Goa In The Rains Is Magical

Travel It Makes You Speechless…Then Turns You Into A Storyteller..

 

Goa in the rains is just magical. The color green takes on a brilliant  hue and turns the lush landscape into a plush carpet.Coconut palms swaying in the breeze and the emerald green contrast of the rice  fields is a breathtaking sight indeed.

The hubby’s  from Goa. Well lets say all his ancestor’s and family lived there once upon a time and now everyone’s moved away to all parts of the world. Hence he has a natural affinity to Goa. Now being based in Mumbai, it’s a short hour’s flight and very accescssable for a quick weekend getaway.

We travelled to  Goa in  April earlier this year,just before the dear son went off to London for summer school. It was a short break for all of us, with some R &R as the main objective of this trip which is why we choose to return to Alila Diwa as the hotel’s Idyllic and picturesque setting amongst its lush green landscaping and gorgeous aquamarine pools hit’s all the right boxes for a relaxed and chilled out get away.

 

The property is gorgeous indeed and the monsoon’s seem to weave their own magic and bring about every shade of green possible. Well lets say we are prepared as predicted it had been raining incessently with some golden sunny interludes of sunshine in between and we were quite happy to sit back and enjoy every bit of “Goa in the Rains”. Having travelled to Goa on numerous occasions doing the usual touristy spots is far from what we wanted to do. But yes good food is always something the family is happy to explore.As luck would have it the ever popular Martin’s Corner is a quick drive from our hotel and the hub’s announced earlier that lunch must begin there. So that’s where we headed right after arriving at the hotel.

As I mentioned the sole aim of this trip was R &R and not really getting too touristy. So will pen down some absolute must eats around this neighbourhood.

  1. Martin’s Corner:

The restaurant is abuzz with locals and tourists alike, indulging in a lazy Sunday afternoon luncheon.Seemed like the perfect ambience with music in the background, tables filled with laughter, chilled beer and aromas’s of some fabulous pork vindaloo and Sorpotel wafting through the air. We get seated and settle down with our drinks and order some fried prawns, Goan chilly sausages which is served with some wonderful fresh bread and a Goan fried fish called “Chonak” which is a red snapper variety of fish. I’m totally sold out on the flavours of this delicate fish. Oh yes and a side of a Veg Au Gratin to get our fix of veggie’s too.A very enjoyable meal and a great place for lunch or dinner. With our bellies quite satiated we decide to return back to the hotel.

2.Restaurants at Alila Diva Goa:

The hotel too has a great variety of dining options that offer a multitude of cuisine. The breakfast which consisted of a buffet would usually be served at Vivo which had an extensive fare of  international and local fare.The Spice Club serves up a gastronomical array of traditional Goan fare. Another great place to hang out in the evenings is the Edge Bar and Lounge that is located in the main hotel area over looking a gorgeous infinity pool and the back drop of paddy fields.

 

3. Ritz Classic: Mall De Goa

The next day we decided to drive out towards Panjim and checkout Mall De Goa which opened just a couple of years ago. We had not much of a shopping list as all the fresh produce was been reserved for a must visit to the fresh markets in Goa. However the attraction of the mall visit was the Ritz Classic that serves us a delicious Fish Thali at lunch times. While they do have a large A la carte menu as well, the most sought after order at lunch would be the Thali which consists of a various fish curries, fried fish, rice, and some vegetables as a side too. So while the hubs decided to devourer this I choose a Fried Chonak (local red snapper) sautéed in garlic and butter as my main course. I tell you, I’m totally sold out on this fish.

The Fish Thali at Ritz Classic


Fish Chonak (Red Snapper) in a butter garlic sauce:

 

4. Madgao Market: A must do whilst in Goa is a visit to the fresh markets that give you a bazaar kind of feel. Infact  the new markets are covered and have a vibrant display of fresh produce, cashew nuts, pulses and legumes, local spices and lots more. The fresh fish is located in a separate area and just outside the main market are various stores that have several varieties of Pork products, ranging form the local goan sausages,curry spices and pork chops and meat. I love exploring local markets where ever I travel.They are unique and have the best of foodstuff that represent the local cuisine. Needless to say we managed to get our hands on some great stuff to take back to Mumbai.

Goa in the rains is truly Magical….The lush landscape around our hotel proper at Alila Diwa

5. Fisherman’s Wharf: 

A colleague at work very much recommended this place and it’s been on my “Must eat list” for sometime now. As it would be it seemed a short 30 minute drive from our hotel and so I dragged the hubs into driving us on one lazy afternoon.Set on the banks of the river Sia in amid the lush surroundings of Cavelossim village, this place had a great vibe. A live band playing some great music,riverside seating that over looked the water and a great menu that had an assortment of Goan delicacies and International cuisine as well. We settled for a Mutton Shagoti ( meat cooked in coconut and spices ) and a Rawa fry King fish and some Cashew feni to wash that down.It turned out to be a gem of a location and I would very much recommend this place. They do have another location in Panjim as well.

