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Cultured korameenu takes sheen off fish curry

Cultured korameenu takes sheen off fish curry
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Nellore fish curry with bullseye snakehead fish (Channa marulius), locally known as korameenu, a non-vegetarian\'s delight in many parts of Andhra Pradesh and specially cooked in the district, is gradually losing the race to locally cultured fish which is believed to have contaminants.

Nellore: Nellore fish curry with bullseye snakehead fish (Channa marulius), locally known as korameenu, a non-vegetarian's delight in many parts of Andhra Pradesh and specially cooked in the district, is gradually losing the race to locally cultured fish which is believed to have contaminants.

Alongside brinjal, snake gourd, ladyfingers, pumpkin, bottle gourd, beans and leafy vegetables, it seems korameenu has also joined the list of contaminated food items, giving jitters to the foodies. In fact, the fish grown in natural flow of water tastes good but the cultivated one in ponds with antibiotics and chemicals is not suitable. Health-conscious people have begun showing less interest in the Nellore delicacy prepared by the cultured fish.

This fish prefers deep clear lakes and rivers with rocky or sandy areas inhabiting stagnant water in canals, lakes and swamps with submerged aquatic vegetation.

Though it does not have vital vitamins, it has good amounts of protein with existence of good fats. Adult snakeheads require surface oxygen to meet total respiratory requirements and are basically predatory in nature, with fishes and others comprising the majority of its diet.

River Pennar has rich biodiversity and the coastal people prepare the curry with the fish for exceptional flavour and taste. Of late, cage culture and pond culture has witnessed increasing usage of antibiotics to ensure health and growth of the fish for good yield.

“We don’t find taste in korameenu for a few years now since they are being grown in lakes and ponds under controlled conditions. We like the fish naturally grown in flow of sweet water in the river and hence the taste and natural aroma is appetising.

Even hoteliers are using the cultured fish for preparing fish curry which is little acceptance by the customers,” said SK Jabid of Mothalu village in Indukurpet mandal who loves the local recipe. Korameenu fish is being currently grown in around 30 tanks under the Pennar delta area.

The price of korameenu is expensive when compared to other varieties. It is available in marketranging from Rs 300 to Rs 350 a kg which is not accessible to common man for preparing the mouth-watering dish.

The recipe is made with old tamarind or raw mangoes that give special taste to the recipe. Majority of the people in the district prepare the dish and store a portion of it for the next day for increased taste as it soaks in tamarind juice or raw mango pulp. Some people also use green tamarind or tender tamarind leaves in the recipe.

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