Think of Goa and you can feel a warm happy, lazy feeling sweep over you. Beaches with golden sand, blue(ish) waters, fabulous fish all washed down with a cool glass of Feni for some, beer for most. But there is more to eat in Goa than just fabulous seafood. The food of Goan Hindus and particularly the food of Goan Catholics with its Portugese roots, has flavors unlike any other in all of India.
Goan Catholic cuisine features a lot of vinegar, pork, beef, rich meat stews, sweet and creamy desserts, and amazing breads. One of the most popular dishes is Sorpotel, a rich, spicy, red dish of Portuguese origin made with Pork. This dish inspires some serious passion amongst its lovers, even driving some to write poetry in its honor. Here’s a snippet from Philip Furtado’s Ode to Sorpotel.
Ode to Sorpotel
For the hotchpotch known as haggis
Let Scotchmen yearn or yell;
On the taste of Yorkshire pudding
Let the English fondly dwell
Their famed tandoori chicken
Let Punjabis praise like hell
But for us who hail from Goa
There’s naught like SORPOTEL !
Brenda Braganza Almeida is a vivacious mother of two and like any good Goan, hosts fantastic parties. Her house parties that feature her famous Sorpotel are always a hit. She was generous enough to share that recipe with us and we’re happy to be bringing it to you so you can bring a taste of Goa into your home.
2 kg Pork (boneless)
¼ kg Liver
6 Red Kashmiri chillies
10 Pepper corns
Tamarind – marble sized
1 Garlic pod
Vinegar and salt to taste
4 Onions, chopped( optional if you want gravy)
2 Green chillies, slit
1 tsp Sugar
Boil the pork and liver in water with a little salt. Save the stock for use later . Cut the pork and liver into ½ “cubes. Brown the cubes in batches, with no oil in the pan as the fat in the meat will be more than enough as it releases during the cooking process. Reserve the leftover fat for later use. Dry roast the Kashmiri red chillies, peppercorns and cloves and then grind them along with ginger, garlic and tamarind to a fine paste. You can grind them in water but Brenda prefers using Vinegar. Taste and add water if required. Add a little salt while grinding.
Take a small quantity of the reserved fat and fry the onions. When they turn golden brown add the browned pork and liver. Stir well and add the ground paste and stir again so that the pork and the liver are coated with the paste. Add the stock and if you need more gravy add some water. Stir in the sugar and if you need more salt add it in now along with the 2 slit green chillies. Stir occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom. Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer for a while. When the fat separates from the gravy and rises to top and the gravy is thickened, your Sorpotel is ready!
Brenda’s tip: Prepare this dish a few days before you want to serve it as Sorpotel tastes better as it matures……