 

6. Fishka: 

Our last day in Goa and a quick run across from our hotel property is a shack style  place called Fishka. Again this place came recommend by a foodie pal so decided to walk across and grab a quick bite before heading to the airport.

Goa has numerous shacks that double up as bars and restaurants and are almost at every nook and cranny of the this beach town. Now some of the popular ones are located on the beach and are a great hang out spot and are perfect for relaxation and good food. Fishka as we discover, is a no frills kind of place with a relaxed laid back ambience.The menu is quite extensive which includes Goan dishes, Indian Chinese and International cuisine as well. The place as we learn is run by Indian-Russian duo and seems like a popular jaunt as there are not too many eating places in the vicinity. Our meal consists of some classic Lamb chilly fry served with some Poi (local goan bread), an all time favourite Fish and chips and I settle for a vegetarian paneer chili fry. A great place for a quick bite.

Well this was our quick getaway to Goa in a nutshell. There is just so much to do and explore in Goa and condensing it into a single blog post is the difficult part. Well you may like to take a look at another post on Goa that I wrote up a couple of years ago: Goa:Spice farms, Food Markets & A Recipe:  wp.me/p2eASG-yq

I do hope I have enticed you enough to visit Goa. The rains are magical indeed and most hotel properties offer great deals from June- September. The peak time of-course is from  November- March with the Carnival and other festivities that make it an interesting time to visit. The gastronomy, beaches, culture and the laid back lifestyle are every reason to make this your next destination to visit.

Happy Travels and I hope you will visit Goa some day!

 

Goa…Spice Farms, Food Markets And A Recipe

GPS

 

This past summer has been a busy one with our dear  son visiting us and keeping me busy in the kitchen too. Bless him.While it’s sometimes a daunting task coming up with new recipes that whet his appetite,it keeps me on the look out for new interesting one’s like this Goa Sausage curry I made up for him and the hubs.It was absolutely wonderful having a houseful again. Now we did  managed to get away on a family vacation to Goa, primarily also to beat the sweltering heat in Mumbai.It’s been a dry monsoon here with hardly any rains,besides Goa in the rains is magical indeed.

The quick escape to the land of beaches, sunshine and lush greenery did wonders for the soul and for the food obsessed traveller that I am.As any new journey kindles an excitement brought about by new cultures,cuisines and experiences. The Goan Hubs was thrilled to visit his own country as he often calls it.His family is originally from Goa,however moved away decades ago and now live in Mumbai.

Not that this was a first visit to Goa.There have been several quick trips to attend  Family weddings, Baby showers,Weekend trip,and well yes even honeymooned in Goa two decades ago.Most often our trips turn out to be beach centric of course or perhaps lazy weekends at the resort we stay in. While I quite enjoy the “lying in the sun and watch the world go by”,I tend to get antsy by the second day.I’m an explorer at heart and love going down the road less travelled to discover something not so touristy and that revolves around food of course.The two places on my to do list were a trip to the Mapusa Market and  Sahakari Spice farm in Ponda. Well I even managed to get the rest of the family interested in these trips and they turned out very worth a visit.

Goa

 

Mapusa Market: This place is abuzz with street vendors and established shops alike selling any and everything from fresh local produce, spices, meats and sausages,seafood to even readymade clothes,textiles and jewellery.This market captures the essence of  Goa and is a riot of colour and a hustle bustle of activity. The vendors are at their  colourful best ,travelling from neighbouring villages to sell their locally grown or manufactured wares, including spices of all kinds. Fresh fruits and vegetables are displayed in abundance. The market is well known for its jewellery, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by type of goods, with special areas for straw hats, Goan home-made chouriço and the like. Strings of Goan chouriço, spiced and marinated pork sausages, are sold here. Seedless tamrind , or amot as it is known locally, is also traded in great demand.Wandering around these winding lanes was a discovery indeed. I was even amazed at some places that sold wonderful fresh Goan bread known as Pao or Poee,which have a crusty exterior and a deliciously soft centre.Just perfect warm with butter slathered.I decided to take a dozen of these back home as they freeze well for later use.

Our bags were packed with these freshly baked Bread Buns,Dried Shrimp, Goan beans know as Fejao, Sol or also know as Kokum which is used in Goan fish curries spices like Teffla used in Mackerel curries and a bottle of Cashew Feni,to complete my Goan shopping experience.  This visit was a treat indeed and perhaps as often said “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”,I knew my hubs would be ecstatic with Goan treats from my kitchen.

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These Gorgeous fresh flowers that caught my fancy were a sight to behold.A trip to these fresh markets is a must.This market is open on all days except Sunday’s ,all though Friday’s are when they seem the busiest. Do put this down on your itinerary on the next visit to Goa.

