Among the obscure delicacies of Goan cuisine is frog leg soup. Very few Goans have heard of frog leg soup, and even fewer have ever tasted it.
I never tasted frog leg soup myself, but a kid once told my friend Cyril that it tasted much like chicken soup. He also told Cyril how he went about catching frogs.
Now, Cyril and I weren’t yearning to taste frog leg soup, but we were very eager to put to the test the trap that the kid described for catching frogs. The trap comprised a lasso made out of the petiole of a palm leaf with a running noose at the thin end, and another petiole, with a small clump of human hair dipped in coconut oil, tied to the end.
So, one fine evening in late August, at the end of the monsoons, Cyril and I set out to get our frog. We were followed by another kid who never seemed to get along with us, but always wanted to know what we were up to.
The first step was to check out the vau (the open storm water drains that ran through the village) for a meaty frog. It wasn’t too long before we found one at water level near a crevice in the bare masonry walls of the vau. As we sat on the ledge looking down at the frog, it instinctively retreated into the crevice upon seeing us, and that’s when we set the trap.
Cyril lay down flat on his stomach with his shoulders over the ledge, and lowered the ‘lasso’, which he held in his left hand, so as to position the loop around the crevice. Then, with his right hand, he wiggled the other baited petiole to lure the frog out of the crevice. When the frog reached out for the oily hair, Cyril flicked the lasso… but failed to snare the frog by its neck. We came to know later that one had to wait until the frog was far enough out of the hole to be able to snare it by one or both of its hind legs.
Anyway, with the satisfaction of knowing that the snare was workable, I said to Cyril that we should call it a day. But Cyril had another idea; he wanted to test the lasso on our curious onlooker.
As we sat on the parapet of the stone bridge spanning the vau chatting idly about sundry village topics, the other kid closed in to eavesdrop on our conversation. This is when Cyril sneaked the lasso up the kid’s shorts and yanked it! Cyril was oh so close to snaring his prey that the fellow jumped off his feet and yelled some choice Goan swear words at my cowboy.
It’s too bad that Cyril failed in roping buddy’s little critter. Had he done so, it would have ended our escapade on a high note … like a high C.