Jun 022014
 

Its been a long time since I took a vacation with my family and this summer, with my kids being more than 1 & 1/2 years old, I dared to take a short one. My brother in law(Leo) and his wife and their daughter joined my wife and me with the kids. Intention, a long drive for me and a short vacation for all. Destination, Mahabaleshwar.

Day 1

It wasn’t an easy task waking up the kids and getting them ready for the inevitable 300+ km drive to destination. Driving long distances to some place is something most sane people hate, but people like me just love the thought of it. So I was the only one looking forward to the drive. Rest all were “why can’t we just land at mahabaleshwar without this drive or any other mode of travel?” in their mind. Within half an hour all the three kids were ajar from sleep and the eldest one was impatiently asking whether we had already reached. It was futile to tell that the drive was going to last good 6-7 hours since I would then have to explain the concepts of reading time and such stuff. I just kept driving with music on.

We had left home at 6:30 am and by 8:00 am or so we had out first halt somewhere near shil phata on thane shil phata road, fueling up the car and filling up our tummies with homemade omelets with sliced bread. With our hunger calm and a resolve to drive through Pune and beyond, we started after this short break. Since this was my first drive to Mahabaleshwar, it was natural that I was misguided by a person at the crucial intersection which would put us on Mumbai Pune expressway. We realised the mistake, thanks google maps and some smart voice guided navigation and an u turn after about a kilometer put us back on the expressway, zipping past the very mild traffic. My heart once skipped a beat when there was a loud bang and sound of air escaping from underneath the car. A quick examination revealed no puncture and I was relieved.

Past the expressway and on the Mumbai Pune bypass road(pronounced as Mumbai-Peeoon bypass road by the voice navigation lady which was found amusing by Lynelle) the stomachs started signalling a break. Me and Leo started the lookout for the familier “M” signifying mcdonald which we had encountered once on an all mens trip to Goa via the same road. I had doubts that we had missed it, but again, google maps to the rescue, solved this puzzle and pointed out that it was ahead. About 15 minutes drive from there and the car eased in to the familier parking which we had used some time back on that trip. The pleasant sign of Dominos and Mcdonald, side by side, raised our appetite and our expectations of a good brunch.

IMG_0062

We all ate, drank and I had a couple of photos in the meantime. We also bumped into my wifes colleague(what a small world) who was on his way to chennai with wife and kid. Whooosss…A drive all the way to Chennai from Mumbai. The thought itself was tiring.

Brunch done. No breaks now as Mahabaleshwar beaconed.

The drive on Pune Satara road and the Wai Panchgani road was uneventful and we reached our destination by 3.00 pm. I somehow managed to drive the left front wheel of my car in to an open gutter on the narrow Mahabaleshwar market road but we were immediately helped by the locals. The cool comforts of the hotel ensured some good rest on arrival and we were ready to explore some Mahabaleshwar (already explored number of times by us adults) .

The Venna lake on Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar road was our first stop. With horse rides and boating on offer (Motor, paddle and rowing boats), Venna lake happens to be one place which no tourist skips. The queues for boat ticket are maddening and though I personally don’t fancy them much, but the kids love it and hence we were in a boat before long. Boating concluded, with few more photographs, in about 3 quarters of an hour and we were ready for some “orshe’ ride(Ian, my elder of the twins, calls the horse “orshe”. Very sweet to ears). Ivy, my younger one was more subdued. May be it was the twilight conditions. But she didn’t protest sitting on the horse. Ian, who normally is scared of living animals if taken near, was very ecstatic when he actually sat on the horse. One round of the flatland, 100 rs short on wallet per horse(Leo’s wallet) and the moods heightened, we all clicked few photos and were off the back of the poor but majestic animal. Whatsapp, Sharukh, Saif such were the names of the horses. Lynelle enjoyed some merry-go-round and a train ride before we decided to go back for dinner and subsequent rest.

Of course, we had the customary Strawberry/Mulberry/Mango with cream, a dessert never to be skipped in Mahabaleshwar.

Day 2

I was thinking of an early rise and few clicks of the sunrise. The previous days tire got better of me and I woke only by 8, well after the sun beat me to it.

