MISCELLANEOUS, Goa

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  • Indian Naan Bread (photo from cook book)
    Indian Naan Bread (photo from cook book)
    by JessH
  • Prawn Masala (photo from cooking magazine)
    Prawn Masala (photo from cooking...
    by JessH
  • A float during the parade
    A float during the parade
    by Justin_goa
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    Raksha bandhan (the bond of protection )

    by Justin_goa Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Rakhi thread
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    Raksha bandhan (the bond of protection in Hindi) or Rakhi is a Hindu festival which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. Sisters tie a rakhi (a holy thread) around their brothers' wrists. The brother in return offers a gift to his sister and vows to look after her. This festival is typically an occasion for celebration by the whole family.

    It is not necessary that the rakhi can be given only to a blood brother - any male can be "adopted" as a brother by tying a rakhi on the person. Indian history is replete with women asking for protection, through rakhi, from men who were neither their brothers, nor Hindus themselves. Rani Karnavati of Chittor sent a rakhi to the Mughal Emperor Humayun when she was threatened by Bahadur Shah of Mewar. Humayun abandoned an ongoing military campaign to ride to her rescue.

    The origin of the festival is mostly attributed to one of following mythological incidents:

    1. Indra's fight with Vritra - Indra, the king of devtas (gods), had lost his kingdom to the asura (demon) Vritra. At the behest of his Guru Brihaspati, Indra's wife Sachi tied a thread around her husband's wrist to ensure his victory in the upcoming duel.

    2. Draupadi and Krishna during the Rajsuya yagya - After Shishupal's death, Krishna was left with a bleeding finger. Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, had torn a strip of silk off her sari and tied it around Krishna's wrist to staunch the flow of blood. Touched by her concern, Krishna had declared himself bound to her by her love. He further promised to repay the debt manifold, and spent the next 25 years of his life doing just that. For all that Draupadi was the daughter of a powerful monarch, sister to a legendary warrior, and wife to five warrior princes, Krishna remained the only man she could ever truly depend on.

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    Shigmo (Holi) festival...

    by Justin_goa Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    A float during the parade

    Generally known as Holi, the month of Phalgun signifies the onset of what in Goa is known as Shigmo. Celebrated mostly by the masses in the close religious association of religious rites, the festival of Shigmo is accompanied by the fanfare of drum beats and the epic enactions of Mythology. Colour in vivid vibrancy hues the festivities that bedeck every area that is celebrating Shigmo.

    "Gulal" and "Neel" are abundantly used to colour the very atmosphere in celebration of what is heralding the onset of the most colourful season, spring.

    Today, the Shigmotsav has highlighted its festivities with the performance of troupes in the form of parades and cultural dances. The streets in the townships, at dusk resound with the music of the Dholl, the drums and conches as huge effigies of wondrous color and light effects parade their way to prize winning combinations.

    Shigmo is a social festival with a religious core. It is the Goan counterpart of the Holi in the rest of India. Puja is performed of the stems of the teflam fruits or betel nut, struck on the ground before the temple and a little grass put at their feet is then burnt. There are a number of dances which burst forth on this occasion in the spirit of plenty that marks the harvesting season.
    Next time when you are in Goa, in Feb.. don't forget to join the parade and dance your way along..it's nice...

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    Recipe for my easy & authentic prawn curry!

    by JessH Updated May 24, 2009

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    Prawn Masala (photo from cooking magazine)

    This is a recipe from a friend in Goa that I brought back home with me. It's been tried and tested - I've cooked it quite a few times and it's always fantastic! I never thought that I'd be able to cook a curry to "Indian restaurant standards" in my kitchen, but this really does taste 100% genuinely Indian (like a masala)! It's also really low in fat & calories as there is no added cream, etc.
    You will need:
    > 1 large non-stick pan
    > 600g medium-sized fresh or frozen prawns (also works with chicken)
    > 2 medium onions
    > 4 medium tomatoes
    > 2 cinnamon sticks (or half tsp cinnamon powder)
    > 4 cardamom pods (optional; I don't like cardamon)
    > 4 cloves
    > 2 green chillies (or half tsp chilli powder)
    > 2 tablesp. ginger and garlic paste
    > some salt
    > half tsp turmeric powder
    > 1 tsp red chilli powder
    > 1 tsp coriander powder
    > 1 Tablesp. cumin powder
    > 1 Tablesp. tomato paste
    > 2 cups (500ml) hot water
    > half tsp garam masala powder
    > 1/2 bunch of fresh, chopped coriander leaves.

