Pick of Goan delights

26 Sep 2019 / 11:17 H.

BY TAN BEE HONG

CELEBRITY chef, author and TV host Sapna Anand recently gave a sneak preview of the new menu at her eponymous restaurant, Goa by Sapna Anand (previously called Goa by Hubba), located at The Ascott Kuala Lumpur.

The Queen of Spice was thrilled to introduce the menu which features dishes from her home states of Kerala and Goa, which she has been curating for the restaurant since it opened some years ago.

First out were canapes.

The three bean salad with puffed rice (RM22) is a wholesome vegetarian salad that combines regular chickpea, brown chickpea and green lentils with puffed rice and a sprinkle of pomegranate, sliced turnip, lettuce, tomato and rocket leaves. The dressing is tamarind green chutney.

Sapna said this is similar to the Tamil sundal or Northern Indian chana – street food which comprises a variety of stir-fried beans sold in a newspaper cone.

Sapna also borrowed a page from China, with her shredded mutton mantao (RM25). The slow-cooked spicy mutton is sandwiched between steamed buns, served with fried shallots and coriander.

Goan masala chicken (RM18) comprises deep-fried chicken strips marinated in a Goan red spiced paste and served with a dip of Goan mayonnaise.

Sapna said: “Recheado, or Goan red spice paste, is the quintessential base for seafood or meat sauces, made by blending chillies with eight spices, and is the staple ingredient for most dishes in Goa. It is used to cook meat or seafood together with Goan coconut vinegar.”

Then there’s chicken cutlet (RM18) – minced chicken marinated in a special blend of spices, rolled and coated with breadcrumbs.

This is her take on the Portuguese dish, fofos de bacalhau, or fried cod cakes, but she uses chicken instead.

Goan chilli prawn (RM35) is my favourite, with the prawns cooked in minced garlic butter and coriander leaves, though I would have liked more chilli flakes in it. Order this with toast or naan to mop up the gravy.

Sapna said this is a Goan beach shack specialty she and her friends used to binge on at the beach.

Fish lovers will enjoy the fish in saffron sauce (RM45). The grilled fillet of seabass is served with onion rings and bok choy plus a generous amount of golden saffron sauce. The sweet and delicate flavour of the fish dances well with the saffron sauce.

Malabar mutton curry (RM28) is just as satisfying, with chunks of mutton and spices slow cooked to tenderness and served with plantain (banana) fritters.

The Parsi-style dish of keema with baked egg (RM28) is slow cooked minced lamb in spices and baked with runny egg on top. Thumbs up as well to the tender Goan beef vindalho (RM28), a Goan favourite made with brisket.

There are also plenty of vegetarian options such as eggplant curry (RM22), a mild coconut spiced curry with tamarind brined caramelised baby eggplant, paneer tikka (RM22) and mushroom xacuti (RM22).

Vegetarian paneer pea cutlet (RM18) consists of balls of paneer and mashed pea coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried to a golden crisp. Sapna’s take on a Kolkata street food, this is served with a hung yoghurt spiced dip.

You can choose to enjoy these delicious main dishes with ghee rice, cranberry rice or a variety of naan (from RM6).

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