The Saraswat style of cooking has survived centuries of Portuguese influence and a few establishments such as Cidade de Goa serve this mouth-watering fare to delighted customers.
A main meal consists of ukde tandul or parboiled red rice grown locally and hooman or curry with either fresh fish or prawn. So what’s eaten with it? Along with fresh local vegetables, here are a few accompaniments without which a Saraswat thali would be incomplete:
> Fodi: This is essentially rava fried vegetables that make a stand in for fish on days when Hindus abstain from eating meat, such as Mondays and Thursdays. Traditionally, meals are served on banana leaves, and the golden fried vegetables look both appetising and beautiful against the vivid green of the leaf. The most preferred vegetable for fodi is green bananas, but breadfruit, ridge gourd, drumsticks and even bitter gourd are used.
> Karam: A good meal misses that extra pizzaz if it doesn’t have a salad. Karam is the Goan version of a light salad with the sweet addition of fresh coconut. The monsoons bring with it refreshing cucumbers in their droves, and it is the best time to make cucumber karam. With some sweet pineapple and a dash of green chilli, it brings a crunch to your Saraswat meal.
> Mango chutney: Goa is known for its mangoes and to keep them going through the year, the locals preserved them through pickles and chutneys. Local mango chutney is sweet, sour and spicy all at once. It has no oil and adds a delightful zing to the meal. It is a favourite among children and many can even eat it as is with chapati.
> Sol kadi: The most distinctive accompaniment to a Saraswat meal is the sol kadi served as a digestive. Made of Indian mangosteen, locally called bindi sola or kokum, it is a sour drink mixed with a dash of coconut milk and sprigs of fresh coriander. Sol kadi is refreshing, healthy and soothing after a heavy meal.
Enjoy all of these served along with a typical Saraswat meal at Cidade de Goa’s Saraswat Food Festival at Café Azul from August 20-27, 2017