Traditional Goan recipes stir up scrumptious meals seasoned with flavour, spice and a Goan culinary heritage passed down the generations at Mummai in Panjim.
Goans love their food as much as their football. And in the Victor family, along with football, food strikes a goal with foodies who’ve savoured Emilia Victor’s pork sorpotel, vindaloo, and cafreal. After earning praise from guests at home, the home chef’s traditional recipes have been the flavour of the lockdown takeaways last year and now at their family restaurant, Mummai in Panjim.
Authentically Goan, Emilia offers the joy of eating a home-cooked meal at a restaurant setting. You can indulge in Goan snacks like a beef roast, tongue, and sausage pao, or for a meal, a pork sorpotel or chicken xacuti or mackerel recheado, or beef bautist might tempt your taste buds.
The idea started as a pandemic project to serve the locals stuck at home with the richness of Goan flavors and for her family a chance to reconnect with their heritage.
Emilia shares that her son Elvis co-runs the popular food truck, Antojitos that serves tex-mex bites and her nephew Chef Roland Sequeira, who brings his vast experience in European cuisine from his decade abroad, was far from his roots as well. She wanted to share her passion for local cuisine and the culinary heritage with them.
“The idea was to keep the love for Goan food alive so that the next generation is aware of our traditions. The venture brought Elvis more focussed on Goan food, and Roland is taking an interest,” she says.
The three got cooking and launched Mummai as a takeaway service during the first lockdown in 2020. She says of the initial idea, “We missed out on our outings at that time. I felt things were getting stagnant for everyone. I thought, why not give people the joy of eating something different at home. I asked Elvis to come in, and Roland joined too. It was my dream to have something of my own.”
Procuring some ingredients during the lock down proved challenging, but that didn’t stop the trio from serving their customers. As taste buds caught on, the business grew to a cozy restaurant space in Panjim.
Emilia, who ran the gift shop Ge-Gems in the Panjim market understands the work and discipline involved in running a business. She keeps a strict watch over the purchases since quality check is crucial to their offering. The boys generally look into the purchases, and she accompanies Elvis to pick the fish. She explains that ingredients for the masalas are sourced from around Panjim as they focus on promoting local.
Her culinary journey that began over the crackling ambers of her wood fire kitchen in the old days, revives 100-year-old traditional recipes that stir and blend to create mouth-watering dishes. “I’ve remembered most recipes orally. I observed my mother cooking closely,” she recalls of the early years.
One of her USPs, along with quality, is a blend of old-world cooking styles with the modern. Memories flow as Emilia recalls the time in the kitchen. In those days, she explains, there were no fridges; the ingredients and quantity used had to be precise. Her mother’s marination of meat is one such example.
With this rich culinary exposure, she improvised on the recipes using available ingredients today. “In those days, for example, you couldn’t find tomatoes. We used to use only local onion that brought an additional taste to the gravy.”
The joint serves Sunday specials, and there is a festahem Jevon like the Von-Xitt (equivalent to a thali) on feast days. On 1 August, they offered a sweetener of coconut and jaggery as offered in the old days for good health to ward off colds. With Christmas around the corner, the family has curated a festive menu.
There is always something new to indulge in like the Chicken Red curry or the Georgina Fish curry or the pork feijoada. Adding a touch of fusion to the menu, Elvis twists the traditional chourico pao and mince cutlets.
The cozy, arty vibe designed by her second son Stanford translates his mother’s culinary traditions into a contemporary dining experience. The wall showcases the pride of the kitchen, pictures of the original Mummai, grandmother Georgina and daughter Emilia.
A seat at Mummai’s table will get your appetite asking for more.