I am married to a Goan, enjoy Goan food at home, can cook loads of Goan dishes myself, yet, can’t have enough of it. Simply love the cuisine. So, I happily trooped off to sample the Goan food festival at Lake View Café at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel last week for dinner. A pity the festival ended last Sunday.
Have never seen such an interesting use of ingredients like Coconut Milk, Tamarind, Spices, Kokam, as in the festival. I personally relish sea food, chicken in Goan cuisine, but, was pleasantly surprised to find that the Mergolho (pumpkin and papaya curry) and the breadfruit curry could be so delicious. Am hooked onto it now.
The soul kadi was a tad too milky. Too much of coconut juice and less kokum. The ambotik with plain steamed rice was a treat, as was the sannas with sorpotel. The chicken cafreal was well made and the succulent pieces of chicken simply melt in the mouth. The clam chops with mango chilli sauce weere to die for, something which I have never tasted before. Truly unique. Prawn balchao was yummy though I tend to have it as a pickle rather than a starter.
Bebinca (layered caked made with flour and coconut milk), the ultimate Goan favourite dessert, without which any celebration is incomplete, was there. But I am not a great fan of it. Dodol (toffee like sweet made up of rice flour) and Doce (fudge made up of gram flour) too were on offer but I loved the cashew doce. It was unusual and well made.
A special Feni Muddle bar had been set up at the hotel which was serving exotic Feni cocktails, but I decided to give it a miss. Had a busy working day the next morning.
Chef Danish was there, ever-smiling and ready to serve us with warmth. The highlight of the festival was Jacinta aunty, from Goa who was flown in especially to give authenticity to the masalas, used in Goan food. She did a great job. Her son Michael was assisting her. Apparently aunty goes regularly to the Goa Marriott and Spa too, to grind masalas. She has the midas touch.