West Indian Cuisine
West Indian cuisines are cooked in states like Goa, Gujarat and Maharashtra, along with union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadar and Nagar Haveli. Here one may find the different fish preparation of Malwani style as well use of coconut oil in cooking food. Tamarind is a widely used spice here. Oily food is mainly found in the state of Maharashtra. The famous dishes that one must try here are as follows:
The taste of Goan cuisines mainly have influence of the Portuguese style of cooking. The ingredients mainly used here are coconut milk, rice, seafood and other local spices. Especially fish, without which Goan food can't be even imagined. Also, since the state is a hot destination of tourists from all over the world, the food here has assumed an international aspect to it, covering everything from veg to non-veg. Some of the famous Goan dishes are:
- Sorpatel (pork curry): This is a Goan special pork curry preparation which includes pork liver, intestine, lungs and heart. For people who can't get over its ingredients, the dish is toned down a bit by including only the pork meat and liver. It is a must try for anyone coming to Goa.
- Pork Vindaloo: Another popular Goan pork dish, it is made with pork chops and is to be eaten with rice and green salad.
- Prawn Ambot Tik: This is another curry made with prawns and is to be eaten with boiled rice. Also, chicken or fish could be used instead of prawns, but all that depends on your taste.
- Fish Xacuti: Xacuti is a spicy curry preparation made of fish, to which even chicken could be added instead of fish. It is best eaten with rice pulao and green leafy salad.
Maharashtrian dishes are known to be very spicy, but then again, the taste depends from region to region. There is an entire range, from mild to spicy food, to choose from. Ingredients like rice, bajra, wheat and lentil are mainly added to many preparations. The most popular dishes of this state are:
- Vada Paav: A popular snack made of fried mashed potato and eaten with a bun, called paav accompanied with a red spicy chuttney made of garlic and fried chillies. It is also called Indian-style burger.
- Misal Paav: It is a very spicy Kolhapuri-style preparation made from lentil sprouts in a red curry and topped with pohay, chivda and batata-bhaji (potato). It is had with bread.
- Pohay: It is one dish that is very near to the hearts of people of Maharashtra. It is made of flattened rice mixed with ground nut, onion, potato and sweet and salty spices and cooked on medium heat. It is mainly taken with tea in breakfast or evening snacks.
- Chivda: It is made of flattened rice grains, mixed in spices. It is a snack item and is also known as Bombay mix in other countries.
The food preferences and style of cooking vary in different regions of the state like the Konkan, Southern Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Pune and Kolhapur.
Most of the food here is vegetarian. Since the area has many Jains, the food is heavily influenced by Jain vegetarianism. The traditional food item here is a Gujarati thali, which includes roti, dal/ kadhi, rice and a sabzi (this sabzi will usually be a mix of different vegetables). The food here is either sweet, salty, or spicy; sometimes it is all of these at the same time, for eg, dhokla, which is the most popular snack of Gujarat. Also, the staple diet includes khichdi (made of rice or pulses), chaas (buttermilk) and a variety of spicy pickles. Keri no ras is a drink made of fresh mango pulp and mixed with sugar and other mild spices. It is beneficial for tackling the adverse effects of heat. Bhakri is another very popular food item here, which is nothing but thick chapattis made of jaggery or wheat and is to be had with garlic chuttney and chaas.
Daman and Diu
Like Goa, it was a former Portuguese colony and so, its food preparations have elements of Portuguese preparation styles. Being a coastal region, the people here consume a lot of fish. Some popular cuisines are:
- Rotla and saag: Rotla is a kind of bread made of wheat, jaggery and rice which is to be had with saag, a thick curry made of fish and vegetables.
- Chokka and saag: Chokka, meaning boiled rice, is taken with saag.
Some main dishes that are prepared around festival season are:
- Puri: fried bread
- Lapsee: It is a thick paste-like preparation consisting of ghee, sugar, wheat and flour.
- Potaya: It is a fried preparation made with wheat, sugar and flour.
Dadar and Nagar Haveli
One can choose from various pulses and vegetable. Variety of mushrooms are available here. Also, there are various kinds of rotis that are made using wheat, raagi or jaggery. Seafood is common here and crabs make for the best seafood delicacies of this region. Fishes like katla and mirgals are the best here. Fruits and herbs are used to prepare tantalizing chuttneys. Ubadiyu is the specialty of this place; it is made of mix vegetables and beans and is speically cooked in an earthen pot with a mix of special herbs.
So, these are the West Indian cuisines of each of the states of West India.
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