Situated along the west coast of India and overlooking the beautiful Arabian Sea, the state of Goa is renowned for its beautiful beaches, friendly people and diverse cuisine.
The food of Goais acombination of various influences on the state throughout the centuries, and unlike some parts of India, vegetarianism is not part of the Goan people’s way of life (although non-meat dishes are, of course, available). The mainstay of the Goan diet is fish and seafood, but while meat is considered taboo in most Hindu families, the Christian inhabitants of Goa also love meat and in particular, pork. This meat is considered to be the main part of festivals and celebrations – it is made into a range of dishes from Pork Sorpotel to Momos.
But one of the most globally renowned pork dishes to come from this part of India is the Pork Vindaloo – a notoriously spicy dish, loaded with fresh red chillies and garlic, and made with chunks of tender pork cooked inGoan vinegar and jaggery. Because this dish is so spicy, rich and complex in flavour, it is usually accompanied by simple,plain, boiled rice.
Sorpotel is a dish that’s undoubtedly at the heart of Goan Christian cuisine. Inspired by the Portuguese dish of Sarabulho, it is usually presented at special occasions such as feast days or Christmas Day. This is a dish that truly represents the amalgamation of Portuguese and Goan cultures; the Portuguese love to use vinegar, whilstGoansenjoy making their food spicy and packed with flavour. Traditionally, Sorpotel is prepared with pork, as well as kidney, liver and heart, which are all cooked in a thick, hot sauce that’s infused with the warming flavours of cinnamon, red chillies, cloves. The vinegar is added to balance the strong taste of pigs’ blood but, in more recent years, recipes do not include the blood, as its pungent flavour is not to everyone’s taste. It’s widely accepted that Sorpotel improves and develops in flavour if left for a few days.
Another Goan delicacy using pork is Chourico–a spicy pork sausage heavily inspired by Portuguese cuisine. The sausages are made using cubes of pork that are seasoned and spiced. They are tied in strings and left to dry in the sun, before being smoked over a fire. Chouricos are traditionally eaten during monsoon season, when fish is in limited supply – when they are needed, the sausages arerehydrated in water, then pan-fried and served warm with rice and a spicy sauce.
If you can’t make it all the way over to India but would love to experience a true taste of Goan cuisine for yourself – whether it’s pork or fish that’s more your thing – head to one of London’s fine dining Indian restaurants. With regional chefs cooking up a wide range of authentic traditional Indian snacks, curries, thalis and drinks – all with a modern twist – you’ll experience authentic Indian cuisine that’s a far cry from the food you would find at your typical high street curry house.