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Goa and West India

Goa and West India
As the second most populous country, there is no doubt that India has a lot to offer. With its bustling cities, there is no shortage of fast-paced action. However, if the sun, sand and sea is more your setting, Goa is the place for you. With beautiful, sandy beaches and a Portuguese influence, this region is like no other. Here are our top three "must-do" experiences and attractions for Goa and West India:

1. Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception - this exquisite church is recommended by The Lonely Planet as a top attraction of Goa. The church itself is slightly elevated, built on a pre-existing chapel to slightly resemble a beautiful, white wedding cake. The colour is lost every year in December to beautiful bright colours for the Feats Festival celebrating the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. 
2. Mapusa - this town is one of the largest in Goa and is popular for its weekly Friday markets. Mapusa is a great place to pick up bargins on both food, beads and threads for prices far cheaper than resorts on the beach. Furthermore, Mapusa embraces colonial aspects of Goa, offering beautiful churches and buildings.
3. Snorkeling - a trip to West India isn't complete without taking in all of what the beaches have to offer. The best way to get to known this stunning coastline is to head to South-Goa and spend the day in the water among the local sea life. Most resorts offer or will guide you to a place where you can hire snorkeling equipment and enjoy the aquatic life.

As Goa is located on the West coast, boarding the Arabian Sea, it naturally holds a cuisine rich in seafood and coconuts. One of the iconic Goan dishes is Vindaloo, a hot, spicy curry that has been adopted internationally. Vindaloo curry is the perfect way to experience the taste of India. Try it for yourself:

Indian Vindaloo Curry Serves 4
450 g (1 lb) deboned chicken meat; cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
½ cup (110 mL) tomato puree or chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup (75 mL) water
Mint leaves as garnish (optional)

1. Heat oil in non-stick saucepan on medium heat.  Add onion and Spice Paste, stir-fry for 2 minutes.
2. Add meat; stir-fry for 3 minutes.  Stir in tomato puree or tomatoes and water; bring to boil.
3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until cooked.  Stir occasionally.  Garnish and serve hot with rice or Naan bread

Cooking tips: 
(a) You may use lamb, beef, fish, seafood or vegetables instead of chicken.  Adjust cooking time accordingly.
(b) For a richer taste, add 3 tbsp of cream or coconut cream before serving.

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