Thursday, May 29, 2014

Goan delicacies - wine and garlic historic fusion

Traditionally yours 

It’s spicy, tangy and red hot with a sweetness that evokes the ‘drooling’ effect after every bite. Soak in the curry, (perchance it was called a sauce in the past) in rice or rice cakes (sannas). It’s a great preparation to be laid out for celebrations, and the fat adds zest to its taste. What is it?

Armed with this teaser it was time to meet with the Gen next- the Agnel Institute of Food Crafts
and Culinary sciences had planned a demo and a chance to interact with three students…Nalisha Dias, Lester Gonsalves and Rowen Menezes. Did they eat Goan food at home…Nalisha who plans to work in the kitchens of a hotel after college loves the Meat green curry, Lester who also opts for the kitchen relishes the pork Vindalho while Rowen who prefers the ‘food service’ department remembers his ‘kodi’ – fish curry. They are local youth where good home cooking is no stranger to the palate. So without much ado, the teaser was introduced to all, it was Lesters favorite preparation at home – the Vindalho.

The first question….what does one know about the history/origin of the Vindalho. Random statement like it’s a spicy, tangy preparation because of the vinegar, till Rowen hit the nail of the head. It was a preparation brought in by the Portuguese, says he, prepared by two main ingredients the ‘vin’ wine, and the ‘ail’ garlic. That was how it got its name- Vin-ail-ho. 

The second question….Rowen you got it right, but the ingredients used today differs a lot from the original recipe. Adaptations states Nalisha, it’s the chilies grown in Portugal. Correction says Rowen…the chilies were brought in from Brazil and toddy vinegar was added to it. 

So who changed the recipe…the local Goans says Nalisha. The bland preparation was spruced up with many spices.  Aha! The youngsters of today do have an inkling of the preparations of their ancestors, but when Maya da Silva decided to demonstrate the recipe as shared to her by her grandmother, the three students watched her with keen focus. She had ground the masala in vinegar and had kept the pork cubes to marinate for over 2 hours. A quick glance at the ingredients that go into the masala will give weight age to the teaser…. spicy, tangy and red hot with sweetness. Red chilies, ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorn, cumin, turmeric, tamarind….Yuum! What a transformation from bay leaf, garlic, olive oil and wine. During the cooking process Maya explains, the preparation tastes even better if you cook it on a very slow fire. You can then have it on the very same day. But it tastes even better after 3 days. In the past with no refrigeration, constant heating would thicken the gravy and also add to the taste. Moreover there was no oil used in the past, Maya smiles, the fat in the pork would be used in the cooking process. 

Here was a preparation over hundreds of years, traditionally handed down, incorporating all the 4 S’s that Goan food is known for sour, sweet, salt and spice. Hopefully the Gen Next will preserve it for posterity.

Pork Vindalho


Goan delicacies

A legacy down the ages

Culinary ‘treasures’ for the palate…this was our quest as we entered the quaint cottage of Dr Annie Fernandes. Dr Annie is a Department Head at the St Xavier’s college, Mapusa, but there is another side to this bubbly effervescent woman. It is her skill in the kitchen, Today she has invited three of her students to sample a ‘legacy’ of sorts, something which her mother would make for her at tea time. As we wait for the students, we see in showcases brass ‘oil wick’ lamp still in working condition, the garafao (the cane clad bottle) used to store wine, on top of a cupboard, old metal tea kettles that were used on the fire for brewing tea and the ceramic ones which were used on the tables for serving it.  And then the clay tawa used to make Rosache Podde’s …that was what the interaction was all about…would the teens have heard about this preparation?

My mother would prepare this for tea at 4 pm, she states as she bustles around the kitchen getting the ingredients ready for the treat. There is coconut to be grated for the coconut milk, the elaichi to be powdered…we would also use nutmeg in this preparation, she says. And then the raw rice which forms the base of the dish and the black jaggery made from the toddy of the coconut tree.

The 2nd year students (local Goans) troop in -Gable Mascarenhas, Amanda Godinho and Valerio Mascarenhas. Studying in St Xaviers College young expectant and eager…would they show an interest in the preparation? Have they heard about the Rosache Podde? They shake their heads…it’s a tea time snack….no they have not. So what do they have for tea? ‘Biscuits,’ says Gable, ‘Khari biscuits,’ says Amanda and Valerio. Let’s say snacks then…a probe. Their faces light up….chicken burgers, chicken shawarma, Domino pizzas, chorizo pao they chorus in unison. Dr Annie bustles in with the preparation. The pancakes served with ‘ros’ made of ‘mardache godd.’ The kids had no idea what was in store as their plates were heaped with the rice pancakes submerged with the ‘ros’. Silence and then…’it tastes like Godshem,’ says Gable, ‘it’s nice to be had in the morning too…the godshem makes it tasty,’ this was Valerio, ‘very similar to Manos,’ concludes Amanda.

Pancakes with melted butter and maple syrup Is the ‘in thing’ was the challenge thrown to them,
how does this preparation match up to that favorite. ‘It’s very tasty and different too,’ states Amanda. ‘And it’s healthy too,’ Dr Annie adds, ‘we used to serve it for lactating mothers and for children too. Jaggery is a great substitute for sugar especially for borderline diabetics,’ she concludes. She hastily scribbles down the recipe…a legacy of her mother perhaps going back a few generations. And looking at the happy faces tucking into this treat, ‘Rosache podde’ will remain for many generations to come too. 

Rosache Podde              Preparation: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients                              Quantity       
For the pancake                                                                                             Unpolished rice                       200 gms               Coconut                                   1 no 
Water to mix 
Salt to taste   

For the Ros juice   

Coconut                                1 no                          Jaggery                                 150 gms                                                                                                     Elaichi powder                      ½ tsp                                        

Method:                                                                                                                                                    Step 1: Make the Podde (pancakes). Grate coconut. Soak the rice. Grind to a coarse paste. Mix with a little water to make a pancake consistency.  Add salt to taste. 
Step 2: Take the clay tawa and heat. Add a daulo wooden spoon) of the batter on it (pancakes should be saucer size). Cover with the ‘maltule’ (a clay domed cover with holes) and cook on one side. The ‘vodde’ will puff with airy holes.  Remove and keep aside.                           
Step 3: Make the ‘ros’ juice. Grind the coconut and extract the milk-a thick extract and then a thin extract. 
Step 4: In a pan cook the jaggery with the thin extract of coconut milk. Allow it to thicken. Add the elaichi powder. Now add the ‘podde’s’ finishing off with the thick extract of juice. Take it off the fire after one ‘simmer’ of the preparation. Serve as a tea snack