Ponda, Goa SpiceFarm visit | Fish Thali & Ras omelette at Panjim
Hello friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. So, far, we’ve explored lots of food & beaches in South & North Goa. We enjoyed a lot! We also spent a one full day in Panjim. In which we ate local food and saw around whole of Panjim. Today is a bit different. First of all, we are going to eat something. After that we are going to go from Calangute to Ponda, which is 60kms away. The primary objective of going to Ponda is to visit a spice farm. The route to Ponda will pass via Panjim. Right now, we have travelled 8kms from Calangute and we’re at Chef Peter’s Kitchen. I have with me Chef Peter’s wife. So, it’s like a hidden food joint. Now I’m going inside the kitchen with her to see what we are eating today and how it is cooked. I have with me Chef Peter here. The first dish he is going to prepare today is cheese-stuffed mushroom. To make this, grated cheese is stuffed into a mushroom. Mushrooms are dipped in a batter, basically made of refined flour. It is further rolled in breadcrumbs. And then fried. Now he is cooking Bhindi (okra) Reachado. People who love Reachado masala but are vegetarians, can enjoy this dish. I find this very interesting – bhindi is washed and split in the middle…. …Reachado masala is applied to it inside… It is then dipped in batter, rolled in breadcrumbs & deep fried. This process is very tempting to look at. For the third dish, vindaloo masala is added to a tempering of onions & tomatoes. This masala is cooked for 3-5 minutes. To that, chopped mushrooms and eggplant are added. And the dish is ready in another 5-7 minutes. The 3 dishes look so beautiful served like this. We will start with Bhindi Recheado. Ma’am please take some! This is my first experience eating mushrooms with cheese stuffing. Host: “It is very tasty!” Just think about the recipe. Reachado masala stuffed inside the bhindi and fried like this! This recipe is also interesting. Cheese in mushroom is a first-time experience for me. It is delicious! I was telling Chef that people must be enjoying this kind of preparation with drinks. Its taste is such that I am enjoying it. A lot of people told me that I would get to eat good Recheado dishes at a lot of places. But to prepare a dish with Vindaloo masala is an art in itself. I will be eating this with Unde, a local Goan bread. First & foremost, the Vindaloor gravy is quite spicy. It has spice! So, if you like your food spicy, you will find it delicious. To cook a good Vindaloo preparation, you need a good quality vinegar. I am feeling a slight tanginess while eating it, as well as lot of spice. And both gravy and bread form a great combination of taste. Host: “Sir, tell me one thing, Recheado and Vindaloo have more or less same ingredients.” Host: “So, what is the basic difference between the two?” Chef: “Recheado is used for fish and veg stuffing & it can be cooked on the spot & served… ….whereas vindaloo you have to cook and keep for maturing for a day or two.” Host: “Like you mature a pickle.” Chef: “Yeah!” I seriously wanted to learn the difference between these two spice mixes. Host: “Good that you summarized the difference perfectly.” Host: “Sir, what your restaurant timings?” Chef: “11 am to 3 pm and 7 pm to 11 pm.” To come here and experience this kind of food was a pleasant experience for us. Host: “Thanks sir.” We undertook maximum journey in North Goa on a scooty. Now our next destination is to reach Ponda. And to visit a spice farm there. Right now, I am thinking of parking my scooty in Panjim & book a cab from there. Because the road to Ponda is a highway. We parked our bike in Panjim and booked this taxi from there. It cost us Rs. 1800/- for 80kms. Right now, we’ve reached Ponda. We are in Ponda for two things. The first objective is to visit the spice farm ‘Sahakari.” After that we will take lunch in Ponda & then we’ll go back to Panjim The per person ticket is Rs. 400/-. It includes a guided tour and lunch too. (Staff welcome) Very good! Thank You! Thanks, thanks, thanks! Since it is a guided tour, I have a guide with me! So, he has just explained to me that this is a supari (betel nut) tree. The green colored supari that you can see there turns orange on ripening. This is the first time I am seeing a vanilla creeper. We get the vanilla bean after a flower grows on this stem and turns into a fruit. That fruit is dried and we get a vanilla bean like this. My guide brought me this bean separately. Thank you! In our Coorg coffee episode, we had given a detailed description about a pepper plant like this. Let us move on. This is lemongrass. You can use it in your tea too. Cinnamon tree! After the tree matures, its branches are chopped, dried and the bark removed to make