Across bakeries and homes in Goa, especially, during the Christmas season, it is a tradition to bake Baath or Batica. Baath is a traditional Goan cake, and unlike other cakes- Baath is different, for it uses Semolina and not flour. It has coconut in it and is allowed to sit overnight prior to baking.
So where did Goa get it’s Baath from? We are not entirely sure, however, the closest cake to Baath is the ‘Basbousa’, from the Middle East. Basbousa makes use of Semolina, has coconut and is very similar in preparation to Baath. In Egypt, it is specially made during the Christmas season. Food historians believe that Basbousa originated in Somalia, and considering Goa had historic maritime links with Somalia (even before the arrival of the Portuguese) it is possible that the ‘Basbousa’ from Somalia arrived in Goa, and somewhere during its historic journey- Basbousa became Batica, further shortened, to Baath.
It is interesting to note that the original Basbousa, unlike the one baked today, was made not from wheat Semolina, but from Sorghum! Yes, it was gluten free and like many other traditional recipes, the convenience of wheat made cooks adapt wheat to replace the traditional grains!
We have adapted this recipe and our Baath is made from Sorghum, rice and Yellow pea semolina- so now, wheat should not be a reason why you can’t eat Baath! Our Gluten-free Baath does not contain Vanilla essence, we use the vanilla bean and, just like all our other products, we do not use baking powder.