Sahakari Spice Farm:

This lush acreage is spread over of 130 acres, 60 acres of this area is exclusively devoted to the cultivation of Spices, Fruits, Medicinal trees and Herbs.We toured these farms which was organised by means of guide who seemed well versed in her repertoire of various spices that grew here and even gave us some amazing tips on the health benefits on some of them. This farm has an abundance of Fresh pepper,Cinnamon,Vanilla beans,Cloves,Curry leaves among many more varieties.

Goa spice farm

Interesting Fact: It was quite surprising to learn that The Indian Teja Patta, is indeed the leaf of the Cassia tree (Common Cinnamon).

Health Benefits of Cinnamon:

  • Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants and has potent anti inflammatory properties.
  • Helps in reduction of bad Cholesterol.
  • Improves Insulin Resistance.
  • Lowers Blood sugar levels

It is important to source the real Cinnamon as most often what is available is the Cassia bark that imitates Cinnamon.Some great information as explained by our lovely guide on tour of this spice farm.

We ended our tour at the spice farm with a delicious Goan fare at the restaurant which is located here.A fish Thali with finger licking Prawn Curry,Chicken Curry, Fried Surmai (King Fish) and an assortment of vegetables too.Hope I’ve tempted you to travel to Goa and discover this hidden gem.

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Well a trip to Goa is not complete without the mandatory stock of Goa Pork Sausages.There are quite a variety available to choose from.Some branded ones like Costas, J0a0’s are readily available in the market stores or perhaps you may even like to buy some freshly strung one’s that the vendors sell  in Mapusa.I picked up an assortment as they stay well refrigerated. So if asked what’s for dinner? GPS aka Goan Pork Sausage was my answer the other night,which instantly lit my the hub’s face and the son quite enjoyed this too.

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 Recipe for Goa Pork Sausages:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Packet Goa Pork Sausages( Meat removed from the casing)
  • 2 Medium Onions (sliced finely)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1-2 Green chilies (slit lengthwise)
  • 2 Small Potatoes (Cubed and Boiled)
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped Coriander for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon Tomato Paste

Method:

  1. Remove the sausage meat from its casing.
  2. Now heat a pan and add some oil to it and fry the onions till medium brown.
  3. Next add in the green chilies and ginger-garlic paste and fry for a few minutes.
  4. Now add in the sausage meat and fry well.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste and add water enough to cover the mixture.
  6. Let this simmer for a good 30-40 minutes so as to cook the meat well.
  7. Once reduced add in the boiled potatoes and garnish with chopped coriander.
  8. Remove any excess oil that may come up during cooking the sausage.
  9. Serve with Pao or any bread.

Goan Prawn Curry: A recipe from My Mum-in-laws kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of your home. Now if you love cooking just the way I do I’m sure you would agree with this. It is your space to recreate a magical recipe or experiment with another or perhaps follow one that has been handed down from one generation to another. A very warm welcome into my kitchen dear readers and here is a recipe for a Goan Prawn Curry.A recipe handed down by my mother-in-law and one that I treasure.

It has over the years become my to go Curry and a family favorite too.

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I learned to cook fish with my Mother in-law patiently explaining me the process while she cooked, while  I hurriedly jotted  down the notes. Now this was a couple of decades ago when I was a newly wed. I still have all those yellowed notebooks with hand written recipes. Most of them seem na o brainer now as I seem to have mastered the art of Goan Cooking, being married to my through breed Goan husband and a finicky one that too. Well at least he is one when it comes to cooking fish the Goan way.
I still treasure those notebooks though .Some pages seem frayed and tattered and some still legible. While I seldom need to look at this recipe as I’ve been cooking it for years now ,I thought it would be the perfect one for my blog post.

 

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The curry uses simple ingredients of fresh prawns, onions, garlic paste and a paste made up of freshly grated coconut,red chilies and roasted coriander seeds. It is a wonderful,l tangy and flavorful curry and best served with rice.

With Love From my Kitchen to yours…

Ingredients:

  • 250-300 grams medium Prawns ( De-shelled and deveined)
  • 1 medium Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons Coconut Oil

To be ground to a fine paste:

  • 100 grams fresh grated Coconut
  • 4-6 Red chilies (preferably Bedgi)
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 2-4 pods garlic
  • 1 teaspoon roasted coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds
  • a small ball of tamarind

Directions:

  1. Wash the prawns under water and marinate with a pinch of turmeric and chili powder and keep aside.
  2. Grind all the ingredients under the paste mixture with a little water.
  3. Heat some coconut Oil in a pan and add the Onions and fry till medium brown.
  4. Add the prawns and mix well. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or till prawns are cooked.
  5. Add the ground mixture and fry for a minute.
  6. Now add sufficient water to make it a medium thickish curry consistency.
  7. Serve with rice.