cinnamon. Let me smell a leaf! There is cinnamon smell in its leaf. It is raining heavily. We have been waiting for the last 30 minutes. We will continue our farm visit once the rain stops. This is green cardamom plant. These are fully grown green chilies. It is called Portuguese chili. My guide told me that it is very spicy. Goan vegetarian food with Kokum drink. This drink has heeng (asafoetida) and green chili in it alongwith coriander. In this vegetable gravy, potatoes and lobia (black-eyed peas) are visible. I am enjoying eating this Goan food. Its taste is completely different. Since I am here, my experiences are growing, changing, enhancing on a daily basis. Quite simple preparation of Toor dal! The only thing is chili is on a higher side. But good! Very delicious! In any case, I love sweet rice dishes. This thing is lending a delicious taste to rice. We received learning as well as knowledge here. You would need at least 3-4 hours to spend if you want to explore the spice farm thoroughly. Today, it rained heavily for at least an hour and a half. Thus, we enjoyed rains along with our spice farm visit. Now we are leaving for a place 6kms away from here to explore more food. I’ve already ordered a thali for myself. You can see the King fish fillet right in the middle. What you see here is called Kokum. I’ve requested them to show me kokum in its raw form too for your benefit. Kokum is readily available in Goa, Maharashtra. This is because Kokum trees are aplenty here. It is sour, I’ve tasted it in Mumbai. Usually people drink it at the end as it aids digestion but I’m going to start with it. It is very delicious. This drink has other things too apart from Kokum. Green chili, coriander, garlic… Rawa (semolina) fried King fish. What texture! And how inviting it seems to eat this fish in this thali. Very delicious! Bangra fish is popular here. And King fish too. You will get to eat these 2 fishes in thalis everywhere, rawa-fried like this. Simple marination, no complicated masala! Absolutely fresh & delicious! Prawn curry! Quite decent taste of prawn curry! And to eat it with rice like this makes for a perfect meal! Prawn curry has coconut in it, as usual. And… it has haldi (turmeric powder) and spices like coriander and cumin seeds. Prawn curry is very delicious! Host: “How old is this restaurant?” Waiter: “25 years sir!” Host: “25 years!” Perfect! Thank you! What you are seeing here is the shrimp in the prawn curry. Now I got it in my second helping. Prawn curry with rice like this, what an outstanding taste! What you are seeing here is Kismur. This is dried prawn, of which this dish is made. And all this white color ingredient is coconut. Very different! The taste of prawn curry, which I was eating before this, is not leaving my tongue. Since this is completely dry, first I should have that, then I’ll come to this. It was good coming here. It was a good experience and today was a success. I’ve reached the Panjim Municipal Vegetable Market. To check out fruits & vegetables. It is quite a huge market. I found this fruit quite different here. I found out from them, it is called Rambutan. I have never seen it before. See it is somewhat like a litchi. A little sweet… ..juicy… ..tasty. This is how the shell looks from inside after the inner kernel is removed. There is also a seed inside the fruit kernel, which you can throw away. Host: “What is the rate of this fruit?” Shopkeeper: “Rs. 350 per kg.” Host: “Rs. 350 per kg.” So please pack half a kg of this for me. Right now, we’ve come for Ras Omelette (gravy omelette) near Don Boscoe School, Panjim. All these food carts that you see, they used to be near Church Square earlier These days, these carts open here between 6 pm and 11 pm to 11.30 pm. Pav was pressed and cooked like this. The concept of Ras Omelette is quite interesting. Basically it is omelette only. They have topped it with chicken curry and a small chicken piece, here. Interesting taste! Right now, I’m just enjoying it. It is quite a good and tasty combination. Chicken gravy poured over a simple omelette. On top of that garnished with onion and fresh coriander. If you want to make it extra tangy, add some lemon like this. Light snack! And if you eat some more of it, then light dinner! Ras omelette was on my checklist. I didn’t want to miss it before leaving Goa. So, finally I am happy that I came here to eat it. It is good that you get more chicken gravy, if you need an additional helping. Goodnight for now! We will go back to our hotel after we finish this. Our Ponda and Panjim visit of today was good. Please tell us what you liked the most about today’s episode. As always, I shall wait for your comments. We will meet soon with a new and exciting journey. Till then, goodbye! See you soon!