I clearly recollect my December visits to Goa, they used to be enjoyable enough with family and friends depending on who was available, especially during the Christmas week and ending it all with a New Year's showdown - typical Goan style. My Mother a half-goan, technically speaking, as being born and brought up there,she still prides in calling herself a full out Goan, dont blame her though, the tag itself is relaxing enough. It used to be a delight to spend the holidays in Goa. Christmas Eve would all be about dressing up after dinner and being ferried across the river to the city to attend Missa de Galo and then partying into the wee hours with practically the whole city spilling out on the streets. Driving off to the Miramar beach (with a bottle of rum to keep warm) when the only thing with us at 4 a.m. would be the the sea and the sand. Christmas day would be all about meeting our Catholic friends and visiting their homes which were done up tastefully to compliment the season. Wine, Food and Cheer was the agenda and Goa has never seen better days than what I have seen through my eyes.
I do agree, it's still maintained much of its charm, but people who visit there nowadays have not an inkling of what they are actually missing. This charm is still hazily in focus with stories told to us of what Goa was before liberation and the memories still hold intact of what Goa once used to be.
As the season recommends, I do love to indulge in cooking up some Christmas delicacies. Sweets are usually the call of the season and every year I try and make something new to bring in the celebrations. Indulgence in the form of Christmas Cakes and Marzipans are fun, I love making the quintessential eggnog too. This year, in fact, I was quite bored of the quintessential stuff as had been loaded delicacies from around the world by house guests, but I still wanted something sweet to whip up and bring on the cheery mood. So thought to myself why not "Churros"?. I came across this dish in a French Food Magazine, A famous Spanish dish which is typically deep fried dough, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside with loads of sugar and drizzled with honey or my favourite - dipped in Chocolate. With the sound of it, I could not get closer to being any more Christmas-y than this?
Even though this is not traditionally a Christmas dish, It still was a hit amongst many the visitors on Christmas day, all the more - now I have something new to dish out the next time I am in Goa.
2 cups Flour (Maida)
1/2 cup White Butter
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tablsp Brown Sugar (Granulated)
4 large eggs (whisked lightly)
2 cups water
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract / essence
Several Tablsp of white granulated sugar to sprinkle
Bowl of Nutella (Optional)
Heat a 2 inch tall pan with enough oil till its 3/4th up the edges of the pan.
In a deep dish sieve the flour with baking powder and keep aside.
In a saucepan, mix the water, butter, brown sugar and salt, place on high heat and give it a good boil. Pour the boiling water-butter mix slowly onto the flour and with a wooden spatula mix well. The flour will immediately absorb the water and turn into a heavy lump.
Whisk the eggs with the vanilla and then add to the flour mixture. Mix well till well incorporated and till the mixture resembles a thick paste.
Test the oil heat by dropping a small drop of this mixture, it should rise straight up like a tiny bubble.
Ideally, I use the thickest mould of the cake icing decorator / piping bag / injection to get the perfect Churro shape with the ridges and all, but if you dont have easy access to one, simply fold a large handkerchief into a square fold and cut tip to get a large hole in the middle of the handkerchief, pour some mixture into the handkerchief and gather the edges to form a bag. Squeeze the dough gently into oil in parallel lines about 5 inches long and deep fry for about 4 minutes or till they are golden brown.
Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel release all the excess oil.
To serve, spread on a large serving platter, pour some powdered sugar into a tiny tea sieve and sprinkle over the Churros. You may also serve it drizzled with honey or better still with a bowl full of Nutella to dip and go.