The Old Bakery Goa: A Hidden Gem You Won’t Find On Trip Advisor


 

 

Now when you are a baker at heart and by profession and you stumble upon a hidden gem tucked away in a hole in the wall kind of place,your joy knows no bounds. And for a bread baker there is no better excitement than to get lost in conversation with a Poder (Goan bread baker).Well these were exactly my sentiments on un earthing this old bakery nestled in a  inconspicuous bylane of Ribander Road Goa.

This Bakery has been christened as the Old Bakery of Goa for the want of a name as none seemed  to be  displayed on the facade or any signage of sorts. I recall having read about this place on one of the Goa forums as a post from a member and hastily  book marked it as a “Must visit” place.

Visiting local markets gives a great insight into local traditions and customs. The true essence of a city comes out alive by  wandering around these rustic settings  in search of local flavours I for one am a huge supporter of local artisans and vendors and ensure I keep aside a couple of hours to take in the sights and delve deep into history where food seems pure and simple and time is enhanced by a new discovery.I was keen to write about the old Goa bakery in a small attempt to revive this delicious profession before it faces extinction.

 

 

We happened to be driving around the area and asked around for directions. The local folks around this village seemed to keep directing us by saying “Halter” which translated into Konkani (the local Goan language ) means “just a little ahead” or “at the next turn”. Not quite an easy find, but driving down the the narrow and quaint lanes in anticipation of our destination made it all the more magical and worth going down the Poder path.Bread making in Goa (albeit a dying art) is still very much a integral part of the Goan way of life.Bread making is an art that was brought to Goa by the Portuguese. Traditional Goan bread is called Poee or Poi. This bread quite easily resembles the middle eastern Pita bread as it can be sliced into halves and made into pockets. The dough calls for standard ingredients of Flour or a mix of wholewheat and all purpose flour, water and yeast. However traditionally toddy was used for fermentation instead of yeast which imparts a characteristic flavour to the bread. 


This display of Poee grabbed my attention and also because we usually grab a couple of dozens of this lovely bread and bring it back to Mumbai. I often put them into freezer bags and they stay well for months.
Incidentally Pao in Portuguese means bread and a Goan bread baker is called a Poder who has a basket attatched to his bicycle and rides around the neighbourhood selling freshly baked bread. He announces his arrival by honking the horn and is sort of a wake up call in the morning.
There are various other traditional breads such as the Kakan (bangle shaped) Undo (crisp bread ) and Katriche Pao (scissor shaped bread)
I now have  Poee baking on on my to bake list for sure and would be posting the recipe here soon.

Here are some of the Traditional Goan Breads baked by local Poders.

1.Poee or Poi (Similar to Pita Bread)


 

2. Katriche Pao (literally translates into Scissor shaped bread)

3. Kakan Pao (Bangle shaped bread)

The entrance to this bakery is extremely narrow and I waited patiently for the customers ahead of me to complete their bread purchases. I then went forward and stood by a small counter with Ronald (the Poder) smiling and quite amused at my ecstatic behaviour. Probably not quite used to his regular local folks buying bread with such sheer joy and contentment. It seemed to be a family run place. I happily got my stash of Poi packed to bring home and freeze for later use. These breads were warm and fresh out of the wood fire oven. I decide to wander around the place a bit and find mounds of gorgeous sticky dough and then trays neatly stacked with beautifully formed balls of dough, proving patiently till they are well risen and ready to be baked.The atmosphere here is dark,gothic and quite dungeon like , but the aroma of freshly baked bread  wafting through the air is intoxicating and unbeatably the simple pleasures of life.

 

 

 

Viva Goa, Viva Poders Of Goa!

Location: The Old Bakery

Ribander Road

Old Goa

 

 

 

Demystifying the Perfect Potato Rosti

 

 

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I’m running out of breakfast ideas and more so as the teen is home and is certainly a big brekkie person. He’s down from University for the summer and is finally getting into a routine of sorts. Well lets say his day begins at the gym as he is quite the fitness buff. To add to this a very conscious and careful eater, which is great as he has quite some healthy ways to start his day with. But this of course leaves me in a quandary with the eternal question of What to cook?

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Quinoa Poha-A twist on Traditions

 

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Lets face it we all get stuck for healthy breakfast ideas at some point or the other. Now, while I enjoy a light one most often, consisting of fruits, Oats and perhaps an occasional smoothie, I must admit I do like to indulge in a traditional breakfast a couple of times a week.

I’ve recreated a twist in the traditional poha breakfast by using some wonderful Quinoa instead. Poha is a wholesome breakfast made in most homes in India.It’s quite easy to make up and most often has a mix of spices like cumin, turmeric and mustard seeds used for flavoring. Along with chopped onions,peas and of course chopped coriander for the garnish.

So what is Poha?

