Monday, July 28, 2014

Recipe : Goan Feijoada - Pork and Beans Stew - (Vegan option possible)

The Last batch of Joao's sausages that I bought and turned into a Choriz Fry, weren't very good (Joao's buys their sausages from various suppliers and then brand it with their name, so you can't be sure what you are going to get). The flavour was really strong, but the masala wasn't spicy or sour enough. The sausages really needed something to tone down the flavours that it did have and I needed to be able to add more spice and tartness without the salt going completely out of whack.

That's when I remembered the Goan dish of Feijoada. This is a dish that you won't normally find served in restaurants, but on the dining tables at family homes. Feijoada is a pork and bean stew that finds its origins in Portuguese cuisine, but it has been adapted to Goan sensibilities by using the Goan sausages (choriz), some Goan recipes also use the Portuguese traditional salted pork. This dish is renowned in Brazil, where it is cooked with a milder variety of sausage, and a lot of pork offal.

There are Goans who turn this into a Vegan stew, by substituting the pork sausages with soya sausages. But given that the choriz have their own strong spices, you will need to adjust the seasonings quite a bit from my recipe.

I looked at a couple of different recipes on and offline. Maria Teresa Menezes, in her excellent Essential Goan Cookbook advocates cooking together soaked rajma (kidney beans) or lobia (black eyed peas) with onions, tomatoes and choriz. Just all added to one pan and cooked till done.

Antoine Lewis has a slightly fancier recipe involving bacon, which I would have loved to try, but for the fact that I had run out of bacon at home.

So, I followed my friend Gia's general instructions (I had been very successful with her Goan Choriz Pulao recipe, so I trust her implicitly when it comes to Goan food).

She said "cook the beans separately first and discard the water. Fry the onions and tomatoes, add whatever spices you are using, then the sausage meat. Finally, add the cooked beans and mix it all together. At this stage you can add as much water as you need and cook further until done"
I had already cooked up the sausages with the potatoes, so I followed the rest of the recipe with inspirations from other recipes that I had read.

Kim's Tips :
I think it would be best to boil the sausages in 50 ml water before adding to the stew, but you can also let it cook in the stew. Unless you are using the home made rosary sausages. Those need to have all the string cut off and are definitely better off being pre-boiled and unstrung before adding to the stew.

Once you have boiled the choriz/sausages, you can get a better idea of the spices and seasoning that you need to add to the stew to get a better flavour. We love tartness, garlic and spicy, so my recipe reflects this.

500 gms rajma or lobia (red kidney beans or black eyed peas)
pinch of heeng (asafoetida)
250 gms Goan Choriz sausage (or Vegan sausage)
2 large onions
3 large tomatoes
1 pod garlic chopped (pod not clove)
4-15 green chillies chopped (depending on your spice tolerance, I used 15 since my choriz weren't spicy enough)
1 tsp coconut oil (you can use regular oil)
vinegar to taste (preferably Goan Toddy vinegar or apple cider)
salt to taste (remember the sausages are heavily salted so keep tasting)
Fresh coriander to garnish (optional)

Soak the rajma or lobia for at least 6-8 hours or overnight.
Pressure cook with enough water to cover and a pinch of heeng, until done.
When done, strain & discard the water.

Lightly boil the sausages in 50-100 ml water
Remove the skin (I like the sausage skin, so I just leave large pieces of sausage skin in the pot for myself) and break up the meat and masala.

Take a really large pan (1.5 to 2 times the size of a pan you would really need work best with stews)
Heat the oil.
Add the garlic, onions and tomatoes and cook till onions are light brown and the tomatoes begin to disintegrate.
Add the chillies and fry for a minute.
Add the drained rajma and a little fresh water and stir well.
If you like, you can semi mash some of the beans in the pan, for a thicker consistency.

Now add the sausages and the water that they were cooked in.
Add a little water and let it stew for a couple of minutes, so the masala from the sausages disperses into the stew.
Taste and adjust vinegar and salt.
Let the stew simmer for awhile on a low flame, so that all the flavours can blend together.

Garnish with fresh coriander if using and serve hot with rice or pao bread buns.

Like most stews, this one too tastes better the next day.

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