Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Those fins and gills

I am a niche Goenkar.. And however trivial that may sound to you but I take immense pride in being one. Apart from the 'susegado' siestas, one important part of my personality is the creatures with fins and gills... Fish!

I come from a background of hard-core fish eaters. Thanks to my Dad, fish was a part if our meals throughout the year except those one and a half day during the Ganpati festival. It's still considered a customary ritual in some of the Saraswat homes in Goa to cook the fishy dinner on the day of the Ganesh Visarjan. In my home, it's still graciously followed where the men go hunting for the catch to even far away markets.

A part of me feels extremely blessed when I see my children loving the basic essence of my personality. I feel overwhelmed when I see my son, more than my daughter, relish his meals whenever he spots a piece of fried pomfret or kingfish in his plate. My daughter's favourite is prawns fried in basic masala flavours without much spice.

When I got married, I could hardly cook...forget about making those elaborate fishy lunches and dinners. Although, I had made this quite clear to my husband before we were committed, I could sense that he and his father did expect me to at least learn how to cook the basic fish dishes. Cooking is one area where I terribly missed having my mother in law around. My mom used to give me some lessons over the phone which finally helped me overcome my cooking inhibitions in a great way. After many years of trying, I can finally say that I can cook descent meals now that I myself can eat without any inhibitions.

Coming back to the point, I believe that cooking is a great art and some take a lifetime to master it...I am one of them, for sure. My mom is a great cook and whatever I can manage now, I owe it to her.

The patent 'prawns sukhe' in a typical Goan meal
Cooking fish is a complicated affair in Goan cooking. There are different Masalas for each type of fish. Besides, one fish can be cooked into different dishes. Hence, I have always respected the Goan ladies for their super-sharp memory and the perseverance. In most houses, buying the catch is the job of the men and it ends right there. Cleaning, cutting and cooking is then entirely taken over and well executed by the ladies. A fried fish is almost like a compulsion in a normal meal; vegetables being an option and mostly limited to few holy days of the week like Monday; being dedicated to Lord Mangesh.

In Mumbai, where I currently live, finding fresh fish easily is a big challenge making it compulsory to make those weekly visits to bigger fish markets and stock on. After trying a number of such markets, I have finally settled on one at Andheri (W) and I cannot thank enough to few of my friends for their suggestion and few others with whom I tag along.

So, next time you spot me with that big bag early Sunday morning, you know where I am heading to.....!! To the land of the fins and the gills.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


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