Sweet things in life are always welcome; it’s a bit of a mix of sourness that makes it an exciting, lively ride. If a match is made in heaven, I think it would definitely include ‘sweet and sour.’ The two different flavor profiles in the culinary world have contributed to creating some of the most stunning dishes of all time. While there are many ingredients that are used to build on these flavors, there’s a particular one that has always grabbed my fancy – vinegar, the souring agent.
In India, you will typically find it served in a bowl along with slices of green chilies at local eating joints or restaurants. Vinegar in Goa is made from the toddy (sur) extracted from the coconut tree. The toddy is usually collected into an earthen container by the toddy tapper.
Goan vinegar comes in an unlimited range of varieties. It is usually obtained from ingredients that have starch and sugar. The options are aplenty, from apple, rice, cane, palm, coconut, and raspberries to wine and more. Apart from pickles and some condiments, it is usually skipped in mainstream Indian cooking – until, of course, when it comes to Goa. Goan cuisine is a flavourful array of cultures, with the Portuguese influence taking a stronghold. It is believed that the Portuguese were the ones to have introduced vinegar to the Goans. Till today, you will find several dishes being prepared with the souring agent, particularly among the Christian community.
Cooking with coconut vinegar or toddy vinegar makes delectable Goan delights like Vindaloo and Xacuti. It is also used in producing an alcoholic beverage known as coconut feni. The vinegar is obtained from coconut sap by clipping the stems that have coconut flowers and maturing coconut fruits. The fluid is accumulated in large amounts and is allowed to ferment for four to six months. As it ages, it becomes more flavourful and acidic, with its color-changing from a cloudy white to slightly yellow and eventually to a deep brown. Texturally smooth with a sweet aroma and, of course, a pinch of acidity – coconut vinegar is a must-have component for vigorous cooks and food enthusiasts. It also has numerous health benefiting properties as follows:- A great alternative to cider vinegar- an excellent source of Vitamin B and C, Beta-Carotene, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Sodium, Phosphorous- It is enriched with antioxidants and holds close to 17 amino acids- It is low on glycemic index therefore safe for consumption by people with diabetes.