The festival of Diwali in Goa is incomplete without the mention of faral. It is a festive platter which is full of goodies where the star is fov/poha, or the flattened rice-based dishes. There are different varieties of fov, like the brown fov, white fov, fulayalem fov or puffed variety.
In Goa, various dishes are made using fov, the most common being:
Kalaile fov (washed fov, mixed with jaggery and grated coconut).
Batat fov — it is a spicy/savoury dish made by tempering chillies, coriander leaves and mustard seeds. The main ingredient is boiled potatoes, which are then added to the fov and mixed with salt, sugar and turmeric. It is then garnished with grated coconut.
Rosantle fov (made with coconut milk. Sometimes bananas are 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).
Along with all these dishes, there’s another dish known as kitkitayille fov. It is usually eaten day after Diwali as it is made by mixing leftover fov and cooking it, especially with coconut milk. Its consistency is quite thick. This dish has its own taste and has the flavours of all the fov which have been prepared. It also indicates that nothing is wasted!
“The main fov in Goa for Diwali is rosantle fov, which is made using coconut milk. I use brown fov to make it. And, for batat fov I mainly use white fov. I also make savoury items, such as caramalized fov or tikshe fov from fulayalem fov, which you can store for days. I make it using jaggery molasses, which I get, specially for the purpose, from Sirsi town. My friends, mother-in law, just love this recipe! It has an added flavour because of the molasses, as usually chikat gud (sticky jaggery) is used, which I abstain from using since it contains chemicals,” says photographer and author, Assavri Kulkarni, who also promotes healthy cooking.
Along with traditional dishes she makes some innovative dishes from fov like laddoos made from powdered fov. She also makes another version of it by adding apple juice to the melted jaggery, powdered fov and then rolling it to make laddoos.
You can check her YouTube channel 'Assavri's Kitchen-Goa' to know more about these dishes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9_EHjdQqKU
With all these dishes of fov, the platter is only half! Along with these sweet/savoury fov dishes, there are other traditional Goan dishes like chanyachi usal (semi-dry coconut-based curry made from white peas), amadyachi karam (a chutney made from seasonal hog plums), karatyachi chutney (chutney made from bitter gourd). And, then there are other snack items like chivda, besan laddu, shankarpali, fenori, ravyaache ladu, chakli, etc.
Anjana Amonkar, a caterer from Porvorim mentions another special dish made from cashew nuts. “At my husband’s ancestral place in Bicholim, a special dish is made from cashew nuts during Diwali. It is known as Biyanche raite.”
All these yummy dishes are not only eaten, but also shared. On the day of Diwali, this platter is shared with Catholic friends and neighbours. It is a beautiful gesture that brings two communities together. It is also seen during Christmas, in the month of December, where Catholic friends share a plate of Christmas goodies known as consoada or kuswar.
This is a pure example of how food plays the role of a bridge in bringing people and cultures together. Sharing food is probably one of the easiest and sweetest ways to share happiness, joy and, thus, the real meaning of our festivals.
On that note, wishing everyone a Happy Diwali!