An Evening in Panjim

Panjim- Vibrant Facets

Panjim- Vibrant Facets

Goa is really a lovely place to live in. My husbands work requires him to move every once in a while so he has traveled extensively in India. I, on the other hand have seen very little of my beautiful country. My dad worked with a company that required him to travel to various countries and we happily followed him around. It has only been post-marriage that I have come to see how spectacularly diverse, colourful, exuberant, exciting and loud our country is. Take Goa for instance. Anyone who has traveled here will vouch for the fact that it has its own distinct appeal. I for one am in love with the place and cant think of a better place to settle down in. Its for that very reason that we recently bought a small apartment in Goa. So last weekend we went to check it out. We also had some odd jobs to do in panjim. Panjim, the capital of Goa is a sort of shopping haven to us Vasco-da-Gama residents. It’s about 1 hr drive from where we live, but it’s always fun to visit Panjim.

To say that Panjim is really glorious is stating the obvious. The city is captivating, with its Portuguese architectural heritage and its narrow winding roads, the white-washed churches, and its fine location at the mouth of the broad Mandovi River. The river front is a lovely, green-shaded road that is best explored at leisure, enjoying the colourful buildings and many character-laden eat-outs in Panjim.

We got home pretty late, which meant that we missed the Independence-Day ball being held at our club. We however made up for it by catching up on much needed sleep after a simple, yet stunning dinner of Prawns and Pasta in Tomato sauce.I got this recipe from here.

450g tomatoes
200g pasta, you can use any kind that is on hand
3 teaspoons oil
About 20 medium sized prawns, peeled and deveined
2 spring onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup white wine
Salt & pepper
1/3 cup cream
2 teaspoons finely shredded fresh basil and dill, and extra whole leaves for decoration
Grated Parmesan cheese
Pasta

Cook pasta in plenty of water and a little salt, or according to directions on packet.

Remove cores from tomatoes and place tomatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for 10-15 seconds, or until skin starts to lift. Remove from saucepan and place in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Peel off the skin and chop.

Fry the prawns in little oil until almost cooked (it will change colour).Keep aside.

Add the chopped spring onions and garlic to the pan with remaining oil and cook for 1-2 minutes, without browning. Add chopped tomato, wine and salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes until tomato is soft.

Add cream, dill and basil. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Puree this tomato mixture in a blender and return to the pan. Now add the almost cooked prawns.

Simmer until prawns are cooked through and sauce has thickened. Add cooked pasta to pan and stir to combine.

prawn&pasta in tomato sauce
Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Sizzling Rain

rain drops

That’s exactly what we decided to do. Sizzle in the rain.

Actually it was more of an experiment.We were unpacking our bbq grill after almost 5 years (it’s a miracle it was still useable). It was packed up in Goa when we were moving to Cochin 5 years back, and well it was time to go charcoal shopping again. An added motivation was brilliant barbecues that I had recently received.

Although it was been raining lightly in Goa the last few days we decided to go ahead with or BBQ plans and since we have a pretty large balcony and a covered portion as well , the rains couldn’t play spoilsport.

M and I pondered for hours on which recipe to try and we finally narrowed down to Caribbean marinade and buffalo chilli chicken. The Caribbean marinade was a bit too bland for my taste but the buffalo chilli chicken was “Yum-o!”. The charcoal we got was however not of great quality, perhaps the pieces were too big, and whatever the reason, it took AGES to heat up. And since my husband doesn’t drink alcoholic based drinks it was left to me to finish off the remaining beer. I passed the rest of the evening between having conversations with the marinated chicken and frequent trips to the loo!!!

on the grill

Barbecues that use coal generally take 45 minutes to heat. When the red glow has disappeared and what one sees is a thick coating of gray- That is the ideal temperature for slow cooking. In fact, the meaning of barbecue is, to slow cook. It is thought that the barbecue originated in America during the late 1800’s. When less than great cuts of meat were fed to the cowboys they tenderized this meat by several hours cooking. Although it is thought that the barbecue originated in America this isn’t true n and to this day it is thought that no body actually knows who invented the barbecue. The word itself might come from the word barbacoa which is a Taino Indian word which means meat smoking equipment. In fact its origin could even go back to the Stone Age when man had no equipment to cook with, just a stone, and a man-made fire and a freshly killed animal. Whatever the occasion or origin a barbecue is undisputedly a great way of cooking food and to indulge in the outdoors.

Experts aver that marinating times can be anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 days. As a general rule, the longer you marinate the more tender and flavoursome the food will be. Although food marinates faster at room temperature than in the refrigerator, I usually allow a longer marinating time in the refrigerator to ensure that the food remains safe to eat.

Buffalo chilli chicken

1 kg skinned chicken pieces
3 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 ½ cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup beer
1 ½ tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon Tabasco sauce or according to taste.
Score the pieces of chicken at 2 cm intervals and set aside.

In a shallow dish mix the spring onions, crushed garlic, tomato sauce, beer, vinegar, honey and Tabasco sauce. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Once barbecue is heated and ready for cooking, drain the chicken and place on lightly oiled barbecue grill. Baste frequently with the reserved marinade, and turn the chicken several times, for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through.Enjoy with Garlic Bread.
barbecued chicken

Note: The coking times for the chicken will depend on the size of the pieces. If you have a variety of sizes, place the larger , longer cooking pieces such as drumsticks and thighs on the barbecue first and cook for 5 minutes, before adding the smaller quicker cooking pieces such as wings and breasts.

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