Friday, June 9, 2017

Food in Sangam Literature 4: Meat in Sangam Tamil Cuisine

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What is Meat?

What is meat?  Up until 13th century 'meat' referred to all food. It may have derived from the Old English word for food. mete "food, item of food" (paired with drink),. Proto Germanic word 'mati' means 'food.' The present narrower meaning of meat is the flesh of an animal that is eaten as food. We have seen that early human have hunted and killed animals for food. The meaning of the term meat is becoming broader as there are narrower terms to specify for the flesh of herbivorous grazing animals: 1. Meat from cows: beef; 2. Meat from calf: veal; 3. Meat from pigs: pork; 4. Meat from sheep: mutton; and 5. Meat from deer: venison

Dressing and Cutting of Animal Carcass: Subsequent to exsanguination, the animal carcass is dressed. People will remove the head, feet, hide, excess fat, viscera and offal and retain only bones and edible muscle. Except sheep, the cattle and pig carcasses will be split in half along the mid ventral axis and divided into two pieces.  Then the animal carcass will be further cut into nine pieces: the neck, two front quarters, the loin and rib sections of the spine, two sides of ribs, and two hind quarters. Subsequent to this either the bone will be removed or leave the bone intact to cut bone-in-steak and roasts. 

PC: Wikimedia Commons
Meat comprise muscle, fat, bone and connective tissue. Concentration of myoglobin in muscle fibre differentiates meat into 'red' and 'white.' Exposure of myoglobin to environment (oxygen) develops reddish oxymyoglobin. So lean meat, the edible and nutritive portion, appear red due to richness of myoglobin. However richness of myglobin or redness depends  on species, animal age, and fibre types. Lean meat comprise narrow muscle fibres, 

Lamb Meat PC: Wikimedia Commons
Example beef (cherry red), mutton (light pink to red), Pork (grey to pink), veal (light to red), venison (dark red). White meat comprise more broad fibres. Example poultry meat (white). Scientifically edible meat is predominantly the muscle tissue of an animal. The biochemical composition of most animal muscle roughly comprise 75% water, 20% protein, and 2.5 - 5.0% intramuscular fat, 1,2% carbohydrates, and 2.3% other soluble non-protein substances i.e., nitrogenous compounds, such as amino acids, and inorganic substances such as minerals. 

Connotation of Meat 

Culturally the word meat do have different ideas to different people about what constitutes meat. Some consider it in a restricted sense to the flesh of mammals. For some other birds do not fall under this purview. However number of people will consider poultry as meat, but may further qualify it as "poultry meat" i.e., flesh of "domesticated birds" and not any birds hunted from the jungle and hunted birds are known as "game birds." Whether the term meat also include fish? Why not fish be called as meat?Some vegetarians eat small fish varieties, since they do not consume living organisms.

The argument put forward by meat eaters states that humans are omnivores. The early humans that consumed most meat were the Neanderthals, who lived in Europe many thousand years ago. The pre-historic human ancestors ate meat,  first raw then cooked.  Eating meat was essential for human evolution.  Eating meat made us human. They are anatomically suited to eat both animals and plants.  It is not in human nature to eat an exclusively plant-based diet. Meat has played a key role in human diets, along with starch or carbohydrates provided by fruits, tubers and grains. Therefore, they should be allowed to eat meat. However human can manage without meat and can obtain protein from milk or, legumes.

Ethics of Eating Meat

Vegetarianism is professed as a way of life in a number of religions that originated in ancient India (Vedic Brahminism, Jainism and Buddhism).. However only a minority have adopted vegetarianism as an expression of their faith. In Jainism vegetarianism is mandatory for everybody, In Vedic Brahminism and Buddhism it is professed in their religious scriptures. Relatively, within Judaism, Christianity and Islam vegetarian diet is not professed in the religious canons. 

The Quaran expressively forbids carcasses from animals which die naturally, blood, carcasses of pigs and porcine animals and animals dedicated to other than Allah (dedicated gods of other religions) that are haram as opposed to halal. Sikhism disallows meat of slowly slaughtered animals. Sikhism also disallows eating any meat.

