Tracing The Portuguese Influence On Goan Cuisine
Image Credit: This Portuguese dish is very famous in Goa/ Facebook-Radhika Ray

Indian cuisine is vast and it’s amazing to see how each region sees its own traditions culture and of course food. But the Indian food that we see today has gone through years of years of fusion with cuisine from across the globe. Be it Mongolian, Persian, Armenian, Portuguese, and Chinese, common thread throughout has been the fact that it saw a very interesting and distinct mix of spices that blended very well with Indian cuisine’s flavour and aroma.

One such cuisine that has been heavily influenced by Portuguese culture is the Goan cuisine. The Portuguese happened to be the first Europeans to settle in India. This happened with Vasco da Gama reaching Calicut in 1498. And part from Calicut the other city touched by Portuguese influence was Goa, where till the culinary scene is mostly Indo-Portuguese cuisine.  And ocne Goa was captured it was called ‘Goa Dourada’ or Golden Goa, as beach town was absolutely beautiful. This invasion also saw a particular fusing element with the Portuguese cuisine with Indian culinary elements. It was the Portuguese who brought red chilli, potato, tomato and more to India. Their introduction of new ingredients, is today an essential part of Indian food today. The most prominent Portuguese influence till date can be seen in Goa, where they ruled till 1961. 

Bibinca is a 7-16 layer pudding cake/ Facebook- Celebration in my kitchen


The whole credit for cooking with wine also goes to them. They came for trade and also got their techniques that has stayed with us even after decades. The whole idea of small plates as called in Potugal “petiscos” or small also is much prevalent in Goan cuisine.

The confectionery section in Goan cuisine also sees much Portuguese elements mostly the Portuguese conventual confectionery. The extra or abundant use of eggs is a proof of this. Bibinca, the Indo-Portuguese dessrts that is made with egg yolks, sugar, coconut milk, flour and butter, is a fine example of that.

Apart from the Portuguese, the Goan Christian also sees a culinary influence from Saraswat, Konkani, British, and few South Indian cuisines.