If there’s one thing quintessentially Goan, it’s the famous Goan pork sausages or chorisos. These fiery little red cylinders are packed with tangy pork meat. There’s nothing quite like it anywhere in the world. It is the perfect product of the confluence of the East and the West.
In a quiet lane of Goa, Velha, lives Antonio D’Silva aka Suko, one of the last of the fast vanishing breed of master sausage-makers in the famous Velha-Agacaim area. At one time, it was one of the greatest sausage making centres in Goa.
People like Antonio are fast disappearing. There are probably only a handful of sausage-makers in Goa who still make sausages in the traditional style.
Rows of dried cattle intestines greet the visitor as you enter his sausage factory which consumes, on average, five pigs a day. Inside one shed, hundreds of freshly made sausages are hung around a smoking wood fire. The sausages are smoked for two days. This gives them their delicious smoked flavour.
Around the sausages are 10 huge barrels of the most aromatic vinegar. Antonio explains, “We use the purest palm vinegar at different stages of making the sausages. We smoke the sausages. Other people sun dry them. We don’t do that because the crows peck at them. Besides, dust also settles on the sausages if you keep them outside.” It’s probably the reason why his fellow villagers call him Suko, which means ‘dry’ in Konkani.
According to him, his method of making sausages was introduced by the Portuguese a long time ago. Others have abandoned the centuries-old practice in favour of less timeconsuming techniques.
Antonio still makes his sausages the old way. The pork comes from traditional Goan pigs of Agacaim, which are leaner and have less fat content. The best pigs for sausages are the one’s which are around oneand-a-half years old. “Too big a pig and the fat content increases,” explains Antonio.
After the pig is slaughtered and diced, the meat is kept pressed under a weight equivalent to the quantity of meat; 100 kgs weight on 100 kgs meat, so that the residual body fluids are drained out. “Normal sausage makers don’t do this,” says Antonio. “Their sausages don’t taste as good.”
The meat is then soaked in vinegar and salt, following which, it is marinated in sausage masala, a family recipe. All this takes two days. The meat is then ready to be stuffed in dried cow intestines in small, medium, large and extra large sizes. They are smoked for a minimum of two days and then dispatched to whoever has ordered them.
Such is the fame of Antonio D’Silva’s family business that thousands of sausages are sent to Dubai, London, Paris; anywhere in the world where there are Goans. All this simply by word of mouth publicity.
He reveals, “The true test of a good Goan sausage is that it should be edible raw.”
So saying, he grabbed a sausage string from around the smoking logs, broke off a few sausages and asked us to eat them. Trusting his word, we chewed off a good half sausage. And discovered the smoky flavour of Antonio’s world famous sausages. Yes, you can eat them raw!
Article Credits- Times of India.
Photograph credits-Daniel D’Souza.