An ideal day of outing at Mahabaleshwar covers all the “Points” and Panchgani for Table land point. not for us. Leo mentioned some place called Tapola near by with river sport activities and we decided to drive there.

About 23 km from Mahabaleshwar, and a drive down along the ghat leads to Tapola village on the banks of koyna river. The drive on the serpentine road, covered with a canopy of trees leading to the entry to the ghats is a wonderful experience. A halt on the edge of the hills and a few clicks later, we were on our way to some very steep downhill sections. I assumed that with the car loaded to its brim, it would consume more fuel while coming uphill. I eyed the fuel gauge and my heart skipped a beat. We were well past the fuel station along the road and my fuel gauge pointed very close to red line. I shared my fear with Leo and he too got worried. We kept on wishing that we would come across a fuel station at Tapola, else one of us would have to hire a vehicle with an empty can to the fuel station uphill. The very first question to the person at the entrance of Tapola village revealed that we had left the last fuel station way uphill. Neverthless we decided to go for the water sport and then worry about the fuel since the village seemed equipped to satisfy our hungers if we were detained there for long.

The river bank is accessible by car but it would require a brave heart to negotiate the very steep slope filled with gravel with an entire family in the car. We parked the car halfway in open sun and walked the road. The water sports turned out to be not much other than a motor boat ride, water scooter ride and paddle boat ride. It was the height of summer and the river has shrunk quite an amount. The motorboat ride itself was pleasant and though there was no wildlife to shoot along the banks of the river, occasional water scooters did attract my camera. And of course there was the photo session on the boat itself.

IMG_0286

We were informed by the boatswain that the ticketing counter kept stock of fuel and they would sell some for emergency. We were relieved, though we assumed the cost of such fuel would be exorbitant. Much to our astonishment, we had to pay just rs 10. extra per litre and they were reluctant to give more than 2 litres. On persuading, we were given the five litres which we asked for.  I later realised that the fuel gauge showing very less, had something to do with the slope of the road. Anyway, why take the risk.

We drove back home up the ghat, along the serpentine road covered with the canopy of trees. Along the way we encountered a huge monitor lizard crossing the road. I slowed down, but before the camera could come out of the bag, the lizard was well in to the bushes and on its way in to the jungle. An opportunity missed.

Post lunch and rest, the evening was dedicated to shopping by ladies. Chappals, chikki, strawberries, pulps and other items which are readily available in our home town were bought for a premium. The ladies took care of the shopping while I carried Ivy all along, oblivious to the fact that my arm was not designed for that endurance test. After shopping as soon as I put her down, I realised my mistake. I was supposed to drive all the way back with an arm which had started to ache mildly and which was surely going to increase next day morning. Day 2 ended with an ice cream post dinner and packing until 11 pm.

Day 3

A normal last day at for the driver of a travellers vehicle should begin with fresh energy levels. Mine begun with increased body and arm pain. But there was no point in describing in details to other members since none could drive.  My one and half year old son keeps on insisting me to take him to a drive. Next time I am planning to teach him how to drive Winking smile

We started at 9.30 am and on the drive back, we had a halt for breakfast at Bagicha Corner on the Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani road just after Venna Lake. The strawberry with cream and Corn pattice were delicious. Having dealt with the breakfast, we continued our journey via Wai to Pune which was supposed to be our halt for lunch. Lunch was taken at hotel radha, few kilometers before the start of Mumbai – Pune expressway. It was at lunch that I realised how tired my back had grown of the continuous driving up and down the hills. It was unbearable and I had to lie down inside the car for about 15 minutes, thinking all the time “why can’t we just land at virar without this drive or any other mode of travel?”

On the way up to Mahabaleshwar, I was getting the feel of the car on straight flat roads, on curvy hills up and down the mountains etc. I will living the drive.

On the way back post lunch, I was counting kilometers.

On the third day of our travel, after about 3 breaks and a lot of traffic in Pune and on Mumbai Ahmadabad highway, we managed to reach home at 8.00 in the evening, with and exhausted driver, weary kids and wife and dusty luggage…..

