Sunday, April 02, 2006

Charcoal Grilled Pomfret (With Traditional Indian Earthen Stove)

With summer here,its barbeque time..:).I bought a new traditional earthern cooking stove a couple of days ago, called "Kumpati" in Telugu, where charcoal and firewood is used as a medium to cook food and is a popular stove with our rural folks. Kumpati, to us , serves as our "charcoal barbaque" and used often during summers to prepare chicken tikka,tandoori chicken and paneer tikkas.Its not like a typical tandoor but can be used as one and does serve the purpose of a tandoor to a certain extent.Kumpati basically uses "charcoal" as a cooking medium and the intense heat created by the hot coal cooks the food or meat very quickly giving it a crisp exterior and a soft and juicy interior and serves as a homestyle tandoor.
This cooking stove made of clay,has a hole in the front to feed the fire and holes on the top which act as burners.We can cook food directly over the coal embers or place a cooking vessel or pan over the hot coals to cook the food.Since its made of clay it holds in the heat and the food is cooked quickly.

This morning when we went for our walk along the beach road,we found some fishermen hauling their nets with a fresh catch of fish.We bought some fresh white pomfrets and I cleaned and marinated them in the morning keeping in mind that we could have a barbaque dinner later in the evening.Satish (my husband) is a very willing and enthusiastic helper especially with barbaques.He helped light up the coals and got the "kumpati" all ready to cook the fish in a jiffy..:)
Charcoal Grilled Pomfret Recipe

4 big white pomfrets (chanduva or mackarel)
juice of one lemon
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
big pinch turmeric pwd
1 tsp red chilli pwd
1 tsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp cumin pwd
salt to taste

Wash, clean and dry the fish. Make slits on the fish and marinate it in salt and lime juice for 10 minutes.Meanwhile mix together ginger-garlic paste,turmeric pwd,chilli pwd,coriander pwd and cumin pwd and apply this paste to each of the fish and keep aside for atleast 2-3 hours.You can adjust the spiceness of the marinade according to your choice.I marinated the fish for around 10 hours and refrigerated it.Remember fish or meat marinated over a longer period tastes best as it absorbs the flavors well.
Half an hour before you actually want to eat your dinner,get your kumpati (stove) up and ready by lighting up the charcoal and you should have red hot burning embers of coal like shown in the picture.

Grease a grill or hot plate with big holes (like the one shown in the picture) and place the marinated fish (brush oil over the fish before placing it on the hot plate) over it and place the hot plate over the kumpati or hot stove.
Let it cook for 3-4 minutes and then turn the fish on the other side and let it cook for another 3-4 minutes or till golden brown. The real secret to grilling these pomfrets is to not overcook them.Watch closely as you cook the fish ...grill hot and fast and take it off the heat as soon as you can.
You have a perfected cooked moist fish with a mellow smoky flavor ready to be devoured.Serve hot with slices of lemon wedges, salad and chutney.

Note:This fish tastes best when cooked in a tandoor or on a charcoal barbecue or kumpati.However if these methods of cooking are'nt available then use a grill or bake in the oven.

The spices used in the marination for cooking the pomfret differs region wise and the marinade for this particular fish is one which is popular in our home.I use different marinades using yogurt, garam masala and other spices each time I cook fish and hope to share them in my future posts.

Grilling/roasting over charcoal heat or tandoori cooking calls for very little fat or oil and the smoky flavor enhances the taste of the food cooked.So if you are want to cook some low calorie foods,investing in a grill or home tandoor does make sense.So all you weight watchers out there,here’s a very simple,low calorie,healthy,flavorful seafood Indian appetizer (cooked with minimal fat) that you will find hard to resist..:).

Some of the other seafood recipes I blogged earlier are Andhra Chepa Pulusu (Fish cooked in tangy gravy), Chepa Vepudu (Fish Fry), Spiced Fish Fillets and Royyalu Iguru (Prawns Curry)
and Royyalu Mungakaaya Kura (Prawn curry cooked with Drumsticks).



Lakshmi said...

chustu vuntene tinnala annipistundi

KrishnaArjuna said...

Another great dish from you!! I love the tandoori grill idea!

Santhi said...

they look good enough to eat sailu :):):):)

Meeta said...


This is just great. We just started our grill season here in Germany and I was looking for alternatives to meats. Low and behold you have provided me with a great alternative to try and test on my blog What's For Lunch Honey?. I have a hard jury giving their verdict on the meals I prepare. Hope you all stop by.

My other blog for mums who have to prepare lunch boxes everyday!
The Daily Tiffin

Tanuja said...

cool idea sailu nee kumpati chudagane i remember my jejemma(grandny's mom) she use to cook dhal on that using the clay pot when she serves that dhal it was so yummy, but barbeque idea is excellent i will tell my mom to do this.thanks for the idea.

Kitchenmate said...

I love this makeover idea, too impressive. I love to grab a fish :)... great post:)

Luv2cook said...

That looks so good. It is amazing to see how things make a "comeback". I remmeber my grandmother, using kumpati for regular cooking :). The fish looks yummy!

Lakshmi said...

hi sailu,
today I tried out one of your recipe.....bagara anda masala.
curry baga kudrindi, just take a look.
thanks .

Ashwini said...

I want that! Both the fish and the tandoor. wish we could get it here

BDSN said...

Hey sailu...

Ur kumpati looks neat....and the pictures are really nice...

RP said...

Looks really delicious sailu. I bet it tasted wonderful.

Nandita said...

This is an amazing gadget, i too love rustic gadgets like those-brings in the real ethnic flavours.

I suppose i can grill veggies in that too!!


Puspha said...

Never came across such gadgets. Those fishes r so inviting. Wish I could sink my teeth in them. :)

Melissa CookingDiva said...

This post is great! I love the photos of the oven, and the fish. BTW, I am not sure that I've had it. Where does it come from?

sailu said...

Melissa,the fish we are discussing here is the "white pomfret" which is available in most parts of the world(its available in abundance in our coastal city of Vizag) and this recipe is a low fat family favorite and grilled over charcoal.The marinades differ region wise according to one's choice..some are yogurt based,herb infused (use of mint and coriander leaves),spice based (garam masala) etc..

Thank you guys for all your nice comments..:)

Anonymous said...

Oh! WOW!I saw this at a chinese store and had a good mind to buy it,only If I knew how to use it! I love all this clay oven and traditional stuff. This looks really really good. Thanks a lot!

I am so jealous you got fresh fish right from the net!!!