Goa's 450 years under Portuguese domination produced a unique, syncretic blend of East and West that is at once exotic and strangely familiar. The various influences have made the Goan cuisine an interesting blend of tastes as a result of which it has a phenomenal repertoire of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Though the recipes and techniques of the two major communities – Hindu and Christian – are different but as a rule the cuisine that comes under the umbrella of Goan is simple but chilli hot and spicy. Traditionally the food is cooked on wood fires in clay pots that are fired by the village potter. Though in the modern times, quite a few Goans have had to leave their land in search of greener pastures, they still get homesick for the smoky flavour of the fish curry and rice that get their distinct taste being cooked in crowded sweaty, smoky kitchens in earthenware pots over wood fires. So here is the recipe:
- Sesame seeds (black) 2 tablespoons
- Semolina (suji) 1½ cups
- Tahini ½ tablespoon
- Unsalted butter 1 cup + for greasing
- brown sugar/jaggery ¾ cup
- Eggs 2
- Vanilla essence ½ teaspoon
- Scraped coconut 1 cup
- Salt a pinch
- Baking powder ½ teaspoon
- Rose water 2 tablespoons
- Coconut milk 1 cup
- Grease a nine inch spring bottom cake tin some butter.
- Cream together the butter and brown sugar in a bowl till light and fluffy. Add the tahini and beat well.
- Add one egg at a time and beat till well combined. Add vanilla essence and mix well.
- Combine the semolina, coconut, salt, baking powder and one tablespoon sesame seeds in another bowl and mix well.
- Add half the semolina mixture to the creamed butter-sugar mixture and fold well. Add the rose water, coconut milk and the remaining semolina mixture and mix well.
- Pour the prepared mixture into the prepared cake tin, sprinkle remaining sesame seeds, cover with a cling film and refrigerate for four hours.
- Preheat oven at 180º C.
- Remove the cling film, put the tin in the preheated oven and bake for forty five to fifty minutes. Remove from oven, cool and demould.
- Slice and serve.