If Bolgatty-born Dharmajan has won hearts for his class act on screen, he’s on an entirely different outing now. He’s luring folks to his den, 'Dharmoo's Fish Hub' on Chittoor Road in Ayyappankavu, Kochi. The fish hub has been a long-time dream of the diminutive Dharmajan, the Mallu “saho” to many a suave “bro”.
Tutored in the school of hard knocks, he has come up the hard way. Not one to be swayed by the temporary glitter of tinseldom, Dharmajan was always ready to find ways and means of supporting himself. When hard days were upon the family, he even thought of putting up a temporary shack from where he could sell fish. After all, fish is food and fish is money.
Right now, the venture is being patronized by 11 youngsters, all friends, including the actor. The hub was not an impulsive decision. Dharmajan recounts the long days of hard work the team put in before the shop was even thought of. They used to take fish farms, especially prawn farms and other fish ventures on lease. The boys next turned to mushroom farming and got fishermen to log in on to their business. They now have live fish in two huge tanks.
Dharmajan says he had always harboured this wish of selling fish, fresh and straight from the waters.
How about his fish fetish? He’d love to dine on small fish like pallathi, nandan and kozhuva, which is a delightful spread, something which gen-now is out of sync with. The tastiest are those tiny prawns, hard to peel and clean, however. But now, he has people in the shop who are employed to peel, cut and clean the fish.
“Kidukkan pallathi curry” is what Dharmajan goes high on when he talks about entertaining friends. There’s nothing quite like this dish when friends and family drop in unexpectedly.
Here’s how to go about it as narrated by the actor. Cut and clean pallathi. Heat oil in a chatti (earthen pan) or any pan. When the oil turns hot add shallots and sauté well. Add in green chillies, turmeric powder and red chilly powder and continue sautéing. Soak kokum (kudampuli) in two glasses of water and extract its essence. Pour the water and its contents into the pan. Add salt and bring it to a boil. Mix in the fish and allow the gravy to thicken. The gravy should be really thick with the fish soaked on the gravy. Get … set … go! Kidukkan pallthi curry is ready.