Tag Archives: homecooked

Goa Unlimited

Goa is second home, quite literally, yet, for some strange reason, I have never been there to witness the Carnival. I was determined to set this right in 2016 and thus planned a trip to witness Goa in all its glory during the Carnival and The Grape Escapade, organised by the GTDC and Department of Tourism Goa in the first week of February.

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My excitement knew no bounds, as seated in the VIP gallery, I waited with baited breath for King Momo and his entourage to enter Panjim in the GTDC float.  And then he did. Magnificent, colourful and majestic. Yes, the opening float was all this and more. The crowds cheered lustily as he addressed them. Poulami Ghosh, the star of Nachom-ia-Kumpasar, sang in her melodious voice, recreating the magic of Lorna, the heartthrob of Goans.

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A steady stream of colourful and innovative floats from different villages of Goa, with music, dance and performances enthralled us all. What a spectacle it was and the atmosphere was electric, as the crowds danced in their seats and waved to the performers.

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Local farmers with vegetables, fisherfolk, preserving the environment, football, weddings, washermen aka dhobis, were some of the unusual themes of the floats.It reflected the team spirit of the Goans as it did their creativity. Most of the floats were a great piece of art and craftsmanship.

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Three hours flew by amidst merriment and gaiety. The Carnival struck me as exceedingly well-organised given the scale of the event. It surpassed my expectations.

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Traffic was well managed, spectators were well-behaved and of course the quality of the floats was outstanding.

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What is nice is that those who miss the Carnival in Panjim on the first day, can catch it in other cities like Mapusa, Madgaon and Vasco on subsequent days with local floats and entertainment.

This was just the beginning of fun and enjoyment for me, as I headed to the annual Grape Escapade, a food and lifestyle festival at the DB Bandodkar grounds in Campal, Panjim.

This fete of flavours aptly encapsulates the exuberance of Goan lifestyle by highlighting Goa’s multi-cultural influences and artistic passions, thus branding Goa as a “Lifestyle Destination”. After all Goa is truly that, isn’t it?

The weather was perfect and the mood eclectic. Live performances were happening on the large stage to enthrall guests and the stalls had on offer wines from Goa and across India, as well as local Goan food by restaurants, hotels and home makers alike.

The local wines were of great quality and spelt innovation. It is indeed a great platform for budding wine makers and entrepreneurs to showcase their wines. People were eagerly sipping the wines and discussing them amongst friends and family.

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Goan delicacies like cafreal, chorizo pao, xacuti, Sanas, pork vindaloo et al were being lapped up by the crowds as the evening progressed.

The spacious grounds allowed place for everyone to roam around freely, sit and watch performances or even attend the wine appreciation session. There was truly something for everyone.

The highlight of the 4 day event was the fashion show and the selection of The Grape Escapade Queen 2016 on the last day. The huge installation at the entrance by Grover Zampa was equally astounding.

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Goa is truly festive during this week of February and offers a charm that is unparalleled. I was extremely glad to have planned this trip and was grateful to GTDC for offering me such a culturally rich experience and glimpse of Goa. Viva Goa!

 

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Mangalorean Flavours From Home

Mangalorean cuisine is something we Mumbaikars crave for, as it is not easily available. Once in a while one is lucky to frequent a friend or relative’s home and relish a traditional meal. Even then, there are variations in a Mangalorean Hindu and Catholic meal.

The long drive to Four Points by Sheraton, Vashi, Navi Mumbai from the Western suburbs seemed tedious and long, but after the dinner at Asian Kitchen, curated and prepared by the home chef duo, Vijaya Bangera and Rekha Salian, under the guidance of Executive Chef Mukul Jha, I was glad to have made the journey. The ten day Mangalorean food festival ends tonight.

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The ambience at the restaurant was eclectic and vibrant, yet traditional. The buffet spread was vast with non vegetarian and vegetarian choices galore.

Pumpkin stew, struck me as extremely innovative. And the taste and flavours were indeed unique. Tomato Rasam, Kori Sukha, Bangude Puli Munchi, Neer Dosa with Jinji chutney and the Mangalorean staple Ganjee rice, were some of the dishes on offer.

Speaking about this festival, Chef Mukul Jha, Executive Chef, said, “Mangalorean cuisine is known for its fresh and spicy flavors with rice and fish being staple preparations owing to its coastal origin. We wanted our guests to experience a traditional home cooked meal by our home chef duo who will prepare nothing but the best and leave you with a taste of authentic Mangalorean food.”

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Each dish was distinct from the other. The masalas for each, was prepared by the home chefs from scratch. No ready made masalas for these ladies. They prefer to labour and get it right. That is what set this meal apart and gave it the feel of a home-cooked meal, all the way.

The chicken curry was light and flavourful. Appeased my taste buds. Paired well with the Kori roti or Mangalorean rice wafers. The spices were subtle yet, evident in each spoonful. The mutton curry in the typical Kundapur coarsely ground spices, was fiery and lip-smacking. It was comparatively more robust, but not overpowered by spices again.

Their fish curry was quite different from the one, we Goans are used to. Delectable nevertheless. I relished it with red rice, the way I do at home.

Of course the food was spicy and replete with coconut. Dried chillies (badige), pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and tamarind, were the other ingredients which were predominant.

The vegetarian preparations like Genasu Podi (Sweet Potato Chips), Bisi Bele Bhat, were outstanding too and well-made.

The desserts were tradtional as well. Banana Halwa, Hannu Kesari Bhat, Sweet Appams and Godhi Payasam were the perfect finale to a grand meal.

The passion and enthusiasm of the home chefs was infectious and their humility was overwhelming. They obviously loved to cook and were beaming politely at the words of appreciation coming their way.

It was easily one of the most enjoyable meals I have had in a while. Even though the venue was a hotel, the flavours were quintessentially, home type. Add to that, prompt service, alert staff, warm hospitality and a traditional ambience. Naturally then, it was a memorable dining experience.

 

Bean Sprout Rice : Recipe

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Bean sprouts or moong are healthy, full of protein, vitamins and enzymes. These are versatile and can be eaten as a salad, cooked as a vegetable or used in rice. A true wonder food!

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Ingredients :

1 cup rice, washed n drained

2 cardamoms

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 stick cinnamon

2 cloves

1 tbsp ghee

4 cashew nuts

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 onion chopped

4 green chilies, chopped

1 cup moong bean sprouts boiled with salt

1/4 tsp garam masala powder

salt to taste

Method:

Heat ghee in a pan. Fry the cardamoms, cumin, cinnamon on low heat.

Add cashew nuts and fry till golden brown.

Add onions, garlic and green chilles. After onions are slightly brown, add rice and salt.

Fry the rice for a minute, then add warm water.

When rice is half cooked, add the boiled bean sprouts.

Sprinkle garam masala on top. Stir gently.

Cover with lid and allow rice to be cooked completely.

Serve hot with curd or eat plain with papad and pickle.