On 26th May 2017, Government of India imposed a nationwide ban on the sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter. Subsequently the Madras High Court stepped in to suspend the order for four weeks. It further asked government to give reasons as to why its order should not be scrapped. Following this the High Court of Rajasthan recommended that cow should be declared as 'National Animal of India.' The court also suggested that cow slaughter should be viewed as a crime and punishment could be three years imprisonment to a life term. The issue has snowballed into a national disputation and contention. Protests and rallies are taking place everywhere in India.  The cow slaughter issue should really have been between animal rights enthusiasts as well as Hindu ethicists (cow worshipers) and beef eaters and not between Hindus and Muslims. Beef eating should "have been a matter of choice, not a case vegetarian values being forcibly stuffed down the throat of the people. What the people should not in any way interest the government." 

Of course, spread of Jainism and Buddhism in Tamil Nadu during post Sangam period religion played vital role in non-violence and placed emphasis on vegetarianism, The ancient and medieval Vedic religious texts do not explicitly prohibit eating animal meat, but they do strongly recommend ahimsa or non-violence against all life forms including animals. Saint Tiruvalluvar, a Tamil poet who lived in 1st century B.C., had composed Tirukkural in Tamil language. This ancient text encouraged moderate diet as the virtuous life style. On non-violence and compassion 'towards animals the saint composed a whole chapter 'Spurning of meat (புலால் மறுத்தல்)' and the couplets from 251 to 260 condemns killing of animal for eating meat.  Couplet 251 states that  "how can one be possessed of kindness, who, to increase his own flesh, eats the flesh of other creatures." 

Sangam Period: Meat Culinary

There are abundant references to consumption of fish, mutton, beef, venison, meat in general in Sangam literature. In fact during Sangam period there was not much differentiation between vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. There was no religious restrictions on food habits. Sangam poets have used several words in the Sangam literature to denote meat of different varieties. Some of the words used are - Iraichi - இறைச்சி, Un - ஊன் (meat), Ulthal - ஊழ்த்தல், Kurai - குறை, Thasai - தசை (steak), Thadi  -  தடிThu - துPulal - புலால் (dried meat with smell / dried salt-fish), Pun - புன், Purali - புரளி, Ninam - நிணம்  (fat), Vidakkudai - விடக்குடை, Muri - முரி (removed flesh). Man has every right to raise and kill animals. In Sangam Tamill society the great majority of people ate beef, mutton, pork, fish, venison, or meat of any animal or bird when they can get it.  There was not any ethical objection.

Cooking of Meat

They have cooked meats of Eel (விலங்கு மீன்), Murrel fish (Channa striata) (வரால் மீன்), Mackerel fish (அயிலை மீன்), Tword fish (வாளை மீன்), Thark (சுறா மீன்), Tortoise (ஆமைக்கறி), crab (நண்டு இறைச்சி), Fowl (காட்டுக்கோழி இறைச்சி), Quail (காடை), Partridge (கவுதாரி), rams (செம்மறி  ஆடு இறைச்சி), Veal (பசுங்கன்று றைச்சி), Ox (எருது றைச்சி), Bison (கடமான்றைச்சி), porcupine (முள்ளம்பன்றி இறைச்சி), pork (பன்றியிறைச்சி), iguana (உடும்பு இறைச்சி),  rabbit (முயல் இறைச்சி), venison (மான் இறைச்சி) etc., These broths were mixed with white rice for their main course.

