Goan Bebinca

When I say baking, most people will only think of 'cakes' as was kindly pointed out to me by someone a couple of months back. More often than not, 'cakes' are synonymous with 'pastries' - the rich, spongy, loaded with whipped cream and decorated with sugar flowers variety. I argued in vain because to me 'baking' is not restricted to cakes. But the truth is people, at least in India, will associate it with pastries. Baking includes so many different varieties of food that is not restricted to cakes or even desserts for that matter. 

About a year ago, when I saw the Rachel Allen Bake!  series for the first time, I heard the renowned Indian chef, Atul Kochhar, make Indian' baked' delicacies. Nankhatai and Bebinca. That's when I realised that although the form of baking is a little different, Indian food also has a large variety of 'baked' goods, not in the least limited to cakes. Think of the 'tandoor'. What does it do? It 'bakes' your breads (naan, kulcha). I could go on about this, but here I am talking about one such, less known, but utterly delicious Indian 'baked' dessert called Bebinca. This is a Goan dessert, although from Wikipedia it appears to me that it originated in Portugal (not surprising, given the long hold of the Portuguese on Goa).

Bebinca is made with white flour, egg yolks, coconut milk, sugar and ghee (or clarified butter). It is a layered cake like pudding, which is baked layer by layer, in a clay oven or cooked on a wood fire with the vessel covered (something similar to 'dum'). when one layer is cooked, a layer of ghee is added and a layer of batter and cooked further. Traditionally it has 16 layers. Very few people bake this today, because of the effort and the heat. It reminds me of another such layered cake called Baumkuchen, a German cake baked on a spit.

So here are two pictures of authentic Goan Bebinca, that the Chef  presented us with on one of our trips to Goa. Trust me, Bebinca is delicious and make sure you try it on your next trip to Goa!!!


Comments

  1. Yummy. I feel like eating it again and again.
    Vibhas

    ReplyDelete
  2. vibhas try this....
    :-)
    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/99O7ML1KO_n0_sE3raF_EA

    i've tried it..yumm,the BEST.nothing tastes better.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love nankhatai, but can't find much enthusiasm for bebinca. I think it must be the combination of coconut milk and eggs, leaves me totally unmoved. I was once invited by a very gracious and charming lady in Goa, she baked the bebinca herself, and I had a piece and it was an excellent bebinca, light but rich. But totally wasted on me :)

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  4. Yes, I completely get your point of view, not being a fan of coconut milk myself!

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  6. I love nankhatai, but can't find much enthusiasm for bebinca. I think it must be the combination of coconut milk and eggs, leaves me totally unmoved. I was once invited by a very gracious and charming lady in Goa, she baked the bebinca herself, and I had a piece and it was an excellent bebinca, light but rich. But totally wasted on me :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just watched a repeat of this episode of Rachel Allen Bakes! I am trying tonfind the recipe for Chef Kochhar's Bebinca. I had never heard of this desert but now can't wait to make it. Can you help with the recipe? Thanks :-)

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    Replies
    1. There aren't many recipes out there for Bebinca, although I have seen a few online. Since the dessert is not well known, the recipes are scarce. Although I have not tried the recipe - this is the one I did find - http://thecookscottage.typepad.com/curry/2006/12/bebinca_at_bogm.html I hope this helps!

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  8. The origins of Bebinca is Portuguese. I was born in East Timor and it is a very popular dessert amongst the Timorese people. The cake is beautiful but time consuming and you need to eat it in moderation as it is very rich. I have a recipe that uses 24 egg yolks and coconut cream, so it is not something you would want to eat it everyday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's true. It's quite rich!!

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