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 Post subject: Dodanduwa ‘Jaadi’
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:14 pm 
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Dodanduwa ‘Jaadi’

by Bandu de Silva

Some believe that the Portuguese introduced Jaadi to Sri Lanka. ‘Jaadi’ was among the items that the fishermen had to supply to the King’s court as we note from Portuguese Tombos.

Curing ‘Jaadi’ is a special art. It has to be done carefully. The fish has to be free of water. The migrants used, namely, salt and ‘Goraka’ have to be placed in layers. The fish, specially ‘Kumbalawa’ are slightly opened up on the side in those places. The barrels have to be sealed that no foreign matter could get in. The barrels are not opened till the fish is cured. After several months in shady place. The closing of the barrels in important.

Today, ‘Jaadi’ has virtually disappeared as a popular ‘rice-puller.’ Even the memory of the popular Baila, ‘Arapya Lucia Dora- Jaadi kade Jema mama’ of 1956 vintage has disappeared from memory. Modern methods of deep freezing and refrigeration maybe the cause for it. Another reason could be the virtual non-availability of the real smoke-dried ripened ‘Goraka’ in industrial quantities. What is sold in shops today is forced-ripened and forced –coloured (stained), fruits of the tree occasionally not without passion fruit peels and other substitutes in it. One is not even sure of the hygienic quality and the efficacy of the modern substitute.

'Jaadi' for which Dodanduwa was well known till the middle part of the last century.Jaddi Mudalais from Dodanduwa who went across to Tutucorin (Tuutukuddiya), in boats with wooden barrels and workmen to cure 'Jaddi' on that coast and bring back the cured stuff in sealed barrels to Dodanduwa. these Mudalalis owned land on the Malabar coast. These Mudalalis, among whom Prof.Vinie Vitarana mentions the Patuvata Vitana family and another, were owners of Yatra Donies for transport of merchandise.

Dodanduwa also became a well known dock yard where larger boats were built. (V. Vitatana: Oru and Yatras, 1992). The timber came from nearby Kanneliya forest reserve and villages around. Wal-del, a light-wooed large tree with long trunks. Vitarana mentions the Manawadu family as superior carpenters. There were others like Uttamawadu, Wadumestri, Malliyawadu and Manikkuwadu, just to mention a few. Vitarana mentions Sir James Peiris’ ancestors among the rich boat owning people of Dodanduwa.

Dodanduwa became the distribution point for both ‘Jaadi’ and imported tiles in the south as far as Hambantota. ‘

Jaddi’ from Tutucorin was preferred by the people because it was tastier. It was higher priced than that from Mannar (Mannaram Jaadi), which was good enough for the poorer villagers.

The most popular salted fish among the village folk was ‘Kumbalawa’. Next came ‘Bolla’ and ‘Hurulla’ (a kind of Sardine). ‘Thora’ (Seer). ‘Jaadi’ was a specialty availability in season, especially during the Sinhalese New Year time. These barrels of ‘Thora Jaadi’ were cured over a longer period in sealed barrels and opened only on the eve of the Sinhalese New Year.

‘Mannaram Jaadi’ was considered inferior not because of any difference in the fish, but, I believe, because of one of the materials which went into the curing of ‘Jaadi’, namely, ‘Goraka’ (Garcinia Cambodge), being a product of a hill country tree, was not so easily available in the Mannar district. So, there was less use of ‘Goraka’ there for curing which made the difference in quality. On the other hand, ‘Goraka’ (Korakpulli in Tamil), was easily found in the Malabar coast, the hills of Mysore and Nilgiris being home for this tree. [According to John Shortt, who wrote in ‘Tropical Agriculturist,’ July 1884, ‘Coorkapalli’ is a different tree to the Gambodge. He speaks of a tree ‘Gorecenea Pictoria’ found in Mysore, Wynaad and Ceylon].

There are two different varieties of ‘Goraka’ trees in the jungle lands. One was the normal ‘Goraka’ tree we know. The other was what was called ‘Rata Goraka’ which was conical in shape with big long leaves and bearing yellow coloured round fruits (unlike the other variety), which resembled a peach. These trees were very rare indeed.

Curing of the fish on Malabar coast was done by people who went from Dodanduwa who were engaged in the task of curing alone and not pre-occupied with fishing itself.

Goraka’ is used in curing ‘Jaadi’ as well as in making the special fish dish called ‘Ambulthiyal’ which is a southern specialty in Sri Lanka. As Dr. C. G. Uragoda observes, there is a scientific explanation for the use of ‘Goraka’ in curing fish and in cooking fish. Writing on the scientific explanation (See C. G. Uragoda: Traditions of Sri Lanka), of the use of ‘Goraka’ in traditional fish curing, he says, quoting Amarasinghe & Jayaweera that ‘Goraka’ inhibits the growth bacteria normally found in the fish because of the presence of tartaric acid in the smoke-dried fruit. The spoilage rate is moderated by its use.

In the ‘Ambulthiyala’ preparation, the process of cooking fish adding liberal spray of powdered ‘Goraka’ or paste for ten minutes at 100C degrees, results in detoxification of 80 percent of histamine content. At times, a 90 per cent reduction had been achieved. (Prof.U.Samarajeewa & Dr.S.Gunaratne). The use of Karapincha (curry leaves) too has its effect, it being a recommended remedy for bowel diseases including amoebic dysentery. These results show that our traditional fish curing and cooking methods are not without a scientific basis.

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