அயிலை துழந்த அம் புளிச் சொரிந்து
கொழு மீன் தடியொடு குறுமகள் கொடுக்கும்
(Akananuru 60: 4 - 6)
Young girl, wearing bright bangles,  brings food, white rice she got from bartering salt, mixed with a sauce of ayirai fish cooked in sweet tamarind sauce

மோட்டு இரு வராஅல் கோட்டுமீன் கொழும் குறை (Purananuru 399: 5-6)
 fatty big pieces of horned (shark)fish, large pieces of murrel (varal) fish

கவைத் தாள் அலவன் கலவையொடு பெறுகுவிர் (Sirupanatruppadai 193 - 195)
(Receive juicy Crab gravy)

... ... ...  அரித்த விளையல் வெங்கள்
யாமைப் புழுக்கின் காமம் வீட ஆரா
ஆரல் கொழுஞ் சூடு அம் கவுள் அடாஅ
(Purananuru 212: 3 Poet Pisiranthaiyar sang for Koperuncholan)
laborers drink filtered, strong, aged liquor and eat cooked tortoises without limits, their cheeks bulging with roasted eels,

மான் அதள் பெய்த உணங்கு தினை வல்சி
கானக் கோழியொடு இதல் கவர்ந்து உண்டென
(Purananuru 320: 11, Poet: Poet: Veerai Veliyanar,) 
She catches loud forest fowls and quails that come to eat the dried food set on a deer hide and cooks on fragrant sandalwood.

புள் ஊன் தின்ற புலவு நாறு கய வாய்
(Purananuru 324: 2, Poet: Poet: Alathur Kilar,) 
wild cat cubs, white, soft mouths smelling of flesh of birds they ate

வருவிசை தவிர்த்த கடமான் கொழுங்குறை
முளவுமாத் தொலைச்சிய பைந்நிணப் பிளவை
பிணவுநாய் முடிக்கிய தடியொடு விரைஇ
வெண்புடைக் கொண்ட துய்த்தலைப் பழனின்
இன் புளிக் கலந்து மா மோர்
(Malaipadukadam 175 -179, Poet: Perunkundroor Perunkousikanar Sang on King Nannan Venman,) 
big pieces of meat of bison killed ruining arrows, chopped up pieces of fatty meat of porcupines mixed with fuzzy-topped, sweet tamarind and buttermilk,

எயினர் தந்த எய்ம்மான் எறிதசைப்
பைஞ்ஞிணம் பெருத்த பசு வெள் அமலை
(Purananuru 177: 13 - 14, Poet: Poet Āvur Mulankilar sang for Mallikilan Kariyathi,) 

unlimited food is served in frond bowls made from large palmyra trees to those who come, white balls of rice is served with huge pieces of fresh, fatty porcupine meat brought by the hunters from the western land with dense forests

கான் உறை வாழ்க்கைக் கத நாய் வேட்டுவன்
மான் தசை சொரிந்த வட்டியும்
(Purananuru 33: 1-2 Poet Kovur Kilar sang to Cholan Nalankilli)
A forest hunter with fierce dogs presents venison

தான் உயிர் செகுத்த மான் நிணப் புழுக்கோடு
(Purananuru 152: 26 Poet Vanparanar sang for Valvil Ori)
 he gave us boiled fatty meat of deer that been killed in hunt

கேழல் பன்றி வீழ அயலது
ஆழல் புற்றத்து உடும்பில் செற்றும்
(Purananuru 152: 4-5 Poet Vanparanar sang for Valvil Ori)
 felled a boar with head like mortar, and embedded in a monitor iguana in a nearby deep hole

செம் புற்று ஈயலின் இன் அளைப் புளித்து
மென் தினை யாணர்த்து நந்தும் கொல்லோ
(Purananuru 119: 3 - 4)
Termites from red mounds were cooked
in curries with tamarind and sweet buttermilk,
and wealth from soft millet was abundant.
Beef Eating

கொழுப்பு ஆ தின்ற கூர்ம் படை மழவர்
(Akananūru 129, Kudavayil Keerathanar)
warriors with sharp weapons, wearing slippers eat fatty cows in palai desert terrains

தோகைத் தூவித் தொடைத்தார் மழவர்
நாகு ஆ வீழ்த்துத் திற்றி தின்ற
(Akananūru 249: 12-13, Nakkeeranar)
 slaying and eating flesh of young cows and the ground reeks with flesh,

