Why Goan sweets will always be a favorite?
Food is an important part of a Goan household, and you can see that from their special Sunday spread. The delicacies of Goa are a result of a rich and complex cultural exchange that happened centuries ago when immigrants, traders, and merchants came to India for trade or political asylum. The spices and local ingredients have transformed into these dishes, creating beautiful ‘Indianized’ versions of the original platter.
However, Goans are particularly fond of its desserts – a must after every meal – that goes hand in hand with their Susegad (relaxed and laid-back attitude towards life). The Goan sweets are great edible souvenirs to take back home, it is as if you are taking a part of Goa back with you.
What makes Goan sweets good?
Since coconut is an integral part of Goan cuisines, there is no surprise in guessing that the sweets and desserts made here would include this tropical fruit. The Goan treats either include coconut shavings or milk, which adds a different texture to the entire composition. For sweetening, instead of sugar Goans use jaggery enhancing the taste. Also, the inclusion of cardamom powder in most Goan sweets gives it an interesting kick.
Usually, the traditional sweets of Goa are mostly made during the important festivals like Christmas or New Year. Some of the popular Goan treats include Bebinca, Dodol, Perad, and so on.
Most Notable Goan Sweets You Cannot Miss
Fondly referred to as the ‘Queen of Goan desserts’, Bebinca is undoubtedly one of the most recognized Goan sweets. Also referred to as Bibik or Bebinka, this traditional dessert is a must in a Goan household during Christmas. If put simply, the dessert is a multi-layered cake made from ghee, coconut milk, plain flour, eggs, and sugar.
P.S: In Portugal and Mozambique, a different variation of Bebinca is made during the holiday season.
Main ingredients: Flour, ghee (clarified butter), nutmeg, sugar, egg yolk, coconut milk
Goes best with ice-cream.
2. Perad / Guava Cheese
Another popular dessert from Goa is Perad or Guava Cheese made from the pulp of the guava and sugar. The lime juice is added at the end of the making process, which adds a unique tangy flavor and balances the sweetness. Another Goa Christmas treat, this is mostly found in dinner tables of Catholic households. To make the Perad, the de-seeded guava pulp is cooked with sugar. After numerous stirring rounds and addition of butter and lime juice to the mix, what you get is a Perad. For many Goans, Perad is special. Do taste this Goan sweet on your trip to the beautiful state.
Main ingredients: Ripe guava, sugar, lime juice, and butter
Goes best with spiced tea or milk.
As one of the popular Goan sweets, Dodol is a toffee-like dessert made from coconut milk, rice flour, and caramelized coconut shavings. It’s a sweet well-known for its creamy texture has a rich brown color – somewhat similar to dark chocolates. Interestingly, it is believed that Dodol originated in Indonesia and was brought to Goa by the traders.
Whatever the history is, this sticky-sweet dessert is loved by the kids and adults alike.
Main ingredients: Jaggery, coconut milk, and rice flour, nuts for garnishing
Goes best with spiced coffee.
An interesting festive dessert of Goa, Patoleo or Patoli is the star of most celebratory meals. Regarded as one of the oldest traditional Goan sweets, both Hindu and Catholic meals are incomplete without the serving of Patoleo. Made with rice and jaggery wrapped in turmeric leaves (hôldi pân), and steamed till cooked, the treat has a beautiful texture.
Main ingredients: Rice flour, grated coconut, and jaggery
Goes best with a hot beverage like tea
One of the favorite Portuguese styled Goan sweets, Serradura is also known as a Macau Pudding or the Sawdust Pudding. Made from the humble ingredients like whipped cream and Marie biscuits, the dessert is surely a melt in the mouth treat. According to a few food historians, this dessert came to Indian with the Portuguese who had also set up a colony in Macau as well. Usually served cold, the Serradura is a perfect comfort food for nostalgic Goans.
Main ingredients: Whipped cream, Marie biscuit, condensed milk, vanilla extract for flavoring
Goes best with tea or spiced milk
The Goan Sweets are a delightful mix of flavors and different cooking techniques, and each one is a unique specialty. These desserts, some original some inspired from the Portuguese recipes, offer a great after taste in your mouth.
Overall, while exploring the different regions of Goa, do remember to take some time for these edible treats. You won’t regret the decision.