I plan to have more such road trips. Though exhausting, it was memorable.

Aug 112013
 

It has rained this year. Rained a lot in most of India. Just at the beginning of season. Within two weeks of heavy rain, most of the reservoirs in Mumbai were full  to brim and over flowing. A good sign for Mumbai since the rain had struggled to fill them up last year, and many previous years, leading to scarcity and water cuts in the following summers. Mumbai shouldn’t face water shortage next summer. Or will it?

It reminds me of one summer night, quite a few years back, when Mumbai and the neighboring regions faced one of the most acute water shortage. The priority of water supply during that time was given to the mega polis while the far suburbs were left to depend on the supply by water tankers. Unhygienic and irregular. Though we had our own well for the water supply, we too felt the heat since the water table had gone down and the wells filled up very slowly. But comparing the neighboring regions where people had to depend on tap water/tanker supply, we were “well off”.

So it was one summer night about 9.00 pm and we at home were engrossed in our daily activity. Eating and being entertained by the idiot box. The door bell rang. My father faced a middle aged man, about 35-40 years aged as he opened the door. The man had come in an auto rickshaw and had stopped to enquire about the directions to the house of a man going by last name “Pereira”. You throw a stone in our region and 100s of Pereiras/Gonsalves/Dsouzas will get hurt. So my father was not sure which Pereira he was referring to. Upon further enquiry, the man revealed that he lived in the neighboring region with his family and they were facing severe water shortage. This person worked with Pereira in some company in city and Pereira had asked this person to come to his house, without full address or first name, and Pereira would give him some water. We knew the It would be impossible for this person to find Pereira at this hour(mobile phones were not as widely used then as now) so my father offered to give him the water he required. The man had brought along few empty cans in rickshaw and went home with filled ones for his drinking needs, keeping me wondering and worried whether he would come back again to draw from our limited supply. He didn’t come. I assume there was truly a Pereira and the man had asked his first name and  proper address the next time.

Coming to present, will the overflowing reservoirs be sufficient to quench the ever growing thirst of Mumbai this time around. We are people who take things for granted, thinking that water comes from tap and goes down the drain, without appreciating the bigger cycle which continues in the background. The Water-Sun-Evaporates-Clouds-Condensate-Rain-Water cycle. Most of the water these days is consumed in offices where the “I don’t  care” attitude prevails. Then there are these elite class of residencies in the city for whom there is no control over water consumption. This is where we waste a lot of water.  For such people, water comes from tap and not from the dams.  As of now, everyone thinks that since all the dams are full there won’t be scarcity during summer. But one thing we forget. Mumbai is ever growing, thus an ever growing demand of water to fulfill. The capacity of reservoirs supplying water to Mumbai has not increased a liter all this years and there is not chance of it increasing in near future. But we are accustomed to a habit of moving from abundance to scarcity  by our over abuse of the abundance. When do we control ourselves?

Unless we learn to appreciate the efforts taken by the environment to provide us potable water, we will never put an effort to reduce the load on the environment and the ecosystem. Unless we strive to not waste that drop of water we waste, I see another summer of scarcity.

Oct 152012
 

My colleague commented today morning that I looked sullen and off mood. She kept saying this time and again. I didn’t feel any different. I was trying my best to look engrossed in work as always.
May be she expected me to be all cheerful on my birthday. Maybe I was expected to be all well dressed up in new clothes with a big smile and pretending to be the king for a day.

I don’t see the big deal. I never do.

Can someone tell me what’s it all about? How can today be any different from other days. Of course, there is the usual wishing and the cake and a small/big feast. But then, why should it really excite me? Agreed that this was the day I was born a few decades back. But then, I’ve lived through all other days of these 33 years and each one has been different. So why should I deem this day special?

I am not that old to start thinking like a grandpa, but somewhere down my life, I stopped thinking much about birthdays. Now my focus has shifted to my kids and their days of glory.

For me, birthdays have stopped being a big deal.