    Let's get cooking!
    1. Heat your oil to medium heat & start frying 2 sticks of cinnamon, 4 cardamom pods and 4 cloves with the chopped onions & green chillies and fry for about 5 min. or until onions are a light golden brown.
    2. Now add the ginger & garlic paste, stir for a few minutes.
    3. Now add the spices: turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder & garam masala and fry for 5 min over low heat, stirring frequently.
    4. Add the chopped tomatoes followed by 1 tablesp. of cumin powder. Stir. Add 1 tablesp. of tomato paste & a cup of water - keep stirring until the water is absorbed. Turn the heat down, put the lid on and leave to simmer for 10-15 min, or until oil separates from the dish & rises to the top.
    5. Turn the heat back up & add the prawns. Add 2 generous pinches of salt.
    6. Add approx. 100ml of warm water & stir. Then put lid on and bring the heat down. Leave for about 10 min. or until prawns are cooked - check occasionally.
    7. Finally, check whether your seasoning is good & last but not least stir in the chopped, fresh coriander.
    --> Serve either with rice or with some warm, fresh Naan bread or Parathas.
    *Khana Majese Khao!* (Enjoy your meal!)

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    Recipe for your very-own, home made Naan bread!

    by JessH Updated Mar 30, 2009

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    Indian Naan Bread (photo from cook book)

    When I first tasted Naan bread many years ago, at a small backstreet Indian restaurant in Hong Kong, I was instantly hooked. It's hot, "squidgy" and thick - perfect to soaking up the delicious curry sauces - and often providing some temporary relief if your tongue is burning from a spicy meal!
    Centuries ago the Moguls brought Naan bread to India (the Moguls came from Persia; the Persian word for bread is naan). Naan bread isn't exclusively eaten on the subcontinent: it is also part of the local diet in countries such as Afghanistan.

    Typically there are 3 types of Naan bread: Plain, with butter or my favourite: butter & garlic! The ingredients for my recipe aren't 100% authentic - but rather have been adjusted to include ingredients that are widely available in modern supermarkets.

    You will need:
    (makes approx. 9 pieces)
    > 450 g plain flour.
    > 1/2 teaspoon salt.
    > 1 teaspoon baking powder.
    > 2 teaspoons active dry yeast.
    > 2 teaspoons sugar.
    > 150ml milk, hand-hot.
    > 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil.
    > 150 ml natural yoghurt, lightly beaten.
    > 1 egg, lightly beaten.
    > some fresh, chopped coriander.

    Let's get baking!
    1. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, yeast and sugar in a bowl and pour in the hand-hot milk, oil, yoghurt and the beaten egg and mix it all together to form a ball of dough.
    2. Place the dough on to a clean surface and knead it for 10min or more, until it is smooth and "satin-like".
    3. Pour about 1/4 tsp oil into a large bowl and roll the ball of dough in it.
    4. Cover the bowl with a piece of cling film and set aside in a warm place for the yeast to do its job: this will take approx. an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
    5. Pre-heat oven to the highest temperature. Place the heaviest baking tray to heat in the oven.
    6. Punch down the dough and knead it again and divide into 9 equal balls.
    7. While working on 1 ball, keep the remaining balls covered. Flatten the ball using your hands (or rolling pin) into an oval naan, about 15cm in length and 12cm at its widest. Brush the top with melted butter (and sprinkle with grated/chopped garlic if you like).
    8. Remove the hot baking tray from the oven, grease it well with butter or oil and place the naan on to it (you can cook up to 4 naans in one go).
    9. Put it into the oven on the top rack for 2-3min. It should puff up and brown slightly (do keep an eye on it).
    10. Once puffed up and browned on one side, flip the naan and back into the oven for another 1-2min till the top of naan goes golden brown.
    11. Finished! Naan is best served hot and sprinkled with some fresh coriander.

    TIP No.1: You can also bake naan in a heavy pan ontop of your stove. But I find that they "puff up" better in the oven.

    TIP No.2: You can also make a big batch of naan in advance and once they've cooled, wrap them individually and freeze them for a later date.

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    Life in the city - II

    by Escadora7 Updated Oct 5, 2008

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    [Blast from the past - A letter from my folks detailing what is was like living in Goa around 1950s/60s]

    Papa would NEVER be seen at Quepem naka in chappals (sandals) and would admonish dada if he even made an attempt to take a walk without his shoes. There were no mixers, televisions, phones, washing machines or driers. The masalas were ground on grinding stones, clothes were hand washed daily then dried outside on long lines in the sun.

