Thursday, November 19, 2015

Goan Fish Curry...Our Travels - Goa

Last year at this time, we spent 3 wonderful days in Goa, India. While we were in Goa we decided to visit the famous Shri Shantadurga Temples, Shri Mangeshi temple, and Shri Chandreshwar Bhutnath Temple. We also visited some of the restored plantation houses, beaches, and Goan Red Rice Fields. We opted only to drive by The Basilica of Bom Jesus for a number of reasons, among them because it was the year they display the remains of St. Francis Xavier and there were a lot of pilgrims. We did see some other beautiful colonial churches. Unfortunately on this trip we didn't get to visit the Dudhsagar Waterfall or the Rivona Buddhist Caves but there is always next time.

I won't lie, I was truly excited to try Goan cuisine. Everyone I had spoken to before the trip told me that trying traditional Fish Curry was a must! Goan cuisine is famous for its variety of seafood dishes cooked with coconut, chili, spices, and sometimes vinegar giving the food a very unique flavor.

The Goan food I tried fell into 3 types: Traditional, Portuguese, and Fusion; and it was delicious. Some of my favorites were: Shrimp Curry, Choris pao (Goan Bread stuffed with spiced Pork Sausage), Brinjal Piri Piri, Chicken Xacutti, Rissois de CamarĂ£o (Shrimp Dumplings), and of course the Fish curry.

Missing the warm sunshine on this rainy  November day, I tried to replicate that delicious curry I had. This dish has just the right amount of heat, tasty fresh fish cooked in a warmly spiced thick coconut tomato sauce and served with basmati rice.

Here's my recipe for Goan Fish Curry:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Fatorpa, South Goa - India

I’m excited to join up again this month with fellow blogger Fiona Ryan's  A-Z Guidebook Travel Linkup over at Tiffin Bite Sized Food Adventures. This travel tale link-up goes from November 15th - November 22th, this time travels with the letter "F".

"F" is for Fatorpa, Goa, India

For those who don't know, Goa is a small state located in the western region of India bordering the Arabian Sea. Most people hear, Goa, and think beaches and parties, but there is so much more. It is visited by both international and domestic tourists for its beaches, temples, churches, and heritage architecture. It also has great biodiversity due to its location on the Western Ghats.
The impact of Portuguese colonialism is evident to this day; in the architecture, music, colloquial language, bull fighting, and of course religion. Religion is generally a touchy subject especially with a history of violent conversions, and persecution. Most people are unaware of the fact that the Inquisition was dispatched to Goa at the request of St. Francis Xavier, in a 1545 letter to John III of Portugal. 

While we were in Goa we decided to visit the famous Shri Shantadurga Kunkalikarin Temple. Due to the Inquisition, the Goddess's Murti (Icon) was moved to the village of Fatorpa. Stories say, once there was a terrible war between the Gods Shiva and Vishnu and the entire world was distressed. Brahma prayed and begged Shakti (the Divine Mother) to stop the war. The Goddess came and held Shiva by one hand and Vishnu by the other hand and made them make peace. This form of the Goddess is called Shantadurga, 'Shanta' meaning peaceful. Shantadurga is the calm form of the Hindu goddess Durga. In this form, she is also known as the Goddess of Dreams because she visits her followers in dreams. The temple complex is beautiful, the architecture, carved statues on the facade,  and beautifully carved woodwork. It clearly states not to take pictures inside the temple, and I respected that, but I did take photos outside and the surrounding area.

As I slowly walked from one end of the peaceful temple complex to the other, stopping to visiting the smaller shrines...I couldn't help but feel like I was being followed. When I got to the Lord Ganesha shrine at the far end of the complex, I turned around and there she was...

I was being followed by a beautiful butter-blonde cow. I petted her and softly told her how sweet and pretty she was, gave her some leaves to eat, and thought she would go on her way. But no! She kept following, and when I got to the car to leave she tried to come with, sticking her head in the window. Our driver and other devotees watched, and laughed as she tried to stick herself in the car. One devotee shouted to me, not to worry that it was a good sign animals are attracted to a good heart. As it was time to go, we had to slowly and carefully drive past her. She followed us to the main gate of the temple, and watched with her big brown eyes as we continued our journey.

Fatorpa, South Goa - India

For more Letter "F" travel stories, visit A-Z Guidebook Linkup. Stay tuned next month for more travel, centering around the Letter "G"!
TIFFIN - bite sized food adventures -

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Spiced Peanut Brittle w/ Cocoa Nibs

Food 'n Film "The Princess Bride" - Peanut Brittle

I remember when we got our first VCR in the late '80s, and I definitely remember our very first VHS. Dad came home with this gray rectangle and on the cover were blue clouds, a castle, and two people...scrawled across the top was the title...."The Princess Bride." Now, there are films we identify with during different stages of our lives, and some that stay with us through out…this is the latter.  The great story - Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...  The quotable lines - "Inconceivable!" "As You Wish", "Hello, My Name is Inigo Montoya..."  The lovable characters played by some truly great actors, all these things have left their mark. I love this movie, the book, the soundtrack…love it! My sister, my brother and I can all recite the movie dialogue almost word for word and always wait for the song, "Storybook Love" played at the credits. It is a cherished part of our childhood.

It’s funny how our four main characters: Buttercup, Westley, Inigo, Fezzik, have appealed to me in different ways throughout my life. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Rutgers Entrepreneurship Ag Program: Responding to Ethnic Palates!

Rutgers Vegetable Research Farm 3 signpost at the entrance of the research farm where the EAP plots are located at #67 Ryders Lane, East Brunswick, NJ

As a kid growing up in Manhattan I was surrounded by an interesting and eclectic mix of people, languages, cultures, and cuisines. Just on our apartment floor alone we had everything ranging from Taiwanese and Russian, to Polish and Italian. Chef Ed Lee describes this experience really well in “Mind of a Chef” - Season 3, Episode 1 ‘Origin.' 

But once we moved out to Central NJ things changed. Since we now had a backyard, as I mentioned before, my parents began growing a few vegetable, staples like lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, and zucchini. But it also meant that vegetables we had easy access to in the city, were unheard of in the suburbs; Avocado, Cilantro, Yuca, Banana Leaves, Chayote, Papaya, Mamey, Plantains and God-forbid Platano-Maduros just to name a few. The only place we could get some of these items was the one very, small Chinese shop in town. This meant if we went to the city, we’d come back with goodies; family would also oblige us when they came to visit.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Food 'n Film - November 2015

Welcome to Food 'n Film for November!

There is no set theme for November, it is Blogger's choice. Looking forward to your movie picks, and the recipes that come out out of them! :)

How to take part in the Food 'n Film link-up

Monday, November 2, 2015

In My Kitchen - November 2015

It's time for another round of the very cool monthly happening called "In My Kitchen" run by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

So here we go....

This Month in my Kitchen...

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