Those Portu-Geezers were canny chaps eh what ? Caravels tacking into the wind, deep sea exploration, the first great maritime empire, the spice trade, and a great eye for a beautiful colony, to wit, Brazil and Goa.
The colonial buildings remain, and thought we can hear no Iberian in the streets the empire lives on in the shape of a sausage.
Goa on the Southern West coast of India is a dramatic change from Mumbai. It is the smallest state in India but has the highest GDP. It is ranked highest in India for quality of life which is a no brainer the moment you step on its golden sands and are intoxicated by the smiles and charm of the Goans.
The Portuguese influence is strong and unrepentant. Charming, tiny churches dot the landscape. Colourful Saints’ shrines abound. The cuisine too reflects this influence.
There is a bounty of fresh fish; lobster, prawns, sea bass, snapper, kingfish, grilled, tandoori, masala or simply with lemon.
However a standout dish to try is:
Goan sausage is a bright-red, spicy chorizo made with pork, vinegar, lemon juice, chili, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cloves and cinnamon. We had it in a chili fry and despite having the texture of cut-up thongs was delicious.
GOAN SAUSAGE from scratch for the purists
10lb pork meat with fat preferably shoulder or belly (no skin)
6 tablespoons coarse sea salt
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups red wine vinegar
A handful (depends how spicy you want) chilis
200g fresh ginger
2 teaspoons turmeric
2.5 inch piece of cinnamon
Cut pork into 2 inch chunks. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and 1/4 cup of the lemon juice and mix.
Place in a wicker basket (or stainless steel colander) and place a VERY heavy weight on it.
Leave for 12 hours to drain (I’d do this in the fridge). Then add the lemon juice/salt mix again and repeat process, replacing weight and drain for another day.
Cut the meat into small (1cm) pieces and repeat the lemon juice/salt process-heavy weight-draining again for 12 hours.
Grind the spices finely and mix into the red wine vinegar with the garlic very finely chopped (or ground) making a paste. Add 1 cup of Goan Palm Feni (a fermented coconut juice drink) if you have some to hand or else I’d add fresh coconut juice or at a pinch 1/2 cup of coconut milk.
Mix the dried meat with the spice mix (masala) and let marinate for a day or two (I suspect this process in the hot Goan sun adds to the ‘unique’ texture).
Stuff the marinated meat into casings and leave to dry for another couple of days and you’re ready to go.
CHILI SAUSAGE FRY
500g Goan sausages
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
2 onions sliced
2 green chilies split and sliced
2 large tomatoes sliced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons not-sweet chili sauce (or 2 more sliced green chili’s)
2 medium potatoes boiled and cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar (to taste)
Fry ginger and garlic in oil for 30 seconds then add green chilis and onions and fry.
Meanwhile open the sausages up and take out the filling. Add this to the fry-up with the potato chunks.
Cook for about 20 minutes. Just before finishing add the sauces. Taste and add the salt and sugar if it needs it.
Let it rest for 10 minutes and serve with rice.