Nothing fishy about it

In an age of instant gratification,it is surprising that many seafood lovers still have reservations about consuming seafood during the monsoon.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published:July 11, 2009 4:15 am

In an age of instant gratification,it is surprising that many seafood lovers still have reservations about consuming seafood during the monsoon. The reasoning we have been given is that since there is no fresh local seafood,the seafood served at restaurants must be stale,unhygienic and risky.

While this might be true for any establishment with dubious quality standards,the risk of food poisoning in such a restaurant would probably be there throughout the year. But eating seafood at credible restaurants needn’t have to wait for a few more months. While local fishing may be banned and risky for fishermen in coastal areas,it does still happen and there is still fresh fish available in trickles.

“There’s nothing wrong in having fish during the monsoons. It’s a misconception that it is not really safe to consume seafood during the rains,” says Chef Nilesh Limaye of Trikaya. Seconding him,Chef Pravin Sinha of Tiger Trail Restaurant at the Royal Orchid Central says any fish is fit for consumption,if preserved well.

“Any fish is good enough for consumption if it is preserved at a standard temperature of minus 18 degree Celcius. Since it’s difficult to source fresh fish during the monsoon,the preservation of fish at the right temperature is crucial,” says Sinha. “After the fish has thawed,judging from its texture,a decision can be made whether it is fit for consumption or not,” he adds.

From a consumer point of view,Samira Nambiar,an engineer,sums it up when she says that although she does not stop having seafood in the monsoon,she does get choosy about where she has it.

“Fresh seafood is a class apart and frozen seafood is not a patch on it. But the same holds true for any kind of meat also. I won’t say no to succulent New Zealand lamb chops,only because they have been frozen and imported,” she adds.

Chef Sinha of Tiger Trail says it is important to judge whether to have fish or not by taking a look at its texture. However,he adds a rider as he elaborates that,“With some fish,you can make out its freshness from the texture. However,with other varieties of fish such as shell fish and crayfish,it’s very difficult to do so because they may appear fresh on the surface but may not actually be fresh and fit for consumption.”

So,the next time you have a craving for seafood and the monsoon threatens to act as a dampener,take heart and make a careful selection. And then go right ahead and make your favourite seafood preparation,without qualms or hesitation. As they say,make hay while it rains..!

In deep waters
* Monsoon being the breeding season for fish,its consumption declines
* If preserved at minus 18 degree Celsius,fish is fit for consumption
* With some varieties,like shell fish and crayfish,it’s more difficult to establish freshness
* Freshness and quality of fish can be judged from its texture,once thawed

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