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Friday, September 15, 2006

Irwin, India and the Stingray

The other day, the Animal Planet channel aired a 'marathon special' tribute to Steve Irwin that lasted for 24 hours and I managed to watch a good part of it.

Meanwhile, I have been following newspaper coverage related to Irwin's death in a tragic accident.

Here is one article that I found particularly interesting:

A slice of ‘Irwin’s killer’ for Rs 30

Mumbai, September 7

For millions of animal lovers who watched the antics of Steve Irwin on Animal Planet, stingray may be a villain that claimed his life. But in Mumbai’s fish markets, slices of stingray are being sold for between Rs 20 and Rs 30.

“We cut up its tail and clean the fish thoroughly as soon as we catch it,” says Anita Koli, a fishmonger at the market in Central Mumbai’s Dadar. The fishing season is at present on and at least two vendors were selling stingray or ‘pakhad’, as it is called in Marathi, at the market. “There is not much demand for ‘pakhad’ as this fish has a funny taste,” says Koli.

Fishmongers say chefs from the big speciality restaurants buy pakhad and prepare it in a variety of ways. According to Ratna Koli, another fishmonger here, pakhad is filleted and each slice sold separately.

Since it does not move fast, pakhad has to often be kept in cold storage. Rather than being fried in a ‘rava’ batter like pomfrets or kingfish, pakhad is smothered in a rich coconut and tomato gravy to mask its taste.

Though the stingray available off the Western Coast is smaller in size, the fish catch may go up to 300 kg, according to fishmongers. They are, however, surprised that Irwin was killed by its sting. “It is poisonous and the skin turns blue,” says Ratna, though she has never heard of people dying following contact with it in India.

Inquries at popular Mumbai seafood restaurants like Apoorva and Trishna revealed that stingfish or pakhad is never on their menu. “Of course, if anyone places an order we can prepare any fish,” says Ramesh Karkera of Mahesh Lunch Home in downtown Mumbai.


1 comment:

Sidhusaaheb said...

it’s quite ironical to think that the great crocodile hunter has been killed by an animal that s also edible (usulally it’s we who kill our food not backwards). I am tempted to try out a stingray once… wonder how it tastes (funny can mean a lot of things:D)
Eric | Homepage | 09.16.06 – 7:58 am | #


It is very ironic indeed!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 09.16.06 – 10:01 am | #