Discover Goa’s lesser-known traditional sweets
A taste of the sun, sea and some Goan delicacies
When we think of Goa and food, the first thing that comes to mind is seafood! And when we think of a Goan sweet, bebinca is the most recognised one. But beyond the obvious treats that the sunshine state dishes up, lies a delectable array of traditional sweets that you may not have heard about, but should definitely try. The Godrej Food Trends Report 2021 reveals that in the past year, a dive into our own culture and roots has sparked interest in traditional and regional sweet treats. “The craze for western patisserie has plateaued. Now it’s time for a homegrown mithai revival. Locally-sourced and artisanal will be the keywords in the 2021 F&B diaries,” predicts Sibendu Das, a food journalist.
Here’s a curated selection of Goa’s sweet secrets that you must try during your next trip:
Serradura literally translates into ‘sawdust’ in Portuguese but there’s nothing bland about this decadent dessert. It gets its name from the powdered biscuit layers and its history from the erstwhile colonial rulers. Thick layers of sweet cream alternated with powdered biscuits will melt in your mouth with each bite of this traditional Goan sweet dish.
Another delicious legacy left behind by the Portuguese, dodol is made from coconut milk, coconut jaggery, indigenous rice flour and cashew nuts — all ingredients that are grown locally in the state. The end product is pure heaven on a spoon!
Also known as pinaca or pinagr, this is a traditional and popular Christmas sweet and is also made from local ingredients. Brown rice, grated coconut and coconut jaggery are combined with spices like cardamom, ginger, black pepper or sauf to take you on a sweet and spicy flavour ride!
If you hear wedding bells ringing in Goa, then bol is sure to follow. Part of the customary basket of goodies that are sent along with the bride’s trousseau, this celebratory sweet is made from coconut jaggery, coarsely ground wheat, cardamom powder, toddy and salt. The fermented batter is baked in coconut shells that give it a cookie-like appearance.
One of many popular jaggery based desserts from around our country, this Goan delicacy gets its name from ‘phanas’ i.e. jackfruit and ‘donas’ which refers to the baked preparation made from ripe jackfruit, semolina, coconut and jaggery.
While 15th August may be Independence Day for the rest of the country, in Goa it is celebrated as the Feast of Our Lady Assumption. And one of the ways that Goans mark this auspicious day is with the preparation of a sweet dish made of rice flour, coconut and jaggery wrapped like dumplings and steamed in turmeric or jackfruit leaves.
Any other lesser-known regional sweets that you know of and would like to share with us?