Cecil & Beatrice Pinto continue to explore Goa with, and teach Konkani to, a young couple from the Isle of Wight in UK - Andrew and Justine.
Andrew: How come these ladies here are selling long sausages and the ladies there are selling tiny sausages?
Cecil: South Goans have small sausages. Ha!
Beatrice: Just ignore him. In North Goa sausages, called chourisam, which is plural for chouris, are packaged long whereas in South Goa chourisam are divided into tiny sections. But the basic ingredients are the same – only dukra mas and chorob or fat, and vinegar masala. No skin, or organs are used. Other dishes like sorpatel use all the edible parts of the dukor.
Justine: These chourisam seem to be dripping with chorob. Isn’t that unhealthy?
Cecil: Health and hygiene! That’s all you people obese about. If it wasn’t for the chorob the chourisam would not have their distinctive taste. It also acts as a preservative. Of course, other than the ingredients and the proportions, there are many other factors that are responsible for different tastes among chourisam. Whether they have been dried in the sun, votan, or above the huge baker’s oven, called forn, or …
Andrew: I tasted sorpatel at the hotel restaurant yesterday. Tasty, bit a bit too spicy.
Beatrice: After being prepared the sorpatel has to marinate in an earthen utensil, like a kundlem, for a few days. Then it gets properly pickled and is a delight to eat. Do you know the gai’s intestine, called ankidi, is used to pack the chouris mas? The gai’s stomach, or pot, is used to make another dish called buch. And the dukra ankidi is used to make a sorpatel like dish called bannem.
Justine: Is there really a North Goa-South Goa divide as Cecil keeps hinting at?
Beatrice: No there isn’t. He just likes to poke fun at South Goans. Basically there are eleven talukas, or administrative units. In general when talking about North Goa we refer to Bardez, South Goa is Salcete and Central Goa is Ilhas - also referred to as Tiswadi. This of course is generic as they are just three prominent talukas.
Cecil: We refer to Salcete as Xasti. So a man from Xasti becomes a Xastikar, a woman from Bardez a Bardezkarn etc. Similar to the bhatkar and bhatkarn I mentioned earlier.
Justine: Is ‘x’ always pronounced as ‘sh’ in Konkani.
Cecil: Yes always. Does rice-curry look better as xit-coddi or as shit-coddi?!!
Andrew: Are all these fruits being sold around this lovely fountain all grown in Goa?
Beatrice: What you can see here are apol, obviously apples, grapes called dacu, oranges or larangam and sweet lime or sontram. But further down you will see local fruits like chickoo, popaya, guavas or peram, custard apples or anter, pineapple or annanest and of course bananas called kelim and watermelons called kalingam. The kalingam grown in Parra are supposed to be extremely tasty.
Andrew: What are those monster size kelim there?
Cecil: Those twelve inchers are Moidechem kelem or Moira Bananas. The tiny yellow kelim are called ellchim kelim. They are very sweet and easy to digest and are given to small children. The normal sized green-yellow ones are called ghanvti kelim. Now ghanvti tanteam refers to local or free-range eggs. Also remember there is a word named ghanti which is used to derogatorily refer to non-Goan Indians. Actually ghanti refers to inhabitants of the Western Ghats but it is now used as catchword for all non-Goans, specially the labour class migrant workers. remember ghanvti is a word used to suggest local or locally-grown or locally-made as opposed to from-out-of-state or branded. For example ghanvti tanu means local rice or ghanvti tanteam refers to local or free-range eggs. Also remember there is a word named ghanti which is used to derogatorily refer to non-Goan Indians. Actually ghanti refers to inhabitants of the Western Ghats but it is now used as catchword for all non-Goans, specially the labour class migrant workers.
Justine: There is a lot of resentment against the outsiders isn’t there.
Cecil: Yes. You see….
Beatrice: Oh no! You’ve given him a cue for one of his long rambling socio-political monologues. All this talk of eatables has made me hungry. Let’s go home.
Andrew: Why home? Can’t we just pop into a restaurant here?
Cecil: Who’s paying?
Justine: Does that make a big difference?
Cecil: Of course it does. If you’re paying I will take you to a posh air conditioned expensive place. If I’m paying we can go to some cheap place and I will divert your attention from the poor fare with non-stop conversation!
Beatrice: Let’s compromise and go to Café Xavier.
(courtesy: Goencho Ulo)