I am happy to experience yet more spice laden Goan dishes especially considering a few traditional Goan restaurants remain in Panaji old town, the ambience these old Portuguese buildings with their “old school” tables and chairs and rustic charm, is very welcome indeed. I have a secure sensation, these places have been serving Goan food for ages and know what they are doing, I feel my dining experience is in good hands. Settling into my chair as best I can, the cushion adding little to the wooden chairs comfort, the ornate backing beautiful to look at, but not great to lean upon.

Kingfish seems to be the fish of Goa, the smaller juvenile fish, judging by the size of the fillets and darnes (steaks) I have seen so far. Welcome to me, I do wonder if this is seasonal or if the fishery is available year round?

p1070201Kingfish masala fry – each masala is different, the way the vegetables are cut, the length of time and ferocity at which they are cooked even when they’re added to the sauce makes a difference. Obviously the spice mix varies from place to place as well, this spice mix also results in variations and strengths. This version of Masala fry contained thin kingfish darnes (steaks across the bone) with a medium level of chilli and softer spicing, a more pronounced tomato flavour than the last version. The benefit of the softer flavouring was that it made sweeter flavour of the fish easier to discern and to appreciate. The coconut milk, red chillies, garlic and cumin with sour tamarind flavours, indicative of Goan masala, not as heavily in use as with previous meals, this gentler spicing not taking anything away.

I didn’t do so well at capturing images in Panaji, I blame my friend Tina who joined me from Panaji to Agonda.

Kingfish balchao


This dish was punchy, spice heavy and almost disturbingly fishy, with a very strong flavour without rice this dish would have been beyond me, not from the heat, but the punch of intense fish flavour. Made with dried shrimp rather than Portuguese salt cod like the name led me to believe. I filled up on rice long before I finished the portion of curry, I doubt I will attempt to order this curry again.