Morjim is one of the quieter beaches in North Goa and well worth a visit. We stayed at one of the few 'resorts ' there which consisted of some wooden shacks with attached baths open to the sky. Very nice. But the food was awful. This might have ruined the few days we had there but we were lucky to find the "Seahorse Restaurant" on the corner of the Morjim Mandrem crossroads.
Mandrem is known for the Olive Ridley turtles which nest and lay their eggs there. Hopefully this wonderful spot will not be ruined by shacks which have sprung up a little too close for comfort on the beach, several of them licenced out to a few Europeans( exceptions obviously) trying to make a quick buck by encroaching on the habitat of the very same attraction which has enabled them to earn a living in this beautiful place.
Anyhow about the "Seahorse". It is owned by the Shetgaunkars, a husband and wife team. Sujata does the cooking and Uday runs the bar, the little tandoori area and does the waiting on tables. The restaurant seats 20 people and is very popular amongst the locals which gives you an idea of the quality of the food.
The Shetgaunkars have been in the restaurant business for 15 years, having run the Residency restaurant in Margao. They then tried to start an eating place on Bogmalo beach, next to Joets, but the investment was too high, barely clearing a profit after the season's license and electricity bills were paid off. So they decided to come home and start anew in their own village. They have built a basic little place decorated with yellow mirror work lanterns and red check tablecloths complete with a TV showing Hindi soap operas, popular with the villagers who actually come for the welcome change of tandoori and chinese food which are on the menu, but don't want to miss out on their favourite programmes.
We had malai kebabs from the tandoor which were smooth as cream, and then opted for the Konkani cuisine. A pomfret curry cooked in a different way from the usual Goan style and a very nice dal fry which was out of this world with hot buttered naan.
Sujata will especially cook vegetables and fish or prawns in the Konkani style if ordered in advance. She shared the fish curry recipe with me.
- 1 medium sized pomfret about 750 gms
- 1/2 coconut
- 5 flakes of garlic
- 1" fresh ginger
- 4 green chillies
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 large tomatoes.
- 1/2 tsp haldi /turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp jeera / cumin powder
- 4 red chillies
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp chopped green coriander
Chop the coconut roughly, peel garlic chop ginger and chillies. Combine all and grind into a paste in a blender. Cover the paste with 3 cups of hot water and set aside.
Slice the pomfret into thick slices. Chop the onion into fine slices. Break the red chillies into pieces and shake out the seeds. Blanch the tomatoes in hot water. Dunk in cold water and peel. Then chop into peices.
Heat the oil and fry the onions till golden brown. Add the fish slices and fry lightly for a few mintes till brown . Remove.To the same oil add the chopped , peeled tomatoes, the cumin, haldi, red chilli bits and salt. When the tomatoes have dissolved add the coconut paste and water. Cook the paste for ten minutes. Add the fish slices and cook for another 5 minutes. Add a coriander , give the curry a good stir and serve with rice.
It is a bit of a walk from the beach to the Sea Horse but well worth it.The Shevgaunkars make you feel right at home.