Sunday, October 8, 2017

The traditional Goan thali – ft. Le Meridien Goa, Calangute

The recently launched Le Meridien Goa, Calangute is upping their food game by adding some Goan touch to their culinary offerings this month. And what better way to begin, than with the authentic traditional Goan thali? Chef Ignatius, along with the entire team at Latest Recipe – a restaurant at Le Meridien has put together the Goan thali, and tried to keep it as authentic as possible, to give Goans and visitors alike, a taste of Goan food!

I always love the thali because it’s like eating multiple items of food at once, without stuffing yourself to the brim. While trying a thali, there’s a scope to taste the culinary offerings of a particular place and experience the locale through its food. Though the most commonly found item in Goa, the Goan thali never goes out of style and Le Meridien, with their ongoing food promo has presented their version of the Goan thali in their Taste of Goa food promo.

The traditional Goan non-vegetarian thali includes local Goan delicacies ranging from seafood to chicken. Usually, you can either have a fish thali – that focuses on seafood, or the chicken thali – that focuses on chicken. But this one has a perfect mix of both, along with a bunch of vegetarian items, which seems like they are recreated at Le Meridien from a Goan kitchen.

The non-vegetarian thali comprises of scrumptious chicken cafreal and rawa fried fish. The cafreal wasn’t exactly the best I’ve had and the rawa fried kingfish was a tad bit over-fried, making it dry and hard. But they nailed the seafood pickle – the squid molho – a spicy locally made pickle, and the kismoor – dry prawn a side fish made using dry prawn, grated coconut and condiments. 

The thali featured the Goan pulao – rice tossed in onion, tomato and turmeric powder, which retains the basic flavour of rice, but adds a yellowish colour to it. The local poie, which was more like home-made artisan bread, was way fluffier than the original poies we get in Goa and much tastier. I loved the rice and the bread.

Though I am not a very big fan of veggies, I quite enjoyed the cabbage fogath – cabbage tossed with mustard seeds and turmeric powder. Bhindi sukhem – okra sautéed with grated coconut and kokum and vegetable caldeen – mixed vegetable Goan stew. The bhindi sukhem (bhindi subzi) is definitely a must-try here! The sol kadhi – kokum curry made of coconut milk, spices and kokum – is creamy and delicious.

For dessert, there is the traditional Goan Christmas confection – the dodol. The dark brown coloured local sweet made out of coconut milk and jaggery is one of my favourites and they’re got the right consistency at Le Meridien, making it a delightful end to the thali meal.

The vegetarian thali is similar, with a few substitutes to the non-veg items. The chicken cafreal and rawa fried fish is replaced by potato chops and mushroom rissois (a variant of the prawn rissois). The pickle as well is replaced by tendlim or brinjal pickle, while the kismoor is replaced by a green salad.

While the rest remains the same, they have an interesting take on the dal varan – a type of dal that holds an important place in a Hindu kitchen and chana ros – a coconut based gravy with white chickpeas. A lot of the food has a coconut base, considering coconut features in most Goan food.

The thalis, overall, are pleasing and great for a Goan foodie soul. They’re unlimited and you can ask for a refill for whatever item you’d prefer. It’s served for lunch – from 12.30 to 3.30 pm and dinner – from 7.00 to 11.00 pm. The vegetarian thali is priced at Rs 699/- + taxes and the non-vegetarian thali is priced at Rs 999/- + taxes. The festival is on till October 14, so hurry up and head to Le Meridien for a taste of Goan food! 

Lunch OOTD -- Dress: Myntra, Sandals: StreetStyleStore

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