    Yes – come to think of it, compared to today’s standards you would say it was a hard life. But the beauty of it is that none of us thought of it as that back then – in fact, we thought of it as a ‘fun’ life – we were healthier, thus sturdier – (today’s generation is obese with remote controls for everything under the sun).

    Despite all the hard work, evening time was a time for prayer and chit-chat and we children would sit at the cross in the little grotto in front of our house – (during the month of May it could get quite noisy with all the Bombayites descending for their holidays, though very quiet for the rest of the year) – and would sing lustily and merrily away, the air filled with the sounds of our voices.

    People were caring and sharing; they didn’t consider only their own nuclear (father, mother and children) families as their own, but considered all their relatives as a comprehensive joint FAMILY too – now called EXTENDED families.

    These are just few of my special nostalgic memories which bring smiles, laughter and sometimes tears with them.

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    Life in the countryside

    by Escadora7 Updated Oct 5, 2008

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    [Blast from the past - A letter from my folks detailing what is was like living in Goa around 1950s/60s]

    Our hols were spent mostly in Nanny's (grandmoms) maternal home where we were totally spoilt by her brother / sister and extended families.

    Living at Quepem (South Goa) meant extra work of raking dead leaves and weeds, to keep the coconut grove clean of the huge heavy dried palms which fell to the ground, helping nanny in filling water from the well (there were no taps nor was there electricity), walking in circles through the hot paddy kept on mats in the sun for it to dry before being sent to the flour mill, roasting the cashew seeds over a gentle flame to break the nut from the kernel, making sure our fingers didn't blister with the juice of the kernel (though we had farmers and help, nanny insisted that we too did our share of jobs), enjoying the game of catching the mangoes when they fell with the first showers of rain before the pigs got to them, going with nanny in the hot afternoon sun across the dam behind the house and to the aframent (our farms and fields) to check the cashew and mangoes in the orchard (about 2 hours of walking in the hot sun - there was no road across the dam).

    She was free only in the afternoons, hence our 'hot sun' trips. We would go to the farmers houses and listening to their complaints saying each year there were no crops, drinking gallons of coconut water frm our trees, and eating mango jam to last a lifetime. The storeroom at the back of our cottage was always filled with mangoes, jackfruits, cashews, guavas, papayas, bananas, tender coconuts - all grown at home!

    A glimpse into my past - a paradox of simple and also luxurious living - a charmed childhood!!

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    Some Famous Goans

    by Escadora7 Updated Oct 5, 2008

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    * Leander Paes, international tennis player.
    * Remo Fernandes, prominent Goan pop star and Bollywood playback singer
    * Lorna, Goa's nightingale
    * Lata Mangeshkar, great playback singer of India. She has a world-record for the highest number of recorded songs.
    * Asha Bhosle, another great playback singer.Younger sister of Lata Mangeshakar
    * Mario de Miranda, famous for his cartoons
    * Ivan Dias, Cardinal Prefect, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Rome (Mumbai/Goa)


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  • Women be aware

    by golden88 Written Oct 11, 2007

    We've been coming to Goa for 8 years and have made numerous friends with locals, ex pats and holidaymakers. From all my experiences I think the Goan people are the friendliest people in the world. However my wife didn't think so initially due to the cultural way ( as in othe rparts of India, and the Middle East ) that they virtually ignore your wife on first meetings. They shake hands or later hug you, ask you what you want to eat and also what SHE wants too. For a feminist as my wife is most surely, it was disconcerting for her, but we now realise that it is respect from the Goans to both of us that a stranger does not address a man's wife without 'permission' from the man. Quaint but true. Even now after years of going I am still greeted as a long lost friend and my wife with a wet cod two fingered handshake.

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  • Most Indians here are NOT Goan!!

    by djferros Written Mar 10, 2007

    Most Indian people i met in Goa are not even Goan. Many have travelled from over India to be in Goa and soak up the Goan atmosphere as well.

    It is actually hard to meet real Goans and they stay away from the tourist places.
    You can usually meet them at chrurch events, wedding etc. Else, apart from that i doubt you will ever meet one.

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    Travel from Bombay to Goa

    by Escadora7 Updated Oct 27, 2006

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    [http://www.irfca.org/gallery/] Portuguese Rail
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    [Blast from the past - A letter from my folks detailing what is was like travelling from Bombay to Goa around 1950s/60s]

    Travelling to Goa was a totally different scene - it took us 4 days to travel from Bombay to Goa. Travel was done in a 'First Class' coupë - which had an attached bathroom, hat stand, etc. and also a room for the attendants, they don't make those steam engines any more. By the end of the journey, we were covered in black soot - ofcourse, that's when the attached bathroom came in handy!

