Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More

Thekkady Tribal Cooking Video: Tribal Chicken Curry + Tribal Fish Barbeque + Ragi Porridge


A steaming hot plate. Dennis is on a fast. After tasting the gravy, he say he will cancel the fast. Good morning. We are in Thekkady. We have already done two videos in Thekkady. We did those for Food N Travel only. Yesterday and day before, we were in Thekkady itself. We are staying in Woodnote Resort. Last time when we stayed here, we went for Gavi trip. This time, we went for a bamboo rafting trip. We saw several other attractions too. Today, we are going for tasting tribal food. We had told Dennis about tribal food video much before. When Mark Wiens came to Kerala, he wanted to capture some tribal food videos. But that time, it was not possible to arrange immediately. So we couldn’t do it here then. That time, we did tribal food video in Ponmudi Trivandrum. That video will come after Mark releases his video. As Dennis has arranged for tribal food video here, I am also trying it. We will to Wayanad and other places too. Now, this is a tribal food from Mannan tribe of Thekkady. After driving for a while, we came to another place in Kumily. This is a wonderful place. We had planned the cooking in Mannan tribal settlement. But we cannot do shoots there without the permission from forest authorities. So we have got some people from the Mannan tribal community for the cooking. They are people who know traditional tribal cooking. With them, we have come to this nice location. They have reached here. Now we have to start cooking. We have to walk inside cardamom plantations. These are all cardamom plants. Tall plants. These plants are very tall. Some have fruits too. They are making the fireplace ready for cooking. I asked them whether I can join. They said no. They told me to go and see a pond nearby. So let us see the pond and come back. By then, they will make things ready. Those trees that we see over there belong to Tamil Nadu forest division. I think we can walk till there. If possible, we will go. (Local dialect) Fish is there in this? Fishes are there, but snakes eat them all. We walked inside cardamom plantation, and reached the pond. It is pretty big pond paved with stones. They tried to grow fish in this, but snakes were eating them. So now they are not concentrating of fish farming. There are pepper plantations here. There are many other trees. And cardamom cultivated below the trees. Dennis got two oranges after trying hard. They are small, but might be sweet, right? If we walk for half an hour more from here, we can see Kumily very clearly from top. Let us see. Hope it doesn’t rain. It is cloudy now. I will tell after eating. You eat first. It is sour. If we had salt, it would have been wonderful. That’s alright. What is an orange without sourness? Yes, that too in Kerala. Come, let us go and see if the stove is ready for cooking. They get to see pigs and bisons in their settlement. Sambar deer also come. They are not allowed to capture any animal. It is against the rules of forest department. Even they don’t do such things. So we also shouldn’t do. This is the local chicken, not broiler or wild one. What is your name? Soman. Soman chettan is preparing chicken. What is your name? Latha. What about you? Thangamma. What is his name? Naayan So we have Naayan chettan, Soman chettan, Latha, and Thangamma for cooking. What is her name? Lakshmi Here fire is ready. This is for baking fish. The stove is for cooking. It is for traditional food. Is it cassava? It is a finger millet porridge. In Karanataka, they have round ball shaped recipe. Is this similar? Is it round in shape? No, it is not in round shape. We put it in boiling water, stir it well, and serve on a leaf. Let us see that. And eat that. When you eat this once, you will feel like eating again. We have to feel that. It has to be special. Yes, that is its specialty. And it is without much spices. When we make in the traditional way, we don’t add masala. We add just pepper and all. You don’t add spice powders, right? No, we don’t. Is this spinach? (Local dialect) We have to boil this. Okay, that is what she said. This is for chicken curry, coriander and chili powder. Coriander and chili powders are roasted on fire. Without oil. Now you will mix everything? They have slightly roasted the chili and coriander powders. Cooking is done using firewood and coconut shells. They used some sacks to carry the shells and wood. Don’t worry that they used plastic. They will take it back. They won’t leave it here and there. I told them not to. They won’t do that. They love nature. So they have kept the cooked spinach aside. The water which was used for boiling is also