Goa

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Goan Curried Fish Stew

From Goa, a tropical paradise on the south west coast of India, where palm trees dot the landscape and seafood is in abundance, comes this flavorful and succulent fish stew.  Goa was ruled by the Portuguese for many years,  it remained a Portuguese territory till 1961 when it was annexed back to India.  The Portuguese influences are still evident all over Goa from the architecture, to the religion, from the language and dress to the cuisine.  Goans even have Portuguese last names as a result.  Typically the Goan curries are made with fresh coconut, and an array of spices blended with vinegar, which gives some of the curries that distinctive tangy taste.  Mostly every Goan (that’s what the the locals are referred to), has a fondness for fresh fish.  This particular dish does not have the vinegar, but rather tamarind to render the tangy taste.  I’ve used mussels, salmon, and prawns in this recipe, but you can use any fish you have on hand.  I do think the addition of mussels give this curry a nice contrast against that bright yellow, don’t you?

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Goan fish cutlets

It’s been quite a week fellow-bloggers and friends. I’ve been consumed with eating, sleeping and dreaming about WordPress.  I decided to take the Blogging 101 course online to tweak and refine my site, and it has proved to be invaluable.  There are daily assignments, interactions with the instructors and fellow bloggers from around the world.  I’d highly recommend it!

On another note, when dear Nandini first asked me to do a guest post for her blog, I happily obliged.  We had both met via the blogging world and share the same roots from Goa.  But having never lived in Goa myself, I always found myself trekking around her blog and feeling the old cravings return when going through some of her posts featuring Goan cuisine.  Nandini has a great blog, she explains the Goan culture and history pretty well, she posts a wide selection of Goan dishes and visits Goa pretty frequently.  I do believe I’ve already made reference to her blog on one of my previous postings.  Click here to learn a bit more about the Goan culture and food on her blog.  When I first learned that Nandini imported some of these wonderful spices and masalas all the way from Goa, I was hellbent on finding out how I could get some of them in my own kitchen.  Today’s recipe for fish cutlets has the popular Goan vinegar which is very hard to find anywhere else, but in Goa.  It is made from the toddy of the coconut tree.  This vinegar is used in a variety of  dishes in Goa.  Those familiar with Goan cuisine, will know the ever famous vindaloo dish that originated in Goa.  Vindaloo is made with the Goan vinegar, as is the Recheado masala I used for the fish cutlets.   I think you will find Nandini’s explanation of how the vinegar is produced very interesting.  Click on the word vinegar.

You can order some of these spices and pastes from Nandini’s website, Goan Imports.  Using Recheado masala in the fish gave the cutlets a wonderful tangy, spicy and authentic taste which is sure to please every palate.  Click on the above links to learn more.   I also used the cafarel masala/paste to make a spicy ground chicken shepherd’s pie for last night’s dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs cooked tilapia or any white fish
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 beaten egg
  • a handful of cilantro finely chopped (fresh coriander)
  • 1/2 jalapeno finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cream of wheat or panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 can of sardines
  • 1 potato cooked and mashed
  • 1 tablespoon Recheado Masala (more to suit your taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for pan frying

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  1. Squeeze the liquid from the cooked fish, breaking it apart with a fork.
  2. My secret ingredient in the fish cutlets is half a can or a can of sardines.  My mother in law used to make hers this way; I find it really adds additional flavor to the fish.
  3. Boil the potato, mash it and add to the fish.  It makes it softer inside and easier to form.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, onion, cilantro, egg, jalapeno, recheado masala, salt, pepper.
  5. Form into individual cutlets, coat with panko breadcrumbs or cream of wheat and pan fry.

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There you have it friends, Goan fish cutlets – serve it with a dry lentil curry ,chickpea curry or any other curried vegetable.  A meatless, healthy meal, just the ticket for a cold winter’s day.  Visit Nandini’s blog site for more information on Goan foods, Goa’s culture and general information on this beautiful state in India.

