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The 7 Best Meals You’ll Ever Have in Goa

By HannahFriday 03rd April 2015

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A wonderful place boasting bold flavours, healthy seafood and creamy curry sauces, the food of Goa is influenced by the state’s incredible history. The state of Goa exists in the middle of India’s west coast, south of Mumbai, and is a fascinating place to travel. For a chance to discover the magic of Goa for yourself, take a look at our Asia destinations page.

Due to over 400 years of Portuguese colonisation in Goa, many Goan dishes favour the use of meats like spiced beef and pork. When travelling around, you’ll also find traditional Goan fish stews and rich curries at every turn. It’s for this reason that we love Goan cuisine – it offers up a great fusion of flavours and influences that come together to create unique and inspiring dishes. Here’s a selection of some of our favourites.

Xacuti

419724005_e89c6dadd5_z Usually made using chicken or lamb, xacuti is a Goan curry dish made with a complex mixture of spices and ingredients including red chillies, coconut, and white poppy seeds. Typically the meat is marinated in a very spicy paste, before being cooked with vinegar and rum. The paste is usually made using coriander, cinnamon, cumin seeds and garlic, as well as vinegar and chillies. All of these ingredients create a truly delicious, meaty dish! Enjoy this Portuguese influenced classic with white rice.

Goan Prawn Curry

This is perhaps one of the most popular dishes on our list. It’s eaten throughout Goa and its popularity has spread over here to the UK – and for good reason! Delicious fresh prawns are served in a creamy coconut milk sauce, often dished-up over rice. The prawns are first marinated in ginger and garlic, and then cooked with cumin seeds, curry leaves, onion, green chillies and red pepper. Once all this has cooked, coconut milk is added and it’s left to simmer. If you’re a fan of hot foods, you’ll enjoy the typical garnish – a handful of fresh chillies.

Bebinca

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A delicious sweet dish – bebinca is a traditional layered Goan dessert. There are usually 16 layers, made up of ghee (clarified butter), plain flour, coconut milk, jiggery (cane sugar) and egg yolks. Thin slices of almonds are then added as a garnish, which add texture and taste. Sometimes with nutmeg and cardamom added for extra flavour, this dessert is especially yummy served with vanilla ice cream. It’s also known as ‘layered Goan cake’ and is often eaten around Christmas time, but when travelling around Goa you’ll find it in most restaurants.

Goan Tondak

11500824014_1c8f9469ae_z This veggie-friendly dish is best enjoyed with freshly made dinner rolls. It’s traditionally made with red cow peas, but you’ll find other legumes like black eyed peas, white peas or dry green peas often used as a substitute. The peas are cooked with potatoes, coconut, onions, garlic, turmeric, oil, salt and tamarind, and then the mixture is added to a masala sauce. You’ll find that this dish is a great starter or side to accompany a main meal, and it’s a great option for those of you who don’t eat meat!

Pork Sorpotel

6532263473_3fa7ac6edd_z This hearty dish is Portuguese inspired, and around Christmas time can be found in most Catholic households in Goa. Traditionally, the meal is prepared and then reheated for a short amount of time each day, before being consumed on the third or fourth day (when it tastes best). Diced pork meat is cooked in a vinegar gravy, then onions, garlic and ginger are fried together until tender. The pork is added, as well as turmeric, chilli powder, cumin and black pepper, to create a rich and wholesome meaty dish, the origins of which are traced back to the Portuguese dish sarapatel.

Rava Fried Fish

8335775197_d7ce970429_z This is another Goan classic. Whole fish fillets are seasoned with garlic, red chillies and ginger, and then shallow fried in a light semolina batter, until the outside is nice and crispy. A simple dish, it’s usually garnished with some fresh coriander and can be served alongside rice or a light salad. You’ll find that some restaurants will season their fish with varying spices, such as turmeric, depending on the chef’s taste, but the basic batter is always the same. We love this unique but simple way to enjoy fish.

Goan Nevri

Let’s finish our list with something sweet. Nevri are small baked dumpling-like pockets, which are usually consumed during religious Hindu festivals, such as the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. The stuffing always contains dried fruits, but can also include fine semolina, coconut powder, poppy seeds, almonds, cashew nuts, and cardamom powder, to name a few. All of these elements come together beautifully to create a delicious, warm Goan sweet. It’s common in Goa to save the best food for times of celebration, but see if you can find them during your holiday!

Are you inspired to try some delicious Goan cuisine? Check out our fantastic Dubai – Singapore Cruise, which stops off at the Goan port of Mormugao!

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