Monday, August 16, 2010

Manglorean Bafat ~ A Portuguese Inspired Spice Blend

Manglorean Bafat or Bafad spice powder is a commonly used spice blend in Manglorean Catholic and Goan Catholic cuisines. Bafat spice powder is a spice blend of lots of Red Chillies, some Cumin seeds, some Coriander seeds, generous Whole black pepper corns and stub of Turmeric stick if available. Add a touch of Vinegar and you can make the spice powder with the easily available pantry ingredients right within the comfort of your kitchen.

Traditionally, Bafat based curries made liberal use of Bafat spice blend. The explosive heat generated due to the spices and Red Chillies are snapped off by the sublime hint of tangy vinegar flavour in the meat dishes with pepper undertones. Primarily they are used for Pork, Poultry and Meat dishes of choice. Some buy ready made spice powder, some prefer to make it at home. I prefer buying ready made spice powders from local vendors in Mangalore simply because I need not add Vinegar while cooking the meat dishes. The spice powder already has preserves of Vinegar in it which makes a chef's life easy. :)

The curries are very easy and simple to make. More often than not all the ingredients are thrown in the pot, allowed to steam cook, garnished with all the spices and your Bafat is ready. I recall watching a dear Aunty of Catholic heritage, a very close friend of ours who cooked the most amazing Portuguese dishes when I was a tiny tot. She cooked the tastiest Cafreal, Vindaloo, Balchao's. Her Christmas special spread was always bursting with the tangiest dark Guava Cheese, crispy pink Rose cookies, Kul-Kuls, Jujubes, Coconut Bolinhas, Bebincas and Marzipans. Needless to say, I was the proud taste tester in her kitchen. She once asked me if I am interested to watch her cook Pork Bafat and I nonchalantly watched her pouring in all the meat, spices, onions, loads of garlic and steam cooking all of it. I did not pay much attention because I am not much of a Bacon/Pork lover. But the whole process seemed very fascinating to me at that age.

More in details - select your meat of choice, saute large amount of onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies and cook the meat with some whole spices (optional) along with the Bafat spice blend with some water. The steam cooked meat soaks in all the spices and since its cooked on slow flame the dish gets the spicy yet tangy flavour of Bafat Masala. Based on ones preference of meat, one can make Pork Bafat, Chicken Bafat, Prawns Bafat or if you wish a Vegetarian Bafat dish as well. This spice blend primarily discovered to be cooked with Pork, has now been tweaked around to suit various meat and vegetarian preferences. We prefer the masala for fish and egg based recipes. If bursting with sweaty beads is your idea of a perfect meat dish, than Bafat perfectly fits the bill.


  1. Hey Ashwini, came here thru your msg on foodbuzz...i've had chicken bafat in goa long back...cant rememebr the taste too mucg, but rememebr the name...nice blog...will be here more often...

  2. @ Arch - Thanks for stopping by. Love your blog, keep it going!


I appreciate any comment and would love to hear from you. Trust you enjoy my blog.