So I finally cracked and ate some meat last night a day after moving from Kovalam to Varkala. I just couldn’t resist the smell of the tandoori oven as I was passing one of the places on Varkala Cliff. So we had half a tandoori chicken, with naan and raita. The whole meat on a stick – or metal skewer, thing got me again; hey everyone’s got their vices. And it wasn’t bad, a little bit medium rare in the middle for me, but I’ve lived to tell the tale. It’s not really meat anyway is it, not real meat. How many people have you heard say,
– I’m a vegetarian (but I eat chicken sometimes), Pussies.
Anyway, I’ve spent the last week devoting myself to the art of eating fish, and I’ve eaten a lot. In fact I never ate as much, and I’ve never sat thinking I can’t eat anymore after that fish meal. Fish being expensive, portions are never on the extra large side.
So day one we ate tuna, a whole tuna. A 2lb tuna. Head off and split down the middle and covered with a paste made with curry leaves, tomato, shallots, chill and lots of garlic, wrapped in banana leaves and baked. Tuna is great to eat whole because the bones are like toothpicks, so you never spend ages picking through till you get a bit of fish to eat. Also we had a big chunk of blue marlin, which I’m sure is endangered – better eat them now while they’re still available then. The fillet was grilled lightly and then covered in garlic and butter, fine for me.
Next night we decided to only order one fish, and opted for some barracuda, in a masala sauce. Four big chunks of fish were cooked in a really dark rich sauce with loads of onion and tomato. The great thing about this was the fish was just done, still moist and a little pink in the middle.
Tempted by the prawns we had prawn curry the next night. Quick cooked, huge tigers, in sweet, spicy, sour, gravy. Heads still on I could suck the saucy coral right out of them. All the curry here seems to be a bit fresher and spicier than the usual north Indian fare we get at home. Curry leaves are also used in everything. To go with this we had a whole tandoori grilled grouper, a big fish but most of it was head. It’s a real fatty fish, with juicy chunks of flesh all around the head, especially the cheeks for those who like to get a bit messy.
The last night in Kovalam was more of the same. A whole tandoori snapper, which wasn’t nearly as nice as the grouper, and a butter and garlic fillet of kingfish. The kingfish was really good, like a more delicate tuna – More moist, but the flavour not as strong.
So that’s it, my fish adventure. The next couple of nights in Varkala the fish just didn’t look as nice so we went for the veggie curries, which were mediocre at best. The only real complaint I could have was that the fish was always a bit overcooked, and being honest I could probably cook it better myself, but at £1.50 to £2 a portion, its probably the best fish I’ve ever had.