Illustrator Danica Da Silva Pereira was born and bred in the tropical state of Goa in India and is the latest guest editor to join GRAZIA in this instalment of our At Home City Guides series, a one-stop shoppable gazette designed so you can capture a piece of a city from your living room. This evening, we are travelling to Panjim, a place defined by its – according to Da Silva Pereira – “Goan-Portuguese architecture and iconic vendors.”

“My illustrations are hugely inspired by my cultural heritage and stories that I have come across in life,” says Da Silva Pereira, speaking to her window of art that she designed exclusively for GRAZIA above. “I love using bold colour palletes, which are inspired from the bold colours of the walls of houses in Panaji (also called Panjim), Goa.”

Some of those “stories” included her earliest memories of Goa with her mother. “On the weekends, my parents would take me to the seaside for a swim in the warm sea waters,” remembers the artist. “My mom would cook up a feast, pack it up and we would picnic under the shade of the coconut trees while I built castles and buried my feet in the sand.”

The prominent blue tones in Da Silva Pereira’s depiction also hold greater meaning. “I went to college in the heart of the city and always rode a cute blue moped,” she says. “My friends would ride their mopeds too and we would whizz across the city making pit stops to snack at the various local food vendors. We would almost always end up at the seaside to eat ‘Sev Puri’ from one of the many vendors lined up in front of the beach.”

While international travel is still restricted, it doesn’t mean you can’t be get a taste of different cultures. Transform your space and plate tonight by seeing Goa through Da Silva Pereira’s eyes. Below is a comprehensive list of recipes to try, books to read and scents to spritz.

“Sussegad rao.” (“This translates to ‘stay relaxed’ or ‘stay in peace”, says Da Silva Pereira. “It would be the most iconic phrase. I use it regularly when talking to fellow Goans and is especially used as a parting message.”)

There you have it. Sussegad rao.

Follow Danica here. 

Ghost Stories from goa

As Da Silva Pereira tells GRAZIA, one of her favourite recents reads is Afterlife: Ghost Stories From Goa. The novel follows the Fonesca family from Goa who narrate their own encounters with the supernatural. Encapsulating the spirit and culture of the Indian state, tales are told of a boy who is possessed by an older spirit, an ominous bird visits the family matriarch on her deathbed and a deceased uncle sends an urgent message from beyond the grave. Ultimately, family secrets are revealed. Dive into a new world and page turner, here.

A TASTE OF HOME

According to Da Silva Pereira, an ideal day of food includes, “a nice plate of “potato bhaji and puri, with a cup of coffee at Café Bhosle …stopping for a tea break at 31 de Janeiro bakery. [And] after watching the sunset at Miramar beach, I would dine on some Goan-Portuguese cuisine at Viva Panjim, a quaint restaurant in the Latin Quarters.”

For many local Goans including Da Silva Pereira, Sausage Pulao is a frequent and favourite dish. Made from basmati rice, Goan handmade sausages (you can see the ingredient hanging in abundance at the markets), and a fragrant concoction of cloves, cinnamon and cardamon, the dish is warm and spicy – an accurate depiction of Panaji cuisine. While we can’t visit local restaurant, Martin’s Corner, try this recipe at home.

WINTER COMFORT

Likewise, Chicken Cafreal is another hero dish of Panaji most commonly eaten during Christmas or for other special occasions. In lockdown, Da Silva Pereira recalls bringing out her “inner chef” to replicate some of her most favourite Goan dishes, “like Vindaloo, Chicken Cafreal and Chicken Manchurian.”

“Me and my partner even set up the atmosphere of a restaurant with Goan music playing in the background,” she says.e

Served with bread or rice the Indian curry combines coriander, green chilli, cinnamon, cumin, peppercorn, cardamon and cloves for a distinctly deep green dish bursting with flavour. Make it your next celebration dish with this recipe.

BEFORE IT WAS COOL 

Before Kombucha became a probiotic sensation in the West, the Indian culture was harnessing the power of the zesty beverage long before it was trendy. For Da Silva Pereira, she uses Borecha’s Guava Chilli Kombucha as a mixer. “It reminds me of my childhood summer holidays eating guavas from my grandparent’s backyard with chilli powder and salt.”

While you can’t purchase this particular brand abroad, you can try your hand at this recipe for a close replica.

SIESTA O’CLOCK

As androgynous style takes over our wardrobes, it appears that we’re not the only ones searching the menswear section for new pieces. Indian label, Siesta O’Clock has entered our radar thanks to Da Silva Pereira and perfectly embodies “chilled out and fun-loving local Goan” through clothing. We’re pairing this yellow number with our poolside look from now on.

Siesta O’Clock Summertime Gladness Shirt SHOP NOW

COTTONS DAILY

Seen all around Goa, Cottons Daily is locally known for its traditional ethnic pieces. From exclusive weaves, Indian Sarees and customisation service, you know you’re owning a little piece of the culture with the brand. While a full Saree might not be quite practical abroad, may we suggest trying these pants for ultimate comfort and style whether you’re in isolation or walking the streets.

Cottons Daily Handcrafted Cotton Palazzo SHOP NOW

FOREST ESSENTIALS 

“I love to visit the Snip Salon and Spa Panjim for one of their special treatments to relax and rejuvenate in-between busy weeks,” says the artist. But since we are in lockdown over this Christmas period, through Da Silva Pereira recommends products from Forest Essentials. This hair cleanser (yes, you read that correctly) helps to relieve hair breakage and promotes growth. The key ingredient?  Bhringraj extract (most commonly knowns as ‘the food for your hair’).

Forest Essentials Hair Cleanser SHOP NOW

Just like a pressed-juice, this organic coconut oil has been cold-pressed (which means the oil has been extracted by hand without heat) so as to retain the highest nutrient content in the oil. Good for your hair and also makes a nice moisturizer too!

Forest Essentials Cold Pressed Organic Coconut Virgin Oil SHOP NOW

This moisturizing cream infused with 24K gold. Need we say more?

Forest Essentials Radiance Cream SHOP NOW

SCENT OF THE CITY

“When I think of a scent that matches Panaji, the first thing that comes to mind would definitely be the Marigold flower. On a daily basis, there is an abundance of marigold garlands available at the Panjim market. Women wrap their hair buns with the marigold flower every day and these garlands are also used to adorn religious shrines regularly all around Goa,” says Da Silva Pereira.

Munio Candela Marigold Candle SHOP NOW

ATMOSPHERE

Mixing together the sitar and flute, stream the sounds of India this evening with this playlist… and “Sussegad rao.”

thoughts?