The Portuguese occupied Goa for some 400 years or so, so the cuisine of Goa is multi-faceted. There’s the very traditional South Indian/Hindu food, food very much influenced by Portuguese/Catholic cuisines, and food from Muslim kitchens – they occupied Goa before the Portuguese. There are also the cuisines of other groups in Goa e.g. the migrant workers who come from the North of India to find labouring work. It is fascinating and layered.
Feijoada is a Portuguese dish that has been adopted and adapted by Goa. This is a vegetarian version, aromatic with spices, coconut and tamarind. In Goa it is usually made with a variety of black eyed peas grown locally, but here we adapt by using kidney beans.
Kidney Bean Feijoada from Goa
1.5 cups fejoan (red kidney beans)
8 dried red chillies (or to your taste)
1 tspn black peppercorns
1 Tblspn coriander seeds
1 tspn cumin seeds
1 cup grated coconut – desiccated, fresh or frozen
2 Tblspn ghee
2 large onions, chopped very finely
1 Tbspn Tamarind Pulp or 0.5 tspn tamarind concentrate
salt to taste
Soak the beans overnight and cook in a pressure cooker, slow cooker or on the stove top in the water in which they were soaked.
Roast all of the spices on a dry pan and grind very fine in a spice grinder or blender. Roast the coconut till fragrant and just beginning to brown – be very careful, it burns easily. Grind in a grinder or blender until fine.
Heat the ghee in a kadai or pan and sauté the onion. Add the roasted ground spices and coconut and stir fry for a minute.
Add the beans and enough water to make a thick sauce. Add the salt and tamarind. Stir and cook for 10 minutes.
If you have time, leave for an hour or so for the flavours to develop, and reheat before serving.
recipe notes and alternatives
This recipe goes well with Goan Coconut Rice Flatbread or Roti, or with Sannas, a steamed rice “muffin”. If you don’t have the traditional accompaniments, try a Middle Eastern flatbread or idli.
Borlotti beans can be used instead of kidney beans.
You can cook the beans very well, and mash them to make a spicy wonderful dip.