A few weeks ago Rebecca @ Chow & Chatter asked me to guest host for her site, and what better way than include some from the region of Goa (in the western part of India). Of course if you are familiar with my cooking methods, and love of all cuisines; it will be a little of this and food history. I have always loved learning about why, when, and where food came into existence.
A visit last week to Steph @ Live.Love.Eat. Over there she has a mouth watering breakfast and vegetarian pizza using pre-made Naan. She has cleverly named her post 'I Love You Naan'. Naan, for those of you not familiar, is bread grilled in the clay oven. This bread is not difficult to make at home, if you cook it on the back of a cast iron skillet, or pizza stone.
Reading her post made me realize with so much traveling I have not sat down and eaten any good curries. who also is not in the mood for Pizza? So last week I picked up vegetables for a curry, and of course a few packages of Naan...
Research begins: 'Goan' is not a southern phrase for 'goin' to do something(I am from Texas). However; it did spring up from me saying something in reference to working upstairs to my husband, but he heard 'Goan'. Go figure, he thought I was telling him I was making Indian cuisine for dinner. Inspired I pulled out my 'Food From Around The World' text, and did some research on Goa and Goanese cooking.
Goan Cuisine was influenced by Portuguese traders. The foods are referred to in two different categories- Christian, or Catholic Food; the other, Hindu Food. Both diet staples consist of seafood, sweet rice- Kheer, spicy curry, and fish cakes, Vindaloo, samosa, fish cutlets, Halva (sweet- pistachio-tahini paste), coconut oil, and includes use of coconut milk and Kokum, a spice that is substituted for tamarind and in sweet recipes. Meat can be found, but due to religious aspects of parts of the region you may only find fish and vegetarian dishes.
As like in many areas of India, each sect has its own beliefs and practices. They also have many cooking techniques and ingredients that do cross over. What may seem like similarities in the countries cuisine in American restaurants; their country has many different preparations, influences, and seasonings. We know from history the 'Trade' and 'Spice' routes brought in many new ingredients and influences from all around the world, shaping cuisines. So many people you talk to here in the states would tell you so many different ways to prepare their foods, and reasons why.
Religious beliefs can also influence the food: Within the Goa community there are Hindus, and an offshoot of that sect are the Konkani Brahmins. This community eat mostly fish with the exception of chicken; they do however eat strict vegetarian diets during certain parts of the week, and on holidays. Strict Hindu's eat a diet of vegetables, lentils, pumpkins, gourds,bamboo shoots, roots etc. Their food is less oily from coconut oil.
Indian food can seem complicated, and even to me it is mind boggling, but after reading information, and remembering no matter what you prepare; they open up seeds and spices with heat for a more aromatic . Along with spices to make my vindaloo, I used (which right now are very inexpensive)stored in my freezer, the naan, and other ingredients I had on hand. I am on a seafood and 'wanting to cook more Portuguese' kick; it seems fitting that I share this post with Rebecca. As fate would have it, fit the bill.
The meal comes together: Taking inspiration from Live.Love.Eat's pizza post, and Chow & Chatters hubby's Indian heritage (she also trying to learn more on cooking Indian cuisine), I made a 'Fiery Goanese Pizza'.
I also made sweet vegetable rice for our next meal. Traditionally called arroz doce- a Portuguese derivative of kheer (sweetened rice). Using the lobster tails for stock, and leftover homemade Vindaloo sauce for the vegetable curry was indeed another good fix for my Indian cuisine appetite! For dessert, I picked up a package of Halva. I had not had it before and was curious. The region of Goa also makes several versions of this dish, I chose Pistachio (a favorite nut of my client). The sweetness helped cut the heat of the vindaloo sauce.
Goanese Fiery Lobster Pizza
vindaloo pizza sauce-
- Vinegar (traditionally it is used, but I used the juice from )
- 1/2 Gewurztraminer Wine
- 1 cup Del Monte Jalapeno Diced Tomatoes, and its juice to replace vinegar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped Red Onion
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon Tamarind paste
- 1 tablespoon hot
- salt/pepper to taste (careful tomatoes, and prepared mustard are salted)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unbleached flour
- In pan on medium high add coriander and mustard seeds.
- When they begin to pop add olive oil, red onions, seasonings, and flour; quickly stir in prepared mustard and wine, blending well; add diced tomatoes and juice; let simmer until thickens. Set aside to meld flavors.
- let a few tablespoons of butter soften, and coat the lobster pieces before placing on top of sauce; then sprinkle some light mixed shredded cheese on top and bake.
*Vindaloo- Actually Portuguese in origin, though it comes from the Indian subcontinent. The name is ultimately Portuguese, from the phrase vinho de alho or "wine of garlic." Portuguese sailors brought their garlic-flavored vinegar stew to Goa, which from 1510 to 1961 was a Portuguese colony on the southwestern coast of India. The Goan spiced up the recipe and the name, making it vindaloo in their Konkani language.
-W. H. Dawe explains in The Wife's Help to Indian Cookery, published in London, 1888: "Vindaloo or Bindaloo--A Portuguese Karhi.... The best Vindaloo is prepared in mustard-oil....