Archive - September 17, 2012

Goan Grub : Six of the best Goan Dishes
Purple Hearts Goa Destination Guide

Goan Grub : Six of the best Goan Dishes

Like the country itself, Goa food is a mix of east meets west, being both spicy and flavoursome. Its strong history has influenced its food dramatically, meaning dishes are frequently divided into two groups: Goan Hindu cuisine and Goan Catholic cuisine.

Hindu cuisine is less spicy, less oily and centres around ingredients such as lentils, gourd, pumpkins, shoots, bamboo and root vegetables. Goan Catholic cuisine on the other hand, is highly influenced by Konkani, South Indian, Portuguese (who colonised the area in the 18th and 19th centuries), British and Saraswat cuisines, focusing mainly on onion or garlic flavours, with plenty of seafood and meat. However both cuisine types share a reputation for taste and freshness, with presentation being paramount as Goans often share their food with neighbours.

You should read… Insider’s Guide to Goa

While the techniques and recipes of Goan cuisine have changed several times over the years, the primary ingredients have remained the same. Coconut features heavily in many of the dishes, along with more unusual ingredients such as breadfruit and papaya, which give a distinctive flavour. In general, Goans have a very diverse serving of food types ranging from prawns to sausages, chicken to beef, and numerous vegetarian dishes.

Technique is equally important to producing the famous taste of Goa food; if you visit any rural area, the locals can be seen cooking in the clay pots on firewood – the source of the smoky flavour of many Goan dishes. Over time, cooking methods have been blended together and allowed to simmer, producing an authentic selection of delicacies. Here are our pick of the six best Goan dishes:


This pork-based dish is perfect if you like your food to be spicy. Pieces of boneless pork are first parboiled, then finely diced, before being cooked in a sauce infused with two types of chilli, turmeric, cumin, ginger, garlic, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, vinegar and onion. You’ll typically find sorpotel served with sanna, a rice and coconut cake that often accompanies Goan meals instead of bread. Sorpotel usually tastes better on the 2nd and 3rd day, after it has had time to mature.


Fish Curry

Fish curry

As you might expect from its coastal location on the Arabian Sea, seafood is a staple part of the Goan diet. You’ll find all manner of fish curries on the menu, with many featuring a coconut milk sauce. Xitt coddi is a yellowish-red curry, due to the presence of chillies and turmeric in its sauce, while Ambot Tik can be served with either fish or prawns, and has a sweet and sour flavour.


Chicken cafreal

Chicken cafreal

Chicken cafreal consists of fried or grilled chicken in a spicy coating, often served with a green salad or some plain rice. This specialty is heavily influenced by the Portuguese, with the marinade used on the meat strongly resembling peri-peri sauce. This sauce is made from coriander, lime, green chillies, peppercorns and mint.



This is a mixed vegetable curry, featuring carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and French beans in a sweet and sour curry sauce. A vegetarian’s favourite – this dish is a hotpot of rich flavours.Enjoy Khatkhatem with steamed rice to allow the various spices to come through as you enjoy your meal.



One of Goa’s most famous desserts, bibinca first appears to be a layered cake, but when you take a closer look, you’ll discover its layers are thick pancakes made from egg, coconut milk, sugar and ghee. Cooking a perfect bebinca is considered an art form and a huge amount of patience is needed to prepare it correctly. The next layer can only be added once the previous layer has been cooked in the oven until it has a light fudge consistency. Bibinca can be eaten hot or cold and is traditionally served at Christmas.



Feni is a kind of liqueur made from either the juice of a cashew fruit or the sap from a coconut palm. The best-quality feni is distilled at least two, and normally three, times, making it quite strong, but don’t worry, you don’t have to drink it neat, it’s often served with a mixer like tonic or lemonade. The word ‘feni’ derives from the word ‘fenn’, which means froth. In fact, a good feni, when poured in a glass produces a little froth, which is an indication of the superior quality of the product.

You should read… The Best Portuguese Desserts

Purple Hearts Goa Destination Guide

The home of vibrant markets, stunning scenery, spectacular sunsets and erm… cow beaches? Here’s our insider guide to Goa, the perfect winter sunshine holiday destination.

This is the Purple Travel cheat sheet for Goa, it’s right on the western edge of India and known under many guises, including ‘Pearl of the Orient’ and ‘Tourist Paradise’. A former Portuguese colony, it’s home to soaring temples, endless beaches and an eclectic mix of Indian and Portuguese traditions, architecture and food. As you can imagine, holidays in Goa are more than just about beaches and sunshine (although they are near perfect!) they are also about indulging in the unique history and rich culture of this beautiful part of India.

