Poie, pau, undo, kakon, paozine!

By Tara Narayan

WHITE bread no matter how humble and familiar or snooty and exotic is really avoidable refined carbohydrate with some exceptions…but then again Goa is such a wonderland of all kinds of local bakery bread and most Goans I know live on local bakery bread, which is of course the marginally better fresh bread and comes with names like poie, pau or pao, unndo or oondhe, kakon, katre…and recently at my friend Wallace Gonsalves of Fusion House Café (the “Our Heart to Your Bell” man, he does Goan food catering) I couldn’t resist the little bun paozine he had in his cabinet, these small buns he packed with green chutney (laced with mint mayonnaise); and of course I told him these paozine are ideal for packing with chutney and then also thin slices of cucumber, tomato, boiled potato, boiled beetroot, etc (a la a mini-Bombay sandwich bun)…there are also these slender long hotdog buns (mini) but they’re not easy to find, only a few local bakeries like Princy’s in the Taleigao market keep them and you have to go early in the morning to get them (usually Rs30 per dozen or ten).
These fresh minis as I call them are make for less bread eating and are ideal for stuffing chutney, mashed boiled egg, even spiced up mashed rajma for protein values, whatever you wish fresh stuff or unhealthy junk stuff! I still say if half bad, half good it’s okay, when it comes to these quick fix bread temptations to do up in a hurry. I mean who is never tempted by baked bread?
GOA’S local bakery daily breads are superior naturally for I dare say they do not come with all the chemical gook of whiteners, preservatives, and so on, although refined white maida is the key ingredient of course (once upon a time during Portuguese colonial times only fine whole wheat flour was used and my Goan old-timers tell me nostalgically how on their way to and fro from morning mass in church, the local bakery’s offerings of fresh hot bread would be so fragrant it would follow them back home down their street or lane.

Goa’s local bakery bread basket offers a lot of choices…poie, pau, kankon, khatre, paozine and more; Wallace Gonsalves’ R’s Fusion House Café (opp Rosary church at the Dona Paula end of Caranzalem, gorgeous old world well here in urgent need of cleaning up), and Princy Bakery in the Taleigao market offers paozine and all kinds of miniature bread loaves and slender hot dog rolls.

Of course there was fresh Goan bread in every Goan home, to be complemented with eggs in some form or another and butter, cheese, jam, honey, etcetera. More substantial side helpings would be of fried chourico sausage or “kalchi koddi” (yesterday’s warmed-up curry), mutton kheema was also priced but Mumbai is a better place to get in the Irani restaurants (but here the bread would be “brun-maska” or “kadak pao-kheema.” Omlet-pau is of course standard fare with “kadak chai,” the barely two egg omlet would be thin but dotted redolent of fried onion and refreshing green chilli bits … mild green chilli highs are fragrantly agreeable with a crunch!
In the Panjim cafeteria very rarely one may just so done poached eggs — which I crave for the most (only Caranzalem’s Padaria one may find perfectly done poached eggs, their egg take-offs are also superlatively good) and here one may also find fresh fine, slightly savoury, nutty multi-grain bread. Which reminds me my friend Zion Fernandes’ Truffles nearby has also started putting out down the same lane has also started putting out better quality sliced white and multi-grain bread loafs, mercifully the small loaves are small enough to be economical buys.
The big supermarkets like Magsons have also for some time now been putting out Goa’s local local breads (along with the packaged sliced factory breads), and the other day I was delighted to find at the Taleigoa Delphinos — where they do put a large selection of their own bakery breads — my current favourites which are the little paozine. Like I said these petite smaller breads offer so much scope for doing things with them and one will not end up hogging on bread so much…my thing is always more fresh fillings to stuff in them and they’re such delicate breads to feast on.
Just an affection I suppose, put in peanut butter and you have a protein-rich snack albeit of bread. Nowadays one also has a choice of caju butter, almond butter and what else? The spreads are there and the chutneys and sauces — the chutney-salad combos are more perfect value for okay food…I also have no problems layering the Guju choonda (Indian spiced up mango marmalade) with a slice of cheddar cheese in my whatever bun or roll quick fix…indeed, a wee bit of Indian pickle married well with the better lot of natural cheeses be it cheddar, feta, edam or herbal cheeses. If you’re doing green chutney be sure to add a few slices of green mango flesh for a tang! Green mint-coriander leaves chutney with green mango or even the oval green ambade (hog plums) flesh is so agreeable. Call it the fresh sour touch magic.
OKAY, no more breads. Actually if I could find them easily I would give up my instant bread fixes in a jiffy – if only I could get the softer version of millet unleavened breads or chappati/bhakri as they’re called, also Indian breads. Nobody has managed to put these out in the local Goan market yet: I dearly wish somebody would retail the large millet chappati/bhakri but nobody is doing it. If I could find my much-loved jowari bhakri (made soft phulka-style) I would give white bread a skip altogether; ditto for bhakri of the other millets like bajra or ragi…you can lose weight just eating ragi/nachne bhakri, I assure you, and recover your lost energies and synergies (if you understand what I mean).
Of course the millet bhakri or phulka too may be rolled up with many fillings of the delicious and wholesome kind and packed up for schoolchildren’s luncheon tiffin boxes. I’ve been trying to do away with bread and rice in my home for ever so long but in vain. Don’t ask me why! It is really not cost-effective to cook at home for only two working class seniors, each wanting to eat differently! One will like toasted sliced white bread, generously buttered, on an omlet; while wife may prefer poached egg or nothing at all for breakfast except green tea and half-a-papaya or so, a banana maybe, some fruit. In Goa nobody in the wet markets offers whole pineapple skinned, the itchy eyelets cut and the pineapple ready to cut and eat, stalk and all. Best food for diabetics I’m told! (The Mumbai wet market vendors sell ready-to-eat whole pineapples for Rs80-Rs100, they’re not over lazy maybe.)
I ALWAYS say eat fruit in the morning and you will never have a hard time in the bathroom! Seniors on too many prescriptions tend to suffer from constipation and the best fruits to eat are papaya, a banana, both being gently laxative fruit; or just eat a date or a prune! I always say if you’re suffering from the runs then eat bread – bread is very constipating, especially the Goan poie! Butter it, dip, dip in ginger-infused tea and enjoy.

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