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I’m heading over to Angie@The Novice Gardener  with another contribution for FF #50 this week.  Her two lovely co-hosts Selma@Selma’s Table and Sue@BirgerBird will welcome everyone with their contributions.  Be sure to click on their links to take you to their wonderful blogs.

 

GOAN CARAMEL BREAD PUDDING and some history!

Goa Beaches In India

Where is Goa you might ask?  If you know the answer, give yourself a pat on the back.  A few folks look at me quite puzzled when I talk about Goa.  Goa is the smallest state on India’s west coast, it was a former Portuguese colony with a rich history.  The Portuguese ruled Goa for about 450 years.   Swaying palms, white sands and blue waters draw tourists from near and far.  Goa is dubbed the “Caribbean of India”.  My roots are Goan, (as the locals are called), but I have never lived in Goa.  However, our parents and Grandparents came from Goa, and instilled the Goan culture in us.   I recall visiting Goa about 5 different times and each time was pretty surprised at the changes.  When the Portuguese came to Goa in the 1500’s to seek spices, they brought Christianity to its shores, as a result Goans are predominantly Catholic.   Churches form an integral part of the Goan lifestyle.  Built by the Portuguese, they are constructed of whitewashed stone with magnificent interiors. Visiting Goa today, it would not be unusual to see Hindus, Muslims and Christians respecting and celebrating each other’s religious holidays. Goa is a bridge between the East and West, and it definitely shows in its people.  A Goan is said to be born with music and dance in his blood.  I recently had the pleasure of meeting Nandini via the blogsphere.  Nandini is also Goan, calls Goa home and has a wealth of information on her website.  Click here to visit her webpage and read more on the Goan culture, customs and food.  

As you can imagine, with the influence of the Portuguese, Goan cuisine is quite different from the rest of India. Today, I am presenting a Goan Caramel Bread Pudding, not exactly authentic, but pretty common in Goan kitchens.   I absolutely love caramel flan, this is a slight variation, adding whole wheat bread to the pudding mixture. For further recipes on authentic Goan cuisine, click here. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of reduced fat milk or regular milk 
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 10 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 slices of crustless whole wheat bread
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon water for caramel base
  • a pinch of nutmeg 
  • a pinch of cardamom 

Method

In a pan, melt 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon water on low heat. Keep an eye on this as it will start to caramelize and you need to act pretty fast once it gets a rich caramel color.  Pour it into a round pan, tilting it all around the base till it hardens.  Add the milk and remaining 8 tablespoons sugar in a pan and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat, and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and soak the bread in this mixture till it cools.  When cool, mash the bread and add the beaten eggs and a pinch of nutmeg, cardamom and mix well.  Pour this custard mixture into the caramelized pan.  Place the pan in a water bath and bake at 350 degrees for around 45 minutes.  Enjoy!

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I’m bringing this dessert to  Angie @ The Novice Gardener Fiesta Friday # 41 gathering.  Angie so graciously hosts these virtual parties each and every Friday.  Her posts and presentations are always drop-dead-gorgeous – don’t you agree?   I will be co-hosting with Nancy @ Feasting with Friends.  Nancy’s blog is pretty diverse, she enjoys cooking and entertaining and it absolutely blew my mind when her recent post described how she fixed her own dishwasher just before her company arrived.  She IS woman, hear her roar :)  Nancy and I welcome you, we hope you will mingle, enjoy yourselves and get to sample all the contributions.  Joining this virtual party is a wonderful way to meet new blogger friends and to gain exposure and traffic on your blog. For new bloggers, a very warm welcome.  I suggest you read these guidelines to get an overview of how the party works. Just be sure to link your post to Angie’s blog, as well as Nancy’s and mine so that we know you have arrived and can welcome you. All you have to do is click on the button below.  It will take you right to Angie’s party and her own blog.  Happy Fiesta Friday friends!

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