Anyone visiting Goa has to have had at least one or two tender coconuts at the beach. Same goes for longtime residents too. I know I had my fair share while I was growing up. I still love the taste to date.
Foreign vs. Local Coconuts
It’s a staple food in every Goan household and there has to be at least one dish that’s made from coconuts each day. However, the price of locally sourced coconuts has shot up. Almost overnight, the price of coconuts has gone from a mere 25 rupees to a whopping 40 rupees. It’s a nightmare for consumers that use coconut in some form or the other on an almost daily basis.
And that’s not all that’s wrong in the world of coconuts. The price also varies depending on the size available in the market. Take Margao for example. Coconuts sold at the Margao new market area are generally sold for between 20 to 30 rupees. The bigger ones, when available, are priced at between 40 to 50 rupees.
Now, according to Prudent Media, the Agriculture Department has plans to import these all the way from Sri Lanka. The Agriculture Minister has said that good quality coconut graft saplings should be planted or one should directly purchase coconuts from the source.
One of the reasons for the shortage of this tasty nut is pest infestation which has led to a poor crop. Additionally, coconut pluckers aren’t waiting for a mature crop and instead choosing to pluck and sell the immature variety to tourists visiting the state.
What happens to typical Goan dishes made with coconuts?
As already mentioned, every home in Goa will have at least one food dish or sweet dish that has a coconut element. And it’s a fact that you will never get the same flavour in these dishes. Especially if they are made from a crop that isn’t grown and harvested on Goan soil. The textures and tastes are completely different.
Pretty sure no one wants to give up on their Goan curries or sweets like Bebinca and Alle Bele (stuffed pancakes). They aren’t available anywhere in the world and even if you get your hands on some, the flavours, smells, taste and texture aren’t authentically Goan.
Best get cracking then. Collect as many locally grown coconuts that you can store for future use. Otherwise, you can kiss all these yummy Goan dishes goodbye since making them with any kind that’s not locally grown will not have the same appeal.
In the meantime, here are some recipes of Goan dishes, savoury as well as sweet, that have coconut as an element in them. There’s fish curry, Bebinca, Alle Belle. You can try and make any of these or all three or any other Goan dish made from coconuts. It’s a flavour you really won’t get anywhere else.
Information credit – Commodity Online India (partial credit)