Oct 122012
 

My blog link is wordfight.in and the title is I Said It. But for quite some time now since my last post, I’ve been fighting for words. It seems like I’ve said it all. Not that I’ve nothing on my mind or I am suffering from writer’s block. To the contrary, my mind is jumbled up with lot of things which I am unable to channelize in to this blog.

And then there is this matter about me becoming a father. Yes, after a long wait, I finally became dad. To two kids. A Girl and a Boy(I don’t understand why I always say “A Girl” first, even though my Boy is elder by 2 minutes). It has been a month and a half now since and we’ve named them Ian and Ivy. Now I get a breather(literally) to write something down before I go back on sabbatical.

Life is full of exciting things. Formula one races, movies, food, outings with friends etc. But for me, its only diaper time at this stage. I take satisfaction in that. Though I don’t get to help my wife much since they are at my in-laws house, I try and take some time out to be with them. On weekends, or after work. That’s why I find less time to compose myself.

Those of you who have kids, will surely know that whatever I have written above, has required great effort to compose at this stage. I plan to keep on posting about my children but don’t know how I will go about it. I will not be easy to maintain a blog

Time will tell…..

Apr 152012
 

Nature has provided us with everything yet we have shunned it aside. Have our grandparents not used nature effectively? But we embrace technology to carry out the slightest tasks. Take an example of the alarm clock. I don’t remember my grandparents using alarm clocks to wake up. They relied on their body clocks, “early to bed early to rise” funda, and some help from birds which chirp untiringly in the morning.

This particular bird seemed to have, waking me up, on its to-do-today list as a top priority. It kept on chirping outside on my bedroom window sill relentlessly until I woke up. Mind you, alarm clocks don’t wake me up so easily. But this one wouldn’t give up and finally I had to wake up and record its performance.(The real reason behind this continuous show is the reflection of the bird on my mirror glassed windows). Whatever be, this is a very good example of what nature has provided.

I wouldn’t use it as a clock though, as the bird appears at its own time and that would require synchronizing the punch in machine at my office with the bird.

Feb 202012
 

As I have always said in some of my previous posts, we being the residents of coastal region, fish is our main diet. We vasaikars, love fish. Though our daily diet consists mainly of seawater fish, we do eat fresh water variety too. In fact fresh water fish was our regular diet some years back.

During summer, the water level in the well or the lake would go down, and a normal person could wade through the water which was at waist height. Most of the villages had lakes and ponds(or a large brick well for irrigation, but which was also used for breeding fish) of their own, and the youngsters from the village would group together on a fixed day and catch for the evening meal. It used to be a big occasion, and we children would sit for hours together at the edge of the pond, or on the huge brick well, marveling at the skills of our elders whenever they landed a big fish. They did not use fishing hooks, but instead, tossed the nets skillfully or used traps made of bamboo baskets. The entire catch would then be divided in to equal parts and each part would be handed over to the families of the people involved in fishing, by the way of lucky draw.

I was quite small when this happened, may be around 8-10 years old. After the summer season ended, the pond used to be auctioned to someone for a particular period for fishing. The income through the auction would be sufficient to pay for the irrigation pump electricity bills. But one particular year, the auction didn’t go though and after rains the pond was anyone’s for fishing. People from the village and neighboring village started fishing on regular basis using fishing hooks on a pole. The catch would be sometimes sufficient for two meals.

On a particular holiday, I decided to try my hands at fishing. That was the very first and the last time I tried fishing. I was accompanied by my brother. With a fishing hooks tied to nylon string, which was further tied to end of a sufficiently long pole, we two amateur fisher-boys marched towards the lake. The bait we planned on using was earthworm(which was a common bait in those day). On reaching our pre-decided spot we were unsure who would get the earthworms. Sensing that my brother would not do it, I went about the job of finding earthworms in damp places on the ground. I had to dig in to the mud and turnover few stones until I managed to get 3-4 live ones. The bait being in hand, we were not sure who should handle the juicy part of fixing the worms to the hook. It was disgusting. I tried it, and I am sure that I tortured the worm a lot. Somehow the earthworm was attached to the hook and in to the water went the hook. Within seconds I felt a slight tug and yanked out the line. A small fish, about the size of my finger, was attached to the hook. I would require about 25-30 of such to make some decent amount of curry. I tried again and managed to catch even smaller one. After 3-4 tries resulting in small catches, my brother, my ever supportive brother, decided it was time for him to play some other game and left me alone. Now it became my sole responsibility to feed the family of four.

