The best place to enjoy a Christmas feast in Goa is at the home of a local because the experience is much more varied than just the gustatory delight. It is an event full of stories, traditional wisdom, laughter, song and dance and full merriment.
On our visit to the state during the Yuletide season this December, we along with our foodie friends Ruturaj and Sneha went to our host Ruben's place to enjoy a delightful festive meal with the family. Young Ruben is a food blogger while her mom Fermina is an outstanding cook who has a deep love for the authentic Goan cuisine that she is trying to keep alive through her cooking videos and workshops.
After the introduction, we settled down for some refreshment and snacks. Ruben's mom Fermina served us some zesty chutney sandwiches that were indeed a perfect starter. She was all excited to have us and in no time we felt as if we were home.
After a brief conversation about the festive activities we went to the kitchen to see the lunch preparations. Both Fermina and Ruben were in charge of the cooking. They started with preparation of chicken masala followed by peas pulao and fish cutlet. One by one as the dishes came to form, the whole kitchen was full of enticing aromas that clearly made us hungry.
Before digging into the main course we first tasted some fish cutlets which were spicy, crunchy and soft. Soon after the meal was laid out and we had two more two more additions to the list. One was the hot and spicy pork vindaloo and the other was a refreshing salad. The pork was prepared a day earlier as it tastes best when it matures over a day or two.
As we all settled together for the meal, what followed was the session of fascinating and amusing anecdotes and stories about this food tradition.
For dessert we had a luscious coffee infused caramel pudding which was simply awesome. After the surfeit of food, we sneaked in a nap and again joined Fermina to check out some of the homemade Christmas special sweets. There was a whole bunch of them including pinagr, dodol, perad, milk toffee, kulkuls, coconut burfi, dodol etc.
But we were so full that we sampled only a few of them and headed on to make the quintessential Christmas treat the rum cake. We all joined Ruben and his mom to make the cake from scratch. The main ingredient was the rum soaked fruits that have been soaking for the past 20 days. After the fun baking session, we sat down to savour a warm and fragrant slice.
Finally we all got along for Penguin dance to the melodious tunes of violin played by Ruben's sister Rachel.
Heartfelt thanks to all for such warmth and care. We will always cherish this heartwarming encounter.