Poha is  Flattened rice (also called beaten rice) is a unhusked rice which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. These flakes of rice swell when added to liquid, whether hot or cold, as they absorb water, milk or any other liquids. The thicknesses of these flakes vary between almost translucent thin to nearly four times thicker than a normal rice grain.

Here is a twist on the regular use of flattened rice.I’ve used some cooked Quinoa instead along with the usual ingredients that Poha is usually made of. I have used this healthy ,power packed protein in a number of salads and appetizers, but never really along with Indian spices. I was hoping the end result would turn out good. And it did! It  turned out really delicious and I do hope you will experiment with Quinoa just as I did.

To learn more about Quinoa and the perfect way of cooking it you may like to visit my post at :wp.me/p2eASG-8G

 

For cooking the Quinoa use 1 measure of Quinoa to 2 measures of water and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and cover with a lid and let it cook till all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and spread in a plate to cool.

To make the Poha:

Ingredients:

1 onion
Handful of curry leaves
1 -2 green chilies cut
Chopped coriander leaves
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 Medium Potato (Boiled and cubed)
Salt to taste
Crushed peanuts and grated coconut to garnish.
Method:

  1. Heat some oil in a pan.
  2. Temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  3. Add  the onions and fry till transparent. Add green chilies.
  4.  Next add turmeric and fry for a minute. Now add the boiled green peas.
  5.  Add the cooked Quinoa and stir lightly.
  6.  Garnish with chopped coriander and grated coconut
  7.  Sprinkle crushed peanuts.
  8. Serve hot.
  9. Squeeze some lemon juice if desired.

The Farmer’s Market at Jean Talon Montreal and a Recipe

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Greetings from Mumbai!

We have moved yet once again and while it was a tearful and emotional experience in bidding adieu to Dubai for a second time,it was truly an exhilarating feeling to be reunited with family and friends in Mumbai.With numerous blog posts at different stages of completion being tucked away as drafts,I just had to complete this one.Albeit a little late as it relates to our wonderful trip to Montreal last summer.

The  summer holidays last year were driven by the fact that my teen choose to pursue university at Mcgill in Montreal.Having lived in Canada for 7 years we had of course visited Montreal on a couple of occasions.Most often with friends and hence landed up doing the usual rituals of visits to Old Montreal (which is spectacular and a must see),bar hoping in the English side,walks around the city which is a great way to discover Montreal,partake in Gastronomy which incidentally is “tres mangnificent ( a seperate post to follow on “What I indulged in Montreal”) and of course road trips to Qubec city, Mont Tremblant which are breathtaking.

It is any wonder that we may have left out the  simple pleasures of enjoying this beautiful city.For instance like a day at  the Farmers markets.Well the first week just flew by in settling him into his residence,with several trips to Target,Ikea and The Bay we got him all sorted out with linen, winter wear and all the essentials.”I’m moving out he declared,” as he had plans,what with Frosh week activities and orientation etc.Well then it was the hubs and me left to our own devices.It was a welcome change the second week around as we had done most of the touristy stuff in our previous visits.Having done my homework well  I had read up quite a bit about two very popular farmers markets in Montreal.Jean talon and Atwater being much talked about.

As luck would have it ,the market at Jean Talon was just a ten minute ride on the tube from our hotel.Well then one morning we headed just that way and oh what a day it turned out to be! The Jean-Talon Markets are  located in the Little Italy neighborhood of Montreal. In addition to the glorious array of fruit, vegetables and flower stalls are  a tasty array of specialty shops that feature spices, oils, cheeses, meats, pastries and exquisite products that are specific to Québec. It is one of the largest public markets in North America and its atmosphere is lively in both summer and winter. It’s like a little village, a place where families have gathered and generations have grown, merchants and customers alike.

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As we started our self planned “culinary tour” around this market place,it was certainly difficult to stay focused on just one vendor at a time.The foodie in me wanted to sample,indulge and buy a bit of everything,almost like a kid let loose in a candy store!Well that’s what we pretty much did.All though this post is more about the produce available and what I took back to the hotel with me.I would love to sit back another day and write  about the delightful food our taste buds sampled!

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The Jean-Talon market is the Mecca of all things delicious in Montreal. Chefs, foodies and amateur gourmets flock to this culinary Disneyland to satisfy all their food needs.From fishmongers, butchers, local cheese artisans, Quebec farmers and foragers, duck, turkey and quail eggs, flowers and fresh herbs as well as more exotic fare.Eating your way through the market as you shop is like taking a delicious trip around the world without ever leaving the city. Sure, you can go for the ordinary ham and cheese sandwich but you can also try one (or all!) of these delicious must-have morsels that will definitely make your visit even more memorable.

