In Goa there are several distinct cuisines – Indian/Hindu, Indian-Portuguese/Christian-Catholic, and Muslim. They differ quite considerably. The cuisine that receives the most prominence in cookbooks and online is the food that derived from the Portuguese Catholic invasion of 1510 and occupation until 1961.
Many of the well known dishes of Goa – Xacuti and Vindaloo for example – derive from this period and originate from Portuguese dishes that, over time, were enhanced with Indian food and taste preferences. Some Indian dishes were integrated into the cuisine, and most likely were influenced with flavours adjusted to the tastes of the Portuguese.
This soup is another example. It is a very simple soup – you can’t imagine how tasty it is from the simple ingredients. It is derived from a Portuguese dish and forms the basis of other Goan soups. Although simple, it is also a festive dish, served at weddings. It is a mild soup, but the cheese and pepper add beautiful flavours. It is common in Goa to use stock cubes to add flavour, but I use some quickly made, home made vegetable stock.
Note that there is a similar soup, Caldo Verde, which includes Goan greens and potatoes. It is different to this recipe.
2 cups milk
6 cups vegetable stock or water
2 Tblspn cheddar cheese, grated
3 Tblspn cornflour
1 onion, chopped finely
1 Tblspn butter
sea salt and white pepper
Saute the onion in the butter until tender. Add the stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the soup, return to the heat, and bring the soup back to a simmer.
Mix the cornflour with water to make a flowing paste. While stirring continuously, slowly add the cornflour paste, and continue stirring as the soup thickens.
Simmer for 3 minutes, then add the milk and cheese and simmer for another 5 mins. Continue stirring while the soup cooks so that the cornflour does not stick to the bottom.
Add salt and pepper (white or black) to taste. Serve with croutons, toasty triangles, or toast soldiers.
recipe notes and alternatives
There are many non traditional variations to this soup. Here are a few that I have used at various times.
Add chopped celery to the onion and cook as per the recipe. If more texture is desired, the soup does not need to be strained.
The soup is a creamy, subtle soup which is delicious. It can also form the basis for many non-traditional variations. Add a spice mix or curry powder to the soup. Add garlic to the onions, and an Indian dried red chilli or two. Garnish with green chilli, sliced. Stir through chopped coriander. There are so many ways you can vary this dish.
Serve with chopped tomato, cucumber and sprouts.
Cheesy croutons would be divine with this soup.
Vary the cheese that you use – try some of the harder cheeses that melt with heat. Or try adding cream instead of the cheese – add it after you remove the soup from the heat.