    Changed trains at Pune - spent time in the 'First Class' restroom for the connecting train which arrived about 10 hours later for Miraj or Londa Stations.

    Changed again at Miraj / Londa Stns after another endless wait for train to Goa.

    A long wait at 'Castle Rock' Stn. which was the border of Maharashtra and Goa. Here the suitcases were checked by Customs (like u have at airports today) and after another long wait entered Goa territory and were welcomed by the Portuguese soldiers with their affable nature.

    Papa (as all other travellers) would then go to the local tavernas and he would give us the finest Port wine made in Porto, Portugal and we clinked glasses and toasted 'salutë'!

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    Life in the city - I

    by Escadora7 Written Oct 27, 2006

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    [Blast from the past - A letter from my folks detailing what is was like living in Goa around 1950s/60s]

    We ourselves were kids then; we didn't have all the creature comforts of electricity, hot and cold running water, cemented roads. Public transport buses were like the yellow school buses you have abroad. They were called 'carreiras', only people in these were jam-packed like sardines since no passenger was turned away. Buses came after long intervals (there were no bus stops), and halted all along the route wherever there was a passenger waiting to hop on or hop off. Passengers were squeezed into buses along with baskets of chickens and ducks as they travelled with their wares from one village to another.

    The taxis we travelled in were all chevrolets and cadillacs, and frightfully expensive (as private transport is expensive even today in Goa, so it's cheaper to have a vehicle like abroad, but then, we were living abroad I guess, Goa in Portugal!). Papa (my grandad) travelled in chevrolets and cadillacs, suited and booted on each occasion. Nanny (my grandma) on the other hand, dragged us in buses to visit her family in Cuncolim to whom she was very close. Your eldest uncle would take us pillion on cycle from Quepem to Cuncolim, on a narrow dirt road (of course, no dirt - just bumpy with red mud and stones) which was a short cut, past your aunts house in Poitomado, Cuncolim to visit our cousins. By the end of the journey (about ½ hour by cycle), our bottoms were sore sitting on the front bars of the old cycle.

    But all of us just LOVED to visit our relatives in Cuncolim since they would always kill the fatted calf and have a big spread on the table and opened finest bottle of port. Aunts, uncles, cousins would always be thrilled and happy to see us (nothing was troublesome for them – if we said we liked something, it was made and we would be stuffed to eat even if our bellies were full). For them it was a privilege to have us over.

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    WATER WATER WATER

    by jimbo27 Written Oct 18, 2004

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    Stay hyrdated and drink lots of water.

    If you are just walking along the beaches or in the resorts, there is no need to carry water.

    It will get warm and it can be quite heavy.

    If you feel thirsty just go to a local shop or pop into a local bar and order some water.
    A bottle of water can cost between 15 - 30 rupees, and that can include the service.

    We go for walks around the resorts or along the beaches, and because the prices are good, we just stop off at a bar or beach shack and use their facilities. If we fancy a beer, we always get a bottle of water as well, just so you dont overdo.

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  • Dress Appropriately

    by KayPee Written Oct 15, 2004

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    It is nor the local custom to go to Mapusa or any other town in your bikini top and shorts. Please remember that you are in India, however much it may resemble the costa del sol. please respect local sensibilities and dress accordingly.

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    Respect the Cows!

    by dhod Written Apr 24, 2004
    No need for a dustbin!

    White cows are considered to be sacred creatures in India- and the animals know it. They are free to go wherever they like, at first it seems strange to see the cows wandering onto the beach, usually at lunch time when they can smell the food!
    The cows can be quite affectionate- not like the smelly timid things we get in the UK, and strangely but the Indian cows do not seem to smell.
    The younger cows tend to be a bit more adventureous and sniff around the tourists for food scraps, but it becomes part of the daily routine to feed the leftovers to them- they like beer too!

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    ...not to mention the kids :D

    by Janni67 Written Nov 11, 2003

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    Me me me, take a photo on me!

    There were always more than enough kids wanting to get to the picture. These children are pictured in Pomburpa village.

    Later when we were back to Finland and I got the photos developed I thought it would have been a great surprise to send some copies to this village, so that the children and that lady in the previous picture could have had their own copies. Somehow I just never got myself to act instead of just thinking :/

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