Rice paddies in Goa
"My great-grandmother had these coconut plantations and rice paddies, so she would cook in earthen pots over the coconut husks, wood and shells, and all the food had a very strong, woodsy smell," says Cardoz.
"We had cooks and so my mom never cooked when we were growing up, but she is an amazing cook now. On this trip she made me mackerel; I’d never seen one this big and it tasted so good. You filet them on both sides off the bone and stuff them with this chili / garlic / vinegar / cumin paste, which is to die for, and then pan fry it, so some of the stuff gets on the outside and gets all crispy, and it’s absolutely delicious."
Tagdola - "Ice Apples"
"These are tadgola, from the big borassus palm tree. In Africa the elephants eat them and the fall and they grow, but in India they’re harvested when they’re young. We used to call them ice apples you peel the skin and the inside is like a clear gelée, almost like a lychee but clearer, and the center is filled with water. The smaller ones have a slight sweetness to them, but they’re all about the texture."
Eggplant, okra and rat-tailed radishes at the market.
"I saw new things I’d like to try and apply here. I saw a grain—jowar—that I had never seen green before, only dried, so I’m going to see if I can get it here. It’s very nutty and different, and you could almost eat it sautéed like peas or edamame."
"I saw rat-tailed radishes that taste so much like radish."
Fresh Bombay Duck
"There is something I’d die for; a fish called Bombay Duck that I always want to eat many times when I go to India. It’s a lizard fish, and extremely soft when you catch it, almost like a jellyfish. It has bones in it you can eat, but the way they figured out how to eat it is to crust it with semolina, so it’s crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside."
"It’s a sweet fish, almost like hake, but softer. Most of the fish in Goa is pan-fried, or sometimes dried and used in stews. In the north they grill whole fish on skewers or batter and deep-fry, but in Goa it’s not the culture to deep fry."
Rice at a Goan market
"I was very surprised by all the different types of rice in India. There are so many! You never hear about it though, so who’s using them? Why are we only eating basmati rice? I couldn’t believe how many they have. When I was a kid I didn’t want to eat other kinds either, like the fat Goan red rice, which as an adult I love. I guess when you see something so often you kind of lose the love for it. It got me thinking about doing a rice and clam dish as an appetizer here with a different rice than what we use in the risotto."
"Tacos" at A Riverie restaurant
"At A Reverie restaurant they called this a taco, but it was a roti with fried fish in it, and another with yogurt, like a soft, creamy paneer cheese."
Choris Pau at A Reverie restaurant
"This is a choris pau, where you take a Portuguese-style bread, stew the Goan sausage and make a sandwich. So it’s from the Portuguese, but looking at it a little differently."