After many tries and virtually no success, I felt embarrassed. How would I face my family(not that my family was depending on me for food, but I had not asked my parents permission to go near the lake so would need something to please them in case they decided to get angry). How would I walk the road to my house with people teasing me all along?(Actually no one would care). But I was small and those were my thoughts. Sensing despair, God sent an angel in the form of a neighboring uncle. He asked me what I had managed to catch and seeing the small fishes he was quite amused. He asked me to try again and I hooked an earthworm. He took the fishing pole from me and removed the earthworm. Then he rehooked the worm, hiding the entire hook by its tubular body while still keeping a wiggling tail free. Apparently, I was hooking the bait in a wrong fashion. Then he asked me to cast and he went away. Within seconds something was tugging my line and I had to use my full strength to yank out the fish.

It was a small wonder. Bigger then my palm(but actually smaller then my mother’s palm). I didn’t even know how to unhook it and was afraid that the sharp fins would hurt me. But neglecting all this, I started yelling with joy and few people on the opposite bank of the pond were startled thinking that I might be in some kind of danger. Seeing me yelling with a fish dangling to the hook, they resumed their business.

At home I proudly displayed the fish to my elders, my cousins, neighbors and my parents. They were very proud and so was I.

In the evening, dad went to the fish market and bought enough fish to feed us. I gave up fishing….

Jan 012012
 

It’s 2012. Time passes. As I sit through a somewhat boring sermon in the church, I turn my wrist to see the time and find that I have forgotten to wear the watch. Again. My thought rotates around watches. And as always, I am reminded of a watch which I can never forget. This watch has had some influence on my life and I would surely like to have it back, if it’s still in existence. It was my Grandpa’s watch.

The story can be long enough to bore you, or quick and short leaving out the essence. But I care less and write as much as I fell should be written.

The watch was pocket watch, similar to the one Gandhi had. I do not remember the make, and I wouldn’t dare make guesses. Ever since childhood, I had been fascinated by everything mechanical. And this spring action watch was one equipment I loved to watch. Today we have quartz powered watches which require changing battery after a long duration. But this watch required winding up so that it wouldn’t stop. Everyday, after coming back from market, my grandpa would wind up the watch to keep it running. The second hand(smallest one), ticked away on its own, on a separate dial just below the number 12. I would sit minutes together watching it completing those many rotations, and along with that, the movement of the big minute hand. I wasn’t allowed to touch it until I came of age, which I guess was around the age of 7-8. At first, Grandpa would allow me to wind it up, but being scared that I would over wind it, he would allow me to give it only a few turns and then take over. Anyway, the spring was too tight for my tiny fingers to over wind. And after a few turns, my finger tips would become raw due to the serrations on the small winding knob. But I didn’t complain since I wanted to handle it regularly.

By that time, my grandpa had been explaining me all about the numbers on the dial and how to read time. I was, may be in 3rd grade, and one day, my grandpa dared me to tell the exact time. I took my time to read the numbers and their meaning with respect to the hands. Finally, somewhat scared, I muttered, “11:20”. “100 marks to you!!”. I remember my grandpa saying this in excited tone. My Grandma was very happy. Though not educated herself or being able to tell time, she strongly had a view that we all should be well educated, and I had passed one test for which she relied on the church bells. She proudly told around about my achievement, and though it took me quite some time to actually read time any time of the day, in her view I was the most intelligent boy in the village.

I kept learning the art of reading time for few more years on the same watch. And around sixth grade, the watch was gone. No, it didn’t stop working. It ticked as good as it ticked before. But the circumstances under which we had to part away with the watch were a bit disheartening to me personally.

My Grandpa had crossed 80 and time and again he fell ill. He was losing strength and he was sure that the time for his passing to another life was coming near. All he was worried about was not to burden his family with the expenses for the funeral.

