You know you are in Goa when you can smell the Mandavior when you are mesmerized by a skyline made up entirely of coconut trees dancing in the cool breeze of the Arabian Sea. Yes, Goa is the coastal heaven of India. But there’s much much more to this tiny little laid back State than just beaches and alcohol. For nature lovers, besides the beaches, Goa offers 2,000 square kilometres of forest cover (out of a total area of 3,700 square kilometres) with some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery in India.
Doodhsagar Waterfall near Goa-Karnataka Border
If you’re exhausted after swimming in the sea or hiking through the rainforests, I would recommend resting your body and soul at some of the most serene, tranquil and spiritual places in India; the temples of Goa. The temples here were witness to a gory period during the Portuguese rule who sought to destroy & rob every Hindu temple that fell in their territory. But those were the dark ages of Goa. The state and its temples are prospering now and attract thousands of visitors every year. In fact, these temples now offer lodging within the premises at extremely affordable prices. Dump your hotel for a night and stay here instead. Wake up to the birds chirping in the woods, take a morning walk along an old footpath lined with coconut trees sipping on fresh coconut water or bite into that kick-inducing starfruit, or maybe even take a swim in the temple’s talav (not all temples allow swimming in their talavs).
Shri Mangueshi Temple
Well, the body and soul has been rested but what about the tummy yaar. The hunger pangs must be killing you by now. For that, Goa has a gazillion unique delicacies to offer ranging from garyachi (Jackfruit) bhaaji, kajuchi (cashew) bhaaji, kombachiamti (bamboo shoots’ daal/sambar) and ambyacha (Mango) sasav to name a few. But how can a Goenkar live without his daily dose of seafood. Instead of sharing some of the more common Goan/Kokani seafood delicacies like fish fry or hooman (fish curry), I’ve decided to add a little shock value for non-fish eaters by opting to promote a delicacy called Kalkuti, made of fish…. well, fish heads to be precise.
Food in Goa is incomplete without two ingredients, kokum and coconut. Kokum is the prime agent that adds a tangy flavour and generates a kick without which no Goan food can be called complete. Allright, enough, let’s jump right in and make some Kalkuti.
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Preparation time: 30-35 minutes
King Fish (Surmai/Viswan)/Mackerel (Bangda)/Pomphret 5-6 pieces (Only heads)
Olive oil 2 tablespoon
Chopped Onions 2
Salt To taste
Freshly grated coconut 1 cup
Finely chopped Ginger 1 teaspoon
Finely chopped Garlic 2 teaspoon
Kokum 2 pieces
Turmeric/Haldi powder 1 Teaspoon
Mirchi powder 1 teaspoon
Chopped coriander leaves 2 table spoons
Clean, wash and cut fish into small pieces. Separate the fish heads and leave the body for some of the other dishes like fish fry or fish curry.
Apply turmeric powder and salt to the fish heads.
Make a fine paste of ginger, garlic, and fresh coriander leaves.
Heat oil in a pan; add chopped onions and sauté till it turns golden brown.
Add mirchi powder and cook on medium heat for three minutes. Stir constantly.
Add masala paste and stir well. Sauté for five minutes till you start smelling the aroma.
Add Kokum and grated coconut into the pan. Cook on a medium flame. Now add 2 cups of water and heat it till it starts boiling.
Then add fish heads and salt. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes or so.
Stir and serve with rice.
Kalkutti will not only fire up your taste buds but also your tummy and that’s when you need your buddy, Sol Kadi (in Konkan) or BhinnaKadi (in Goa). In this too, Kokum is the main ingredient. It’s a pinkish colored cool khatta-meetha/tangy drink that helps with digestion. Here’s how you make it:
Cocum (Salted) 6-7
Coconut Milk 4 Cups
Salt To taste
Green chillies 4
Asafoetida (Hing) Pinch
Chopped coriander leaves 2 teaspoon
Add Kokum pieces in three cups of chilled water and keep it aside for around 2 hours.
The water will turn pink.
Add coconut milk, salt, green chillies (optional), asafoetida, and coriander leaves.
All right, now you folks let me eat my kalkuti and enjoy my kadi.
Oh and before I sign off, I am going to borrow Amitabh Bacchan’s line from Gujarat tourism ad and ask you all: Thodedeestarirahunpalaya Goa-yan.
Gut GutGutGut. Haaaa!!!Burp!