Goan cuisine is one of the top draws to anyone visiting the small Indian state. The food is shaped by the many cultures that have controlled the region over the years, including Portuguese, Arab, Brazilian, French, Konkan, and Malabar. However, the major influence on Goan dishes comes from the Portuguese, who traded with the region (introducing vegetables and spices like potatoes, chillies, tomatoes, and cashew nuts, as well as brought pork, beef, bread, vinegar and other meats), and eventually colonised it.

Today, Goan food features distinct Hindu and Christian cuisines, with the former influenced by Konkani, Saraswat and South Indian cuisines and the latter by Portuguese and British food. Both contain similar elements, such as tamarind, kokum, red Goan chillies, coconut milk and fish. Here are some Goan dishes we tried that you should too:

Also Read: 18 Delicious Karnataka Foods You Have To Try

1Vindalho

Goan dishes Pork Vindaloo

This spicy curry is made with a garlic and wine marinade and traditionally has pork. The name comes from the Portuguese phrase vinha d’alhos that refers to a garlic and wine marinade (and is not related to aloo or potatoes). Today, Goan cooks substitute palm vinegar for the red wine and add dried red chilli peppers to the dish.

2Bebinca

Bebinca
(via PhotosIndia/Getty Images)

This rich traditional sweet is made up of seven layers of coconut-flavoured batter separated by melted ghee (clarified butter) that is traditionally eaten around Christmas time.

3Chicken Cafreal

 

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This spicy grilled chicken dish is made with a marinade of coriander leaves, green chillies, and other spices. Fish can also be used instead of chicken.

4Serradura

Portuguese Serradura pudim dessert

Also known as “sawdust pudding,” this popular Portuguese dessert is a combination of whipped cream and crumbled biscuits. Serradura is a Portuguese word for “sawdust”, which refers to the finely crushed biscuits.

5Balchão

Balchão is a popular dish (and a method of cooking) that involves pickling fish, prawns, or pork, in a spicy and tangy tomato chilli sauce. It also usually uses a paste made from dried shrimp known as galmbo.

6Paatolyo

 

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Also called “patoleo” or “patoli”, this dish of stuffed turmeric leaves is a popular delicacy. Grated coconut, rice and jaggery are wrapped and steamed in turmeric leaves.

7Chouriço

This spicy sausage, usually made from pork, has been around since Roman times. Also known as “chorizo” in Spanish, it gets its distinctive red colour from dried red peppers, though the marinade also includes vinegar and spices like garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, cloves, and pepper. There are three kinds of chouriço found in Goa – dry (aged in the sun for over three months), wet (aged for a month or less), and skin.

8Tavsali

Goan dishes cucumber cake

This unusual Goan dish is made using cucumber, with the addition of rice, coconut, jaggery, ghee, cashews and cardamom. It is often steamed or baked with turmeric leaves placed on top, to add a unique flavour.

9Ambotik

 

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A classic Goan dish, this sour and spicy fish curry is made with dried red chillies, which gives it the iconic deep red-orange colour, along with lemon and kokum to add the tangy flavour. It can be made with shark, prawns, sardines, kingfish, tongue fish (lep) and mackerels.

10Neureos/Karanji

Karanji, A Maharashtrian snack

This sweet dumpling is stuffed with jaggery, dried fruits and coconut. The dough is rolled into rounds and then folded in half over the filling in the shape of a half-moon.

11Xacuti

Goan chicken chacuti served with pilau rice.

A Goan curry made with roasted grated coconut and pieces of either chicken or lamb. The spicy gravy includes white poppy seeds, dried red chillies, and black pepper.

12Dodol

 

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Dodol is a toffee-like sweet that is also very popular in Indonesia. The sticky and thick dessert is made from coconut milk, jaggery, and rice flour.

13Recheado

stuffed chicken, mustard sauce and rustic potatoes

The word recheado might mean “stuffed” in Portuguese, but in Goa, it also refers to the spicy red paste (made with chillies and tamarind ground to a paste with aromatic spices) which is filled as stuffing in fish like pomfret and mackerel.

14Bolina

Bolina, or Bolinhas, are Goan coconut cookies that are lightly browned, crisp on the outside and soft inside. They are made using semolina and prepared for Christmas and other special occasions.

15Ros Omelette

 

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This delicious breakfast dish is an omelette that is served with a spicy chicken or chickpea gravy and served with pão (a Portuguese-Goan bread also known as pav and a popular street food in Mumbai)

16Doce

via Flickr

Doce is a popular sweet (doce literally means sweet in Portuguese) prepared for festive occasions in Goa (especially during Christmas) that is made with boiled gram, ground coconut paste, sugar and ghee while cooking that is cooked over a low flame and cut into squares.

17Sorpotel

sorpotel - spicy pork served at festivals in Goa

Sorpotel (or sarapatel) is a spicy pork dish. The meat is usually parboiled and diced and sauteed before being cooked in a spicy and vinegary sauce. It is usually eaten with pão.

18Baath Cake

 

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Baath (or Batica) is a traditional dense and moist Goan cake made with coconut and semolina (which are two ingredients you will find in a lot of Goan sweets). It is usually made around Christmas.

There are lots of other Goan dishes you must try, such as Chamuça (a version of the samosa) and Alle Belle (coconut and jaggery pancakes). Have you tried any of these delicious Goan dishes? Or have we missed your favourites? If so let us know in the comments below.

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