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And while I could probably spend the rest of my holiday touring Jean talon alone,I decided that it would be great to take some stuff back to the hotel apartment.It would be great to cook up some breakfast the next morning for my teen who would probably join in too.Well I did manage to pick up some fresh raspberries,lovely courgettes,some white truffle oil,balsamic vinegar,an assortment of unusual macrons from Croquez and what really caught my eye were these gorgeous Zucchini blossoms! I’ve read several recipes that call for Stuffed fritters.

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Of course as soon as we got back to the hotel and I was itching to try out something from my loot for the day.I excitedly called up my teen and asked him to join us for dinner that evening.And that’s what we all had for dinner: A quick stir fry with grilled chicken strips,sauteed along with some chopped up Zucchini blossoms drizzled with some gorgeous white truffle oil.For the side we had baby red potatoes with garlic and oregano and some pan grilled parma ham.

Just about the perfect dinner that I rustled up with my shopping at Jean Talon.Oh what a glorious day indeed.

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Ingredients:

  • Grilled chicken breast meat (2-3 breasts chopped up)
  • Zucchini Blossoms (2-3)
  • Olive oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic: 1 pod roughly chopped
  • White truffle Oil: To drizzle (optional)
  • Sea salt and pepper to season

Directions:

  1. Heat a small pan and add the olive oil.
  2. Add the chopped garlic and saute for a minute
  3. Now add in the chopped Zucchini and the blossoms and give it a quick stir.
  4. Add in the chopped grilled chicken breasts.Saute further for a minute.
  5. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  6. Drizzle with white truffle oil

Served with warm pan roasted baby red potatoes and parma ham.

Tres Bien!

Zespri Kiwi: 14 Day Challenge

I recently took on a 14 day Kiwi challenge which is being promoted by Kiwi supplier Zespri. The challenge required me to consume two Kiwi fruit everyday for a period of 14 days and note down the benefits of this during this period.

As a matter of fact I quite love Kiwi fruit and eat it fairly often. So the challenge seemed to be a great one to take on and well-timed too. I’ve been planning a weight loss challenge for a bit now. Apart for the a rigorous exercise regime I also wanted to start off on a fruit diet for breakfast. Some sort of Eat clean and Detox plan.

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And thus began this challenge of eating two Kiwi fruit everyday. I started off with one in the morning  and the other later in the day. I must say I felt absolutely energized and fabulous. More so it seemed to have kick started my weight loss plan. Now while Kiwi may not directly burn fat it has a very high percentage of dietary fiber which aids weight loss. Further more a single Kiwi has just 56 calories…The perfect fruit to snack on.

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This wonderful fruit also has a low glycemic index ranked at just 47 and keeps the sugar levels stable. I feel really motivated as I lost about 2 kilograms of stubborn weight and feel really great.

Friends have noticed a glow on my face and that’s no surprise as this superfood is loaded with Vitamin C which is required by the body to produce collagen which gives skin the youthful glow and firmness. I’d say Kiwi is probably nature’s own Multi vitamin A powerhouse of rich nutrients.

Some More Fun facts About Kiwi fruit

  • Kiwi fruit can improve the function of the immune system as it helps ward off effects of stress, inflammation and attack from bacteria and viruses.
  • Kiwifruit are great to relieve that bloated  and blocked feeling as it is a natural digestive aid.
  • It is also very high in antioxidants and other phytochemicals that fight damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress.
  • It is also rich in other vitamins like Vitamin E, folate and potassium.
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Kiwi Pyramid and Fun facts Source: www.Zespri.com

So to sum it up Kiwifruit consistently rank at the top of fruit in nutrition density models which tell us exactly how nutritious food is. That means you get more vitamins and minerals per gram, and per calorie, of kiwifruit than most other fruit. While my favorite way of having Kiwifruit is to just slice it. Here are some other great ways to have this wonderful fruit.

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  • Freshly sliced Kiwi fruit is a great way to jump-start your day
  • Dice them up into a salad and add a twist.
  • Add in some kiwi to yogurt, blend it and make a wonderful smoothie or here is one of the family favorites.

Fluffy Kiwi pancakes
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Fluffy Kiwi Pancakes (6-8)
Ingredients:• 1 ½ cups All-purpose Flour
• 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 cup Milk
• 1 egg
• 3 tablespoons melted butter
• 1 medium kiwi (pureed)
Directions:
1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth. Add in the pureed kiwi fruit.

2. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Go ahead and start with a Kiwi a day or perhaps two …A bite at a time pays to enjoy delicious kiwi everyday and you will see the benefits…in just 14 days…I sure did!

Disclaimer: I took on this challenge as part of the Zespri Arabia campaign. The program I followed and the benefits are purely my own. Please consult a physician before going on any fruit based or detox plans.  

Furthermore while most content and photographs are my own some of the images and written matter has been adapted from the Zespri website under prior approval.

You may want to learn more about Zespri on :www.facebook.com/ZespriArabia