One day Grandpa informed us that he had sold the watch. We were all shocked and asked him about why he did that. As it turned out, he had spent the money in taking a portrait photograph of himself and framed it. He had bought new footwear, new dhoti(a traditional cloth worn below the waist), a traditional jacket and the traditional black cap. He had prepared himself for the journey and didn’t want his family to bear the expenses. He had instead parted with his one beloved possession.

As the details of the events were later revealed by him, he had gone for a visit to the doctor where he met a man from a neighboring locality. During a conversation with him, the subject of time and watches had somehow crept up and my Grandpa informed about the pocket watch which he owned. The man was quite interested in the watch and offered my Grandpa 1100 rupees for it. The year was 1991 and 1100 rupees was a big amount. My Grandpa had immediately agreed, caught the next bus home, picked up the watch, went back and traded it for the amount. He had then used the money on the above mentioned articles.

He had bought the watch quite a few decades back for the sum of 35 rupees.

My Grandpa passed away the very next year, in his new clothing. And his portrait hung on the door frame for years till the house was demolished.

My Grandpa, and that watch, taught me to read time. One of the most valuable lesson anyone can learn. I always feel nostalgic whenever I remember that watch and feel that it should have been in the possession of our family. But the financial conditions of the family at that time, were “just making ends meet” and my Grandpa had enough self respect to not ask my mom or his other daughters, or his son for the money for such a cause.

The watch was gone forever. The man who bought it for such a large amount, surely had some knowledge of its value and am sure, the watch is still ticking somewhere. And I am hoping it’s ticking with a collector or someone who really cares.

Dec 152011
 

It was in preschool that I came across the english alphabet for the first time. We had a cursive writing book with all those dotted letters on which I had to trace the pencil, so very slowly at  first, but at a higher speed later on, to learn cursive writing. It was a very difficult exercise for me, given that I didn’t have a free hand at art, then and now. But there was a purpose to this exercise at this tender age. Ii itched a writing style in to my hand.

It was somewhere around class III that we were allowed to use a pen for the first time in school. I had graduated and the feeling was good. But my writing skill was as bad as ever. The difference between a pencil and a pen is that, in a pencil you get lot of resistance while writing so you need to put in that extra effort while trying to trace a smooth letter. This helped in inducing a curve in to my hand which is unique to me. On arrival of the pen, the resistance was reduced drastically and my hand needed a longer time to restrain the occasional slip of hand and get back those curves. But eventually I did manage to get back to my dirty handwriting and managed to get through those long exam sessions with some ease.

I do remember the last time I picked up the pen to write a few coherent lines on paper. That was during the marine engineering exam that I appeared for last year. Apart from that, the notes that I take down at my office do not qualify to be called as lengthy and meaning full sentences. They are just bits and pieces of information noted down at random intervals, and won’t help me with being in touch with my hand curves. Most of my work is done on a computer, in office or at home. All it does is flatten my finger tips due to the regular strikes on keyboard.

Gist is, the pen is almost as good as dead for me. But I can live with it. I am not going to be a writer. And if I am going to be, I can do it on the computer. But what concerns me more is the news I read today. A school in Mumbai has made it mandatory for students to buy an iPad for “learning process”. Some of the parents have accepted it while some are of the feeling that it will hamper the writing abilities of their kids. The school has given an option of either buying it outright or availing a financing option.

I will not go in to the ethics of making it mandatory. I will not argue on the ethics of the school giving out “options” for mode of purchase, which I feel, should be left with financial institutions or retail establishments, not educational institutions. There is not much information about the class from which students have to buy it, or what kind of actual educational tool will it be used as. But I give voice to the concerns of those parents who contest this decision with the argument of handwriting.

How exactly are the schools going to use these tablets? Are they planning to ask students to take down the notes on their iPad instead of their notebooks. If that so, it’s a shame that the art of writing will no longer be practiced by them. Handwriting is not at all an outdated way of learning. Secondly, at the tender age, if their wrists are subjected to non-ergonomic working styles, I am afraid lots of these kids will grow with problems at their wrists. So who will teach them ergonomics with iPad? Another risk being, who will ensure that the kids are not exposed to restricted contents on the web which will be freely available on the tablet? Who will ensure that the students use it only for educational purpose instead of playing angry bird during classroom periods?

