Continued from Kerala Cuisine
Goa was one of the destinations we had all wanted to visit at some stage in our lives, and so once the whole itinerary was finalised we sent out the announcement: “We have a Goa!”.
We spent three nights there, staying at the Taj Holiday Village. It was perfect for us with its extensive grounds, a magnificent pool, and its location right on the Arabian Sea with a long beach stretching northward.
Goa, itself, is a state of India and its capital is Panaji. There are many reminders of the Portuguese occupation of Goa, which continued until1961. There are remarkable church sites, including two in Old Goa which give a feeling of being in Portugal itself!
There is a wide range of architectural monuments, from old temples to old forts to wonderful colonial-style buildings and Portuguese-style houses to casinos on the water to remarkable modern engineering, such as the new national highway being completed down the southern west coast.
Our hotel had a resident celebrity chef, Chef Rego. He is now retired but had worked for the hotel chain for many years. He now takes guests on tours of the best fish and produce markets in Goa. The range is extraordinary; the non-food items are too. On returning to the resort from his guided tour, Chef Rego and his team cooked us a magnificent lunch featuring several of his signature dishes.
Apart from visiting the city-state from an historical point of view, we were able to fulfill two other dreams while in Goa.
One was to try Goan fish curry in situ. We did so at the stylish Fisherman’s Wharf in Panaji. In this establishment, with all the polish of a successful Australian restaurant, we felt we were served a very authentic version.
On our return to Melbourne we searched for a definitive recipe and came across this one by Felicity Cloake, published in The Guardian. In this highly detailed article you will see that she tested recipes from several major sources before deciding on her own version. See: How to cook perfect Goan fish curry.
We tried it and were very happy with the result. It was different to the version we had tried in Goa, but still delicious. This photo was taken before adding the coriander. Use the recipe as a guide to basic Goan curries. (If you have any leftovers, eat them within a day or two, and they will still be excellent.)
The other dream we fulfilled was to have seafood on the beach. There were several fish shacks just north of our hotel.
The restaurant recommended to us was Calamari Bathe and Binge, barely 400 metres away. We ate 400 gram fillets of the freshest of fish, cooked over glowing coals. Wonderful! This photo is from their Facebook page and shows how things liven up at night.
For a continuation of our travels, see: Mumbai.