Green Frogs

September 16, 2009

Both before he was captured and during his first months at Changi, my father made frequent notes about the food eaten by the local Chinese, Indian and Malay populations.  It is not clear to me how he gained this information after his capture though there was a good deal of freedom of movement during the early weeks at Changi and from what he told me there was always a level of contact with local inhabitants.  That was how he obtained his writing materials, for instance.

Whether the dishes he noted were at all representative I cannot say.  It seems to me that his selection probably tended to the colorful and exotic, at least from his perspective.  But that would have been natural enough.

Here is a dish eaten by the Chinese in Singapore, though the recipe is a little short on detail.  It was probably written around May or June, 1942.

Green Frogs

These frogs are about 1 1/2 inches long and occur fairly commonly in Malaya in flat grassland which is low lying and although subject to periodic flooding does not remain waterlogged for very long.  The frogs are nocturnal in their habits.

The frogs are eaten chiefly by the Chinese population and parties of men go out with torches at night to collect them.  About 200 of the frogs make a meal for about 4 people.

Only the hind legs & portions of the rump are consumed.  The frogs are cut up when they are alive.

The method of preparing the frogs is uncertain.  The result, however, is said to be very similar to young pigeon.

(Book C, page 230.)

As was noted on the next page, both wild and domesticated pigeon were eaten.  Wild pigeon were “commonly shot” in Malaya while domesticated pigeon were killed after they had left the nest but before they had laid their second batch of eggs.  Wild pigeon were “excellent prepared as pigeon pie.”

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