வயவாள் எறிந்து வில்லின் நீக்கி
பயம் நிரை தழீஇய கடுங்கண் மழவர்
அம்பு சேண் படுத்து வன் புலத்து உய்த்தெனத்
தெய்வம் சேர்ந்த பராரை வேம்பில்
கொழுப்பு ஆ எறிந்து குருதி தூஉய்ப்
புலவுப் புழுக்குண்ட வான் கண் அகல் அறைக்
(Akananūru 309: 1-5,  Karuvur Kanthapillai Sathanar,) 
Not thinking that the huge forest is a place where killing with powerful swords and chasing with arrows shot afar from bows of harsh warriors who seize herds of cattle that yield benefits, who reach the neem tree in the forest where gods reside, kill a fat cow and throw its blood, eat a flesh meal in the palai (desert) vast land

களிறு பெறு வல்சிப் பாணன் கையதை
வள் உயிர்த் தண்ணுமை போல
(Natrinai 310: 9,  Paranar,) 
hollow like an empty thannumai drum
with sharp tones in the hands of a bard

Tannumai is a percussion instrument and the same was in use by Mazhavars of Marutam land. Tannumai player constructed this instrument  from the leather of calf. For this he obtained the leather by killing the calf and even ate the flesh. As a cattle protector, he used play the drum to drive away the cattle lifters (Aalai kalvar) and to warn them. The irony is he killed the calf and ate its flesh. Whether he is the cattle protector or cattle killer and beef eater?
... ... நல் ஏறு இரண்டு உடன் மடுத்து
வென்றதன் பச்சை சீவாது போர்த்த
திண் பிணி முரசம் ... ... ...
(Purananuru 288: 9, Poet: Kalathalaiyar,) 
A drum roars in the middle of the battlefield, covered
with unfinished leather of a victor after a fight among
two noble bulls, their horns with tips streaked with mud,

... ... நல் ஏறு இரண்டு உடன் மடுத்து
வென்றதன் பச்சை சீவாது போர்த்த
திண் பிணி முரசம் ... ... ...
(Purananuru 288: 9, Poet: Kalathalaiyar,) 
A drum roars in the middle of the battlefield, covered
with unfinished leather. For this two Bulls were selected and made them to fight. Of which, the winner's skin was used for the drum

1. Un (ஊன்)

Un (ஊன்) means flesh,muscle (தசை), meat animal food; body; fat; pieces of meat

Un (ஊண்) means food in common and includes entire meal. 

ஊன் துவை means meat paste in a semi-liquid colloidal suspension or aggregation. Meat, beans, spices are made into paste. Pastes are often highly spicy or aromatic. The paste is mixed with white rice and consumed by Sangam Tamils. 

“ஊனும் ஊணும் முனையின் இனிதெனப்
பாலிற் பெய்தவும் பாகிற் கொண்டவும்
அளவுபு கலந்து மெல்லிது பருகி
விருந்துஉறுத்து ஆற்ற இருந்தனெ மாக” 
                                      (Puranānuru 381, Poet Puranthinai Nannakanar sang for Karumpanur Kilan) 
When we were tired of eating meat (ஊன்) and food (ஊண்) along with sugar syrup mixed with rice in perfect proportions, enjoying his hospitality and having no hunger, we said to him, “Lord,we are leaving for our country with festivals!”

தன்னூன் பெருக்கற்குத் தான்பிறிது ஊனுண்பான்
எங்ஙனம் ஆளும் அருள். (Tirukural:251)
How can the wont of 'kindly grace' to him be known, Who other creatures' flesh consumes to feed his own?.

ஊனுடுத்தி யொன்பதுவாசல்வைத்து (தேவா. 29, 1)

ஊனமுதம் விருப்புற்று (திருவாச. 15, 3)

2. குறை

Kurai (குறை) means roasts or size for slicing into more than one portion. After the animal carcass is dressed, it will be suspended on a hook. After this the carcass will be further reduced into nine pieces: the neck, two front quarters, the loin and rib sections of the spine, two sides of ribs, and two hind quarters. The Tamil term is applicable to mutton, venison, beef, large fish, etc..