Once a hotspot for hippies in the 60s, Goa’s glorious beaches and wonderful atmosphere has seen it become a firm holiday favourite, with over 2.5 million people visiting every year. Towards the end of September, monsoon season finishes up, leaving lush greenery, around ten hours a day of warm sunshine with little humidity, temperatures averaging 27 degrees and endless sandy beaches to perfect your tan. This carries on through to early March, meaning it’s a great choice for Christmas or New Years too. Throw in great prices, you’ll get a decent dinner for two with some local wine for about a tenner, while there are more budget friendly hotels and apartments than you can shake a stick at. Trust us the ten hour flight from the UK will be worth it. Find out all about this amazing country in our Goa Destination guide.

Goa’s loosely separated into two parts: North and South. The general rule is that it’s a bit busier in the north, maybe because it’s where the capital Panaji is. Plus it was the first part to be developed, when hippies arrived in the early 70s. The Southern part of the country is known as a more relaxed, laidback holiday destination.

North Goa

Anjuna with a weekly flea market, regular Saturday night bazaars and an alternative feel, Anjuna Beach has got plenty on offer. At sunset the beach is filled with entertainers from jugglers to fire-eaters, a great place to start your night out.

Candolim One of the quieter beaches in the Northern part of Goa, Candolim is not exactly empty, but tends to be on the quieter side. There are plenty of restaurants and bars nearby to keep your energy levels up for all the sunbathing.

Calangute is known as the queen of Goa’s beaches. It’s a really busy, bustling beach with lots of people. You’ll find plenty of children happily plotting sandcastles, while the surrounding bars and beach clubs mean it’s a great place to relax after a heavy night out.

Vagator The cliffside beach is split in two, between Big and Little Vagator Beaches and these are home to some of the best beach parties you’ll find in all of Goa, from trance to techno, hippies and backpackers, it’s a spot for all walks of life and certainly a place to make some new friends as you dance the night away.

South Goa

Agonda Beach Regularly topping the best beach in Goa lists, Agonda is clean and out of the way. It’s beautiful and secluded so it’s ideal for couples looking for a quiet day relaxing on sand. There aren’t so many food options around, so a sunset picnic sounds like a gorgeous option to us.

Cansaulim offers a really relaxed atmosphere. It’s a quiet, clean stretch close to two airports, so it’s perfect if you want to escape to the sun last minute. The sleepy villages nearby combined with the hotels and resorts mean you’ll never be short of options.

Betalbatim Great value on the shacks that edge the beach, while the peace and quiet is only interrupted by the odd bird or dolphin. Betalbatim has a friendly atmosphere that gets people returning year after year.

Colva A perfect mix of sun, sea and sand, Colva is known for its natural beauty. The 20-odd mile stretch of white sand and sparkling ocean leaves plenty of room to grab a lounger, a good book and take advantage of the sunshine.


Cow beach well, we couldn’t talk about Goa with talking about Cow beach. Bikini clad tourist happily mingle with bulls and heifers. As you do.

Things to do

Family break Many of the hotels dotted along the coast of the Arabian Sea are fully kitted out to make sure you and your little ones get the most out of it. Every conceivable activity is on offer, from Kid’s Clubs, crocodile watching, waterslides, swimming pools, beaches, GoKarting, or cruises. Sounds like a handful for your little handful.

Grownups getaway If you’re after a more grownup approach to your holiday, then a spa break is a pretty decadent way of doing it. Ayurvedic therapies will reunite your mind and body harmony. Failing that, you’ll at least find yourself feeling more relaxed than when you arrived.

Silent discosThe Silent Noise headphone parties in the south of Goa, see clubbers dance the night away – without disturbing any of the neighbours. It’s also some of the best fun you’ll ever have. Two or three DJs play the night away and each clubber has their own headphones so you can tune to whichever song suits your mood. It might sound weird, but when you make eye contact with someone dancing to your song, you’ll know you’re in the right place.

Goan Carnival A yearly procession of colours and costumes, the Goan Carnival lasts for three or four days every year and we’re talking night and day. The legendary King Momo comes to life and takes over to create a riot of music and dance. It’s perfect timing if you’re planning ahead, the 2013 carnival kicks off on February 9th.

Dudhsagar Falls a tiered waterfall just a couple of miles from the capital Panaji, it’s known as one of the most beautiful in India. Surrounded by legend, the story goes that a beautiful princess used to live nearby and enjoyed bathing in her birthday suit, drinking ‘sweetened milk’ from a ‘golden jug,’ honestly, this is how it goes. One day she found herself being watched by a prince. To cover her modesty, threw herself under the jug of milk. It’s said it is that sweetened milk that pours down the mountain today.

Eat in Goa Goa is, naturally enough famous for its seafood. Fish based curries and rice are the staples. Add a dash of coconut and some local spices and you’ll find the intense flavours and delicious aromatic dishes Goa prides itself on.

Find the best cheap flights, hotels and package holidays to Goa from Purple Travel

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