26 May 2020

Kshemakutuhalam chapter 7, part 2 – good food, healthy life.

In the last write up we had got a small peep into the fish preperations explained in the seventh chapter of Kshemakutuhalam. So going further, we can see so many varieties of fish and their cooking methods.

1. Fish stuffings/fillings – here fish meat pieces which are finely chopped, must be steamed with buttermilk. Later, it must be crushed/grinded well. We can mix this grinded product with quantity sufficient, fresh ginger, asafoetida, salt, jeera, black pepper and a sour ingredient like lemon. Later it can be cooked in ghee and top it up with seasoning. The filling thus prepared can be used for various dishes.

2. Cooking fish by a method called “putapaaka” – here, scales on the fish are removed carefully. It is washed well and covered with banana leaf. This is smeared with clean mud as an outer coating and baked underground in “putapaaka” method. This fish is removed from its covering. It is smeared with paste of rice flour with jeera and again shallow fried in a pan with oil and spices of your choice like black pepper etc.

3. Later in the chapter, the author describes about the cooking methods of various varieties of fishes. Most of names mentioned are either unrecognisable or controversial. There are some like, maragala fish, rohita fish, paalaashi fish, paatini fish, manguri fish, gundi fish etc…. Individual properties of the same also have been mentioned. Different effect of these fishes on different doshas have also been told very clearly. But according to the author, the best among all fishes is the meat of rohita fish. It reduces vata, doesn’t increase pitta. It is said to be good for the heart and very nutritious. Well, now it’s important to know which this fish is. While some books compare it to the red carp of fresh water, there is need to collect more information about it.

4. Some common qualities of fish – commonly, all fishes provide good strength. They are aphrodisiac and heavy for digestion. Generally all fishes are hot in potency.

5. Some tips to be kept in mind while eating fish are – Fishes that originate in large lakes more strengthening . Hence they have to be preferred when compared to fishes of small ponds.

Also, fishes those live in lakes are better in shishira season and the ones in well are better consumed in Hemanta season. On the other hand, fishes which originate in rivers and large lakes must be consumed in summer and spring. In autumn, it’s better to prefer fishes from water falls.

Thus, with this information the author, concludes the chapter. He again also points out that, the descriptions he has given need not only be conclusive. Cooks can develop their own methods of cooking meat and fish according to their wisdom, experience and knowledge.

From next article we shall start the description of plant based products. I’m sure this would be more intriguing and popular among the vegetarians and vegans.

Stay tuned !!!

Happy time !!!!

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