Sales-beef-problem-in-kashmir-720x480.gif (720×480)
Mutton stalls hanging large pieces of flesh.  குறை
மோட்டு இரு வராஅல் கோட்டுமீன் கொழும் குறை
Purananuru 399: 5-6, Aiyur Mudavanar sang for Thaman Thondrikon
Poet and his group are proceeding to see Killivalavan. On their way farmworkers offered food. Woman cooked in a bright pot with fermented gruel, with vallai leaves from fields, and with fatty big pieces of horned fish and large pieces of varal fish.

நெருப்பு சினம் தணிந்த நிணம் தயங்கு கொழும் குறை
Purananuru 125:2, Poet Vadama Vannakkan Perunchathanar sang to Malaiyaman Thirumudi Kari, 
 Poet would like to eat large chunks of meat layered with fat that calmed hot fire, looking like cotton thread spun by women!

இழுதின் அன்ன வால் நிண கொழும் குறை
Purananuru 150 9, Poet Vanparanar sang for Kandeera Koperu Nalli
The poet and his group meet a hunter carrying a strong bow. Before his young  men who were lost in the path could catch up with him, he kindled a fire where rapidly he roasted bit pieces of fatty meat that looked like butter and gave it all to me, and said, “Eat this, along with your large family.”

வாடூன் கொழும் குறை
Purananuru 328: 9 Poet Unknown
Poet guides the bard to the patron. The patron will gives you dry pieces of meat cooked together with grains from plucked spears, and curds poured into a milk pot with ilanthai fruits, cooked with ghee, stirred with a ladle and served with white rice, and you are happy there…

காயம் கனிந்த கண் அகன் கொழும் குறை
Purananuru 364: 5-6, Poet: Kookai Koliyar 
kill a black male goat and roast it in red flame with spices and serve big pieces of fatty meat
துடி கண் கொழும் குறை நொடுத்து உண்டு ஆடி
Akannuru 196, Paranar, 
A fat varal fish that is caught during the day is cut into thick pieces that look like the eyes of thudi drums

... ... ... ... ...  பெருமீன்
அரி நிறக் கொழுங்குறை வௌவினர் மாந்தி
Akannuru 236: 3 Paranar, 
Ponds brimming with clear water from which bright colored fish are caught and eaten by reapers of white paddy, the remains thrown away in the land nearby,

செம் தீ அணங்கிய செழு நிண கொழும் குறை
Akannuru 237:9, Thayankannanar, 
In Uranthai city where people share food, thick fatty meat cooked in hot flame with delicate millet served in bowls with sweet syrup made from sugarcane in the fields, and fine milk poured on fresh flattened rice

கானவன் எய்த முளவு_மான் கொழும் குறை
Natrinai 85:8, Nalvilakkanar
A mountain woman with honey-fragrant hair shares fatty porcupine meat that her husband killed and brought home, along with yams,with everybody in their lovely, small village
3. Soodu (சூடு)

Soodu (சூடு) means broiling = நெருப்பில் வாட்டுதல். Broiling is a great way to cook tender cuts of meat, such as c. Hunters kill the animals and cut the flesh into Broiling is a great way to cook tender cuts of meat, such as steaks, chops and patties. They will lit the fire and broil the meat and eat. In Tamil it is known as Soodu (சூடு).

குறுமுயல் கொழுஞ் சூடு கிழித்த ஒக்கலொடு 
Purananuru 34: 11, Poet Alathūur Kilar sang to Cholan Kulamutrathu Thunjiya Killivalavan
Poet praises the king Killivalavan, who gives with an open mind abundant wealth to bards who eat huge balls of rich, cooked rice mixed with honey and millet grown in dry fields, that are as large as the eggs of pigeons, with cooked rabbit meat.

விடை வீழ்த்துச் சூடு கிழிப்ப – புறம் 366/17
Purananuru