Where is Goa you might ask? If you know the answer, give yourself a pat on the back. A few folks look at me quite puzzled when I talk about Goa. Goa is the smallest state on India’s west coast, it was a former Portuguese colony with a rich history. The Portuguese ruled Goa for about 450 years. Swaying palms, white sands and blue waters draw tourists from near and far. Goa is dubbed the “Caribbean of India”. My roots are Goan, (as the locals are called), but I have never lived in Goa. However, our parents and Grandparents came from Goa, and instilled the Goan culture in us. I recall visiting Goa about 5 different times and each time was pretty surprised at the changes. When the Portuguese came to Goa in the 1500’s to seek spices, they brought Christianity to its shores, as a result Goans are predominantly Catholic. Churches form an integral part of the Goan lifestyle. Built by the Portuguese, they are constructed of whitewashed stone with magnificent interiors. Visiting Goa today, it would not be unusual to see Hindus, Muslims and Christians respecting and celebrating each other’s religious holidays. Goa is a bridge between the East and West, and it definitely shows in its people. A Goan is said to be born with music and dance in his blood.
As you can imagine, with the influence of the Portuguese, Goan cuisine is quite different from the rest of India. Today, I am presenting a Goan Caramel Bread Pudding, not exactly authentic, but pretty common in Goan kitchens. I absolutely love caramel flan, this is a slight variation, adding whole wheat bread to the pudding mixture. For further recipes on authentic Goan cuisine, click here.
- 2 cups of reduced fat milk or regular milk
- 3 beaten eggs
- 10 tablespoons sugar
- 3 slices of crustless whole wheat bread
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon water for caramel base
- a pinch of nutmeg
- a pinch of cardamom
In a pan, melt 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon water on low heat. Keep an eye on this as it will start to caramelize and you need to act pretty fast once it gets a rich caramel color. Pour it into a round pan, tilting it all around the base till it hardens. Add the milk and remaining 8 tablespoons sugar in a pan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and soak the bread in this mixture till it cools. When cool, mash the bread and add the beaten eggs and a pinch of nutmeg, cardamom and mix well. Pour this custard mixture into the caramelized pan. Place the pan in a water bath and bake at 350 degrees for around 45 minutes. Enjoy!