kept here. This is also a curry which can be taken with rice. So after taking out the spinach, the water left over can be used as a curry. They will crush tomatoes and to that water. If grinding stone was there, they would have ground it well. Now they are crushing with hands. They add onions also. Yes. Garlic, cummin, and pepper. All these are added to this. And turmeric also. (local dialect) We normally grind all these ingredients, if we have grinding stone. These are the fishes from the lake here. You know what this is? That curry water to which tomatoes were added. It was made in the water used for boiling spinach. Very tasty. We need nothing else for eating rice. Is bird’s eye chili added in this? Yes, bird’s eye chili and black pepper. Superb taste. On one side, chicken curry is being prepared. On another side, fish is being cooked. Both these ladies are cooking side by side. I want to share the details of each and every dish. But then the video will become too lengthy. So let us watch the preparation and move to taste section. See, on that side the tomato curry is boiling. It is a gravy with spinach and tomato. They will roast the fish after marinating with crushed pepper and garlic. They have used fresh green pepper freshly plucked from the plantation. Now they will wrap the fish in this leaf and roast it in fire. (local dialect) They added finger millet to the soup. It became thicker. It became like a curry. It is good. The thick texture of finger millet is good. Dennis is on a fast. After tasting the gravy, he say he will cancel the fast. He completed the fast too soon. So fish is roasted. Chicken curry is still on fire. The main item is still to be made. They call it Pullu Kinduka. It is something with finger millet. I don’t know more. Pullu Kinduka is going on now. They put finger millet powder in boiling water and make it into a paste. They have used a wooden hook so that the vessel won’t turn upside down. They are stirring it well using a wooden stick. The stick is called Idikkambu. Fish is done, Now this spinach leaves will be roasted. This is also on fire. She gave us a little chicken curry to taste. This has chicken pieces and gravy. Hot steaming chicken. Superb? Let me try a little bit with the gravy. And one piece of chicken. With the gravy and the onions. This is extremely delicious. Superb. It is very hot. And the taste of coriander is also there. No spices other than coriander, turmeric and chili powders. Only that much. And onions and ginger too. Tomatoes, pepper, and garlic. If we had cassava with this, it would have been awesome. As Dennis is on fast, he will taste only the gravy. I feel like breaking the fast. A steaming hot plate. In this, we have roasted fish. This is tilapia. One more variety is there, I took this one. I took tilapia fish. This is Kooral fish. Both these are from Thekkady Lake. There is something callled Ragi mudde in Karnataka. This is almost similar to that. It is to be eaten in a similar way. Spinach is of two types. This is roasted one. And this is boiled one. In the boiled one, they added salt and onions. In the roasted spinach, there is no salt. This is the chicken curry. What is it called? This is called Kosiyaanam. Or chicken curry. With this, I am trying this millet dish. I am dipping this in this gravy. This is the soup made from spinach water. Dip in this, and just gulp it down. Just swallow it, no need to chew. This is tasty.Spinach water soup is tasty. It has the sour taste of tomatoes. It is good. I already told about chicken. Very tasty. It has a good taste of coriander and chili. It is sufficiently hot. This is roasted fish. They roasted on set of fishes wrapped in leaf and one set directly over fire. This was directly roasted. They added just turmeric, salt, garlic, and pepper in this. This has a barbecued taste. As it was directly kept over fire, it is very tasty. This is roasted spinach. Not even salt added. It has no special taste. Maybe good for health. This has no special taste. But this has salt added to it. Actually, this is a variety food for good health. This gravy is tasty, and the chicken curry is wonderful. Their language is also different. We won’t understand it very much. Like our regional dialect, they have different dialects. They call their younger brother in law as Madhayan and elder brother in law as Pethan. Don’t take it in a wrong way, It is part of their language. We can see only the positive side of things. Why see negatives? So having food with our own people is a great happiness. New videos will keep coming. Keep smiling and always be with us. I haven’t finished eating. But I have to say bye because I have to relax and eat.

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