In Goa, the festival of Diwali has its own charm. This important festival which is celebrated after Dussehra, or Dasro, indicates a change in climate as it is a post-monsoon festival that heralds the arrival of winter in Goa.
It is best represented through the harvest festival. These days, when you visit any Goan village, you will come across sacks of freshly-harvested paddy in the front yard.
This paddy is integral to the Diwali festival in Goa since a number of dishes are made from fov (flattened rice) – right from savoury to sweet dishes – during the festival.
SWEET & SAVOURY DELICACIES
Just a few days before the festival, Hindu Goan households get busy preparing faraal items such as chakli, besan laddoo, ravyache laddoo, shankarpali, fenori, and most importantly, dishes made from fov, such as chiwda (which is a deep fried fov, and contains nuts and a tempering of hing, mustard seeds and curry leaves.
This chiwda is an excellent appetiser, and is also a savoury item to provide relief from all the festive sweet dishes.
RICE IS NICE
Another dish made from fov is the tikshe fov — it is a sticky and spicy fov made from jaggery. It is in huge demand during Diwali as many home chefs sell this item along with other faraal preparations.
On the day of Diwali, fov takes centerstage as there are a variety of fov dishes made on this day. In some households, at least five different types of fov are made. For example:
Kalaile fov (washed fov mixed with jaggery and grated coconut),
Batat fov (a spicy/savory dish made by tempering chillies, coriander leaves and mustard seeds). The main ingredient is boiled potatoes, which are then added to the fov. This is mixed with salt, sugar and turmeric. It is then garnished with grated coconut.
Rosantle fov (made with coconut milk. Banana is sometimes added to it).
Takantle fov (made with tempered buttermilk)
Kadyentle fov (made with coconut milk and kokum)
Dahyatle fov (made with tempered curd)
Dudhantle fov (made with milk, a hint of cardamom powder)
MAIN COURSES & MORE
Along with all these dishes, there’s another dish known as kitkitayille fov. It is usually eaten the day after Diwali as it is made by mixing leftover fov with jaggery. This dish has its own taste and has flavours of all the types of fov that are made. It also indicates that nothing is wasted.
In addition to these fov dishes, other traditional dishes which are usually made on the day of Diwali are Chanyachi Usal (semi-dry coconut based curry made using white peas), Moogachi Usal, Amadyachi Karam (a chutney made from seasonal hog plums), Karatyachi Chutney (chutney made from bitter gourd), Banana Halwa made exclusively from Moira bananas, boiled tubers like sweet potatoes, etc.
The list is endless as there are many delicacies which are based on a region or community, etc. For example, in Bicholim, some families make a special dish from cashewnuts. It is known as Biyanche Raite.
The best part of this platter is that it is always shared among Catholic friends and neighbours. It is a beautiful gesture that brings two communities together.
This tradition of sharing is also seen during Christmas, in the month of December, when Catholics share a platter of Christmas goodies (known as consoada or kuswar) with neighbours and friends from other communities.
On that delightful note, here’s wishing everyone a Happy Diwali!
Arti Das is a freelance journalist based in Goa. She loves writing about art, culture and the ecology of Goa.