Black rat, roasted
After our brief Q&A session with Lizzie Collingham last week, I wanted to provide another taste of the delicious and fascinating recipes woven into her new book, Curry. Having already given out Collingham’s favorite recipe from the book, green coriander chutney, I’m strangely delighted to post the much more esoteric dish that she mentioned last week: roasted black rat. Black rat was a favorite delicacy in the court of King Someswara who ruled southern India in the 12th century.
Roast black rat from the kitchens of King Somesvara III, Chalukyan king, 1126 to 1138.
The rats which are strong black, born in the fields and river banks are called maiga; these are fried in hot oil holding with the tail till the hair is removed; after washing with hot water, the stomach is cut and the inner parts are cooked with amla [sour mango] and salt; or the rat is kept on iron rods and fired on red hot coal, till outer skin is burnt or shrinks. When the rat is cooked well, salt, jeera [cumin] and sothi [a flour made from lentils] are sprinkled and relished.
from Royal Life in Manasollasa by P. Arundhati (Sundeep Prakashan, Delhi, 1994).
For the intrepid foodies out there, a quick search on google didn’t turn up any black rat vendors, and I don’t think it is likely to be considered a “heritage food” anytime soon.