A view of the river from Kottayam town
Meenachil , one of the important rivers originating from the Western Ghats, plays an important role in the lives of people living in Kottayam district of Kerala. The 78 kilometres long river flows through various places in Kottayam district, finally joins the vembanad lake at Kumarakom, one of the famous tourist destinations in Kerala.
The river has got a ritual importance , as it hosts the Arattu , the holy bathing of the deity in connection with the temple festivals at various places on both sides of the river. Every year we celebrate the Karthika festival of Kumaranalloor temple, and attend the Arattu ( fortunately only five minutes walk from our home) which is really a wonderful experience.
Still country boats are used in some places for ferry services across Meenachil river, as it was the only means for transportation in olden days.
In this busy world, where people could not find enough time to spend even with their family members, it is a common sight that people gathering near the Meenachil river banks, to make evenings lively with simple chats by sharing stories as well as experiences after each day’s hectic work.
An evening chat under the great Ficus tree
Like any other people living near river banks, natives of Kottayam are also very fond of fishing. Both grown ups as well as children enjoy fishing. The most common fish available in the Meenachil river is the Karimeen or the Green chromide, which is declared as the state fish of Kerala.
A Karimeen caught on our fishing rod
Try this simple Karimeen fry:
Preparation and cooking time : 45 minuets
- Karimeen (medium size) One
- Chilly powder : One tea spoon
- Pepper powder: One tea spoon
- Turmeric powder: ¼ tea spoon
- Garlic paste: ¼ tea spoon ( optional )
- Salt: As needed
- Oil for frying: As needed
Mix all the ingredients other than fish and oil, to make a paste.
Clean the Karimeen after removing the fins and scales, make some shallow scars vertically, apply the chilly paste evenly on both sides and keep aside for half an hour. Heat oil in a pan, put the marinated fish carefully in it and keep on a medium flame till it becomes brown in colour, and repeat the same for the reverse side also. Drain out the excess oil and serve hot with rice, bread or roti.
A lot of other recipes can be made with the Karimeen, that I will share with you later.