Goans love spices and we use a combination of many in most of our cooking. I have been to a spice garden in Kerala a few years ago and was quite fascinated at the time . This visit to Sahakari spice garden in Ponda was quite interesting too . We saw some of the locally grown spices , fruits and nuts and were given a detailed explanation of how they can be used in simple home remedies for every day health issues.
As the chirpy guide went on from one spice to the next , I kept thinking of my Mai ( grandma) who always had (and still does ) a magical concoction for stomach ache , nausea , cough , cold , congestion etc for all of us at home. She would explain, as she roasted caraway seeds, that inhaling a little of it would keep the cold away or she’d tell us proudly how her siblings and she would gulp down glasses of cumin flavored water and had never complained of griping aches like we did . With a dearth of doctors and medical facilities in the primary health dispensary in the neighbouring village , my grandma had learnt from her mother how to utilize spices for more than just flavor and aroma. What we learnt at the spice garden was a reiteration of grandma’s spicy tales !
I enjoyed listening to some new bits of information , walking around and of course the lovely meal . The entry is INR 400 per person which includes a 30 minute tour and lunch. There are atleast three spice gardens that I’ve heard of in Goa and there must be more . So if you have a couple of hours and want to see a side of Goa away from the sea and sand , head to any of these spicy treats . 🙂
Pepper corns are grown in our garden in Goa and the first thing I can think of when I see black pepper corns is ‘jeerem meerem’ ( jeerem – cumin , meerem – black pepper corn).Jeerem meerem is a simply spiced but delicious fish curry that any Goan would vouch for . This is a curry that ditches the coconut ( which is an integral part of most of our curries ) and instead is a lighter , well balanced curry that goes well with rice. So yes , we love pepper 🙂
Jumping from tree to tree , plucking from about 30 to 40 palms in one go , these are super heroes without capes !
More to follow in the next post 🙂 Until then , keep it hot and spicy !