And it’s a very expensive tool for learning which I feel is not required.

On the other hand, if the schools are able to control the use of the tablets to a restricted amount of time, it will be a boon. Students will be exposed, and when I say exposed I mean in both ways, to the age of the internet at the tender age. But then, the kids who can afford such luxuries at schools, surely have been exposed to these gadgets at their homes. So where’s the need?

All said, I just hope it’s not the death of the pen.

Nov 062011
 

Fish as a Health Food

It has been said time and again that fish is a health food. We, living in coastal region, have access to plenty of it and so it has been our daily diet for ages. The most common method of preparing fish in my region has been cooking it in tamarind & curry leaves based curry. Fried fish as a side dish has been the second most favored choice. It’s hard to pass a day when one of our meal doesn’t contain fish.

Having said that, we do understand that in many cases, fish can be as harmful to your cholesterol levels as red meat. Shelled fishes are known to increase cholesterol count, so don’t consider yourself healthy if you eat a lot of crabs and lobsters. There are lot other fishes which are known to carry toxic elements in their body. But I am not writing this to wake your health concerns. This post is to let you know that the cook in me is still alive and cooking. I am experimenting on steamed fishes, and have been achieving better results each time. Though there are variety of fishes which can be steamed, I restrict myself to pomfret as the flesh becomes very soft after cooking. You can also steam Kingfish, mackerel and other types of fish as per your liking.

….….…Wow!! I just took a break from writing to finish off the steamed pomfret which was on the stove while I was writing. I just can’t to wait to share this recipe.

Let’s do it

Ingredients :

(I prefer not to weigh my ingredients because each time you end up having different proportions which creates interesting flavors. Believe me!!Also, you can use the bit extra marinade to go with your appam or rice)

1 Pomfret(size as per your requirement)

4 tablespoon grated coconut(health conscious people can opt out of this ingredient)

1 green chili

1/2 tomato

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste

handful of fresh cilantro leaves

turmeric leaves or banana leaves(enough to wrap the pomfret and the marinade, OPTIONAL)

a piece of ambi haldi(OPTIONAL, tastes very good when used with turmeric leaves wrapping)

food grade aluminum foil

4-5 curry leaves

salt to taste

Method:

Except for the pomfret, aluminum foil, the wrapping leaves and ambi haldi, mix everything in the grinder to make a smooth paste for the marinade/stuffing. Keep aside.

Clean and gut out the pomfret, remove the fins and tail. Remove the mouth, eyes. There are two ways of marinating, one is stuffing and second is applying the marinade on the grooves cut on the fish. I prefer grooves, but if you need assistance on stuffing, check out this video. If you don’t want to stuff, cut deep grooves across the breadth of the fish while keeping the fishbone intact. Apply the marinade generously all over the fish and fill up the mouth cavity.

Cut the ambi haldi in to thin strands and spread all over the fish. Place the fish with its marinade on the turmeric leaves or banana leaves and wrap around gently. Then place this entire wrapping on aluminum foil and wrap around(aluminum foil helps in preserving the juices which might seep out of the leaves). If you don’t have the leaves, you can wrap the fish in the foil itself, but remember, the leaves impart a good natural flavor and aroma to the steamed fish.

Photo1436Use a traditional idli maker to steam the fish. Photo1437It can even be steamed in a pressure cooker with the whistle removed. While steaming ensure that there is enough water to last for about 30 minutes of steaming on low heat, but not so much that the water enters the aluminum foil. In the traditional idli maker, you can use the idli plates to separate the fish from the water. In a pressure cooker use suitable stand which is stable and which can hold the fish.

Finish Garnish and ServePhoto1440

Steam the fish for about 30-35 minutes on medium heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Serve hot. While serving, try to retain the juices that flow out of the fish. Goes well with idli, dosa, steamed rice, appam, amboli etc..

%d bloggers like this: