All the practical aspects for my blog posts take place out of my house, usually when I’m travelling to different places on official work, or on leave -especially my annual leave which I prefer to take all at once for Christmas. This is a blessing in disguise as I can focus all my energy on my list of things to do and research. Once I switch off my phone for a month, it is utopia. The Christmas before last, I had heard that the fisher folk of Udupi have a very easy method of grilling their fish. I did ask the fish wife Yashodha who comes selling fish to our house daily and she told me how it was done and then as usual I got involved with my other projects. It wasn’t time yet for that post.
Last Christmas, 365 days later, I remembered it again and asked her once more to refresh my memory and finally decided to try it out. It is eight months since then, so I’ve had to ask my mother to refresh my memory again. If her memory serves her right, then these are the ingredients that were applied to the fish after it was gutted and washed.
Green chillies, Ginger, Tamarind and Salt. These were ground to a paste and applied to the fish before it was grilled. Whenever I get a chance to verify the method again, I’ll recheck the ingredients and edit them if necessary as they seem suspiciously similar to that of my grandmother’s recipe. I remember Yashodha’s recipe being much simpler. It is not uncommon for mum at her age to forget an ingredient or accidentally add some of her own
To make a long story short and get on with posting the photographs, half way through my preparations, mum suddenly remembered how my grandmother used to grill fish so she hijacked Yashodha’s recipe. So this is more or less how my grandmother grilled fish or rather how my mum remembers it as it was done quite rarely and her younger siblings don’t seem to recollect anything of it. Probably grandma stopped doing it after the number of members in the family increased or it wasn’t economical as you can get more mileage out of fish curry than grilled fish -similar to how you can eat a full tandoori chicken if you put your mind to it but will not be able to eat more than half in a curry.
The chief difference between my grandmother’s method apart from a slight difference in the ingredients, is that the fish was not gutted. According to mum, once the fish is grilled, gently jerking the fish in the right direction will cause all the offal to fall off. This is quite possible as one of the fish (probably Yashodha passed on a stale fish) had its offal fall off into the fire while grilling. You can see that in the photographs.
This method of grilling is called Kolai Voipun in Tulu. I’m not sure what Kolai stands for. I’ve heard the term meen kolai where meen means fish. The word Voipun usually means to pull or maybe in this case to pull off or peel? Probably in relation to peeling off or removing the skin from the fish after grilling. This is just a guess, I could be totally wrong.
Here’s how I made it then… -Enjoy!
| Manorama Soans | Prabhavati Kunder | Yashodha|
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