Massive Goan Bhatkar (landlord) Thali

In today's episode of our Goan Food Exploration, we will introduce you to an eye popping Bhatkar Thali that we had tried at the home of our gracious host Siya Shriwaikar at their lovely home in Quepem, South Goa. During the Portuguese regime, the Landlords were referred to as “Bhatkars”. They were people with vast landed property. Hence the term is believed to have originated from there. Just like all other facets of their lifestyle, their affluence was also visible in their food habits. Thus lavish spread was a common thing.

While speaking to Siya and parents we came to know that her grandfather too was a bhatkar cum lawyer. But they belong to the Gaud Saraswat Brahmin community. Because of the multiple cultural influences, a Bhatkar thali is an amalgamation of Portuguese influenced dishes and Gaud Saraswat Brahmin delicacies. Needless to say, this thali is dominated by traditional seafood dishes.

Since it was a humongous spread with nearly 22 items, Siya had already prepared most of the things in advance. Soon we joined her to oversee some classic dishes like cafreal paaplet, bharillyo rechead maankyo, bangdyache dangar, tallillo visvan and bangdyachi kismoor. Going through the process we got to know so many things about the Goan flavours.

Once all the dishes were ready, Siya meticulously laid them out on a thali over a banana leaf. This was done to acquaint us with how the food is traditionally served. but soon after we joined the family over the dining table. Everything from the starters to the main dishes were delicious. Siya's mother taught Anubhav how to eat the crab meat out of the shell. The stories, flavours and the hospitality made it a memorable meeting.

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