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Bring Back A Slice Of Goa: 7 Local Goan Masalas That Deserve A Spot In Your Kitchen

Ten-Second Takeaway

A Goa trip and gastronomical food go hand in hand, and which is why we recommend that on your next trip, you need to go shopping for some local Goan Masalas. Once you are back home, you can indulge your cravings and make yourself some authentic fish curry, chicken xacuti and whatnot.


If you are a pork lover, then no Goa trip is complete without the famous Vindaloo or as the locals call it Vindalho. The dish originates from a Portuguese original called Carne de Vinha D’alhos. It’s basically meat {pork} marinated in wine and garlic, to which the Goans later added chillies to give you those lovely red, tangy and spicy flavours. You can substitute pork with other kinds of meat or even potatoes and other veggies {for a vegetarian option}. This masala should a be a must-buy.


Racheado is another Portuguese import meaning stuffed, and hence, used very popularly to stuff or fry seafood. Full of flavours and quite spicy, this blend of the West & the East again, is delicious with any kind of seafood. If you find a local Goan who makes these at home, then definitely pick them up or the good old supermarkets always have them in stock.


The Cafreal masala again shows how much of a melting pot Goa has been for cultures and food. With this masala having it’s roots in the African community that lived in Goa, it’s traditionally used to make a chicken dish, either with a lovely thick curry or dry. What’s awesome is that with the leftover curry, you can make an omelette ras poi/pao much like the Goan street snack {it’s delicious}.


Ambotik is another popular Goan masala meaning ‘sour and spicy’ in Konkani, and that is exactly why this masala is one of the most popular ones among the Goans, almost always used only to make tasty fish curries. Be it a dish made of shark, pomfret, squid or prawns, every kind of a preparation will taste better with tangy and spicy flavours of this masala.


Balchao, another Portuguese influence, means to cook and preserve seafood or meat. Though this dish originated in the Portuguese colony of Macau, it has now become a staple in Goan food. You can use this masala to cook a semi dry gravy with seafood or meat, or then make pickles too {non-veg kind, of course}. You can also buy ready-made Balchao pickles everywhere in Goa, with the prawn variant being the most popular.


Caldin literally means to ‘stew’ in Portuguese, and this masala will give you the perfect rich, thick gravy. Popularly made with prawns, you can also use cauliflower or cabbage for excellent vegetarian options. Again, melded over time with local flavours such as tamarind, this masala is perfect for folks who like their food just slightly spiced.


Xacuti is another Goan staple and everyone’s favourite dish to eat when in Goa. Usually made with chicken or beef, we also particularly love the vegetarian variant made with mushrooms. Another local preparation, this one needs just a few spoons of the masala added to the coconut-based gravy to give you that finger-licking taste.


All of the above mentioned masalas and curry pastes are available at supermarkets such as Delfino’s, A.J’s, Oxford, Magsons etc. and any local stores as well. You can also get their homemade versions prepared by local Goan women at the Friday market in Mapusa every week.