Serve hot with pao.
Dried prawns with coconut and spices
* 5 cups of dried prawns n 1 cup of grated coconut n 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
* 1 teaspoon of chilli powder n 2 tablespoons of tamarind pulp n 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
* 1 large onion, finely chopped n salt to taste
* Heat the oil in a frying pan and stir-fry the dried prawns till crisp.
* Mix fried prawns with the onion, turmeric, chilli powder, tamarind pulp and grated coconut.
* Serve as an accompaniment to rice and curry.
* 2 cups thick coconut milk n 2 cups sugar n 12 egg yolks n 1 cup refined, sifted flour n 3/4 cup melted gheen 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg powder n salt to taste
* In a bowl, combine the coconut milk and sugar and stir in till the sugar dissolves. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating continuously. Add the flour, one tablespoon of ghee, nutmeg powder and salt and mix well into a smooth batter.
* Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a seven-inch round baking tray with two tablespoons of ghee. Add half a cup of batter and bake for 20 minutes. Spread one tablespoon of ghee on the baked layer and pour another half cup of the batter over it. Bake the second layer for 15 minutes.
* Continue greasing, layering and baking till all the mixture is used. Spread one tablespoon of ghee over the last layer. Remove from the oven.