Lively community now introduce self as Punjabi Goans

The city has a Goan connection that dates back to 1955, when John Baptist Rodrigues, Maharaja of Patiala's employee, made Chandigarh his base. Rodrigues was responsible for looking after the hospitality of guests staying at Punjab Raj Bhawan.

chandigarh Updated: Nov 02, 2013 00:36 IST
Hillary Victor
Hillary Victor
Hindustan Times

The city has a Goan connection that dates back to 1955, when John Baptist Rodrigues, Maharaja of Patiala's employee, made Chandigarh his base. Rodrigues was responsible for looking after the hospitality of guests staying at Punjab Raj Bhawan.

While the senior Rodrigues looked after the needs of his guests, his two grandsons - Edwin and Errol Rodrigues - were the pioneers, who brought the concept of a live band to the City Beautiful, introduced way back in 1991.

Today, the number of Goans in the tricity has risen to nearly 200. A happy and relaxed community, most of them cannot stop gushing about Chandigarh and its people. They claim that whenever they introduce themselves as Goans, they receive a lot of love and respect from the city folks that now they have made it their second home.

Most of the Goans in tricity are Christians and are working as musicians or the banking and commerce sector and education. They speak Konkani at home, but are good at Punjabi too and proudly call themselves Punjabi Goans.

Though the community formed its association in early the 80's, but it fizzled out after a few years.

Goa has a unique cultural heritage, rich and lively and it is known for several folk festivals and performances. The traditional folk music and dances have continued uninterrupted, while the influence of the Portuguese music and dance on the local culture has helped evolve new forms.

Like a true blue Goan, the city-based community love its spicy fish curry and rice. The other favourite dish on the menu is pork, although chicken is a close second.

You cannot not mention feni and Goa in the same sentence; Goans love this popular drink - a spirit produced exclusively in Goa. There are two types of feni, cashew feni and coconut feni - which is now famous throughout the country.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Errol Rodrigues, says, "We have seen Chandigarh growing and were the first ones to introduce the concept of a live band in the city. We used to play in Chopstick-2, a restaurant in Sector 7, Chandigarh, and people enjoyed our music and folk songs."

The brothers used to stage shows along with others, including their sisters Esther and Ellona, during the late eighties largely for charitable events.

Michael Nunes' family came to Chandigarh in 1956. He is the deputy manager at the main branch of State Bank of India, Sector 17, Chandigarh, and says, "We have seen the city grow and have never faced any problem in the last four decades. Initially, we used to find people from Punjab mostly in Chandigarh, but the city has become cosmopolitan now, which is a good thing. We miss the Feni here in city, but whenever we go to Goa, we bring our fair share along."

Lyndon Rodrigues, who came to the city in 1989 and joined Haryana government service in Chadigarh, later started his own printing press and now owns one in SAS Nagar. He says, "We love the city so much that, we do not feel like going back to Goa. I make annual trips to Goa and too for a few days." He adds, "In Chandigarh the basic amenities are very good but while some restaurants in city claim to serve Goan food, it does not taste the same like the one we get in Goa."

Population: 200
Staple food: Fish curry and rice
The community introduced the city to the concept of a live band concept
Most Goans follow Christianity


Goan Fish Curry
Cooking time: 25-35 minutes
Serves: 4

· 1 kg fish cleaned and cut into pieces
· 1 ½ inch lump of tamarind
· ½ cup hot water
· 1 large onion sliced
· 1 large tomato sliced
· 7-8 dry red chillies
· 2 tablespoons garlic paste
· 1 tablespoon ginger paste
· 1 ½ cup grated fresh coconut
· 2 tablespoons coriander powder
· 2 tablespoons cumin powder
· ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
· ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
· 2 green chillies slit
· 2 tablespoons vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil
· hot water for gravy (approximately 2 cups)
· Salt to taste
· Soak the tamarind in ½ a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Now mash the tamarind with your fingers to mix it well into the water. Strain through a sieve to extract all the pulp. Keep pulp aside
· Put the onion, tomato, coconut, ginger, garlic, dry red chillies, all the spices and the tamarind pureé into your food processor and grind well to make a smooth paste (masala)
· Heat a deep pan on a medium flame, add the oil and heat
· Add the green chillies, masala paste you just ground to the oil and fry for five minutes
· Now add two cups of water (add more water if you would like more gravy) and bring the gravy to a boil. Reduce the flame to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste
· Gently add the pieces of fish to the gravy and cook for 10 more minutes. Do not cover the pan at any time during the cooking
· Turn off the fire and serve immediately with plain boiled rice

First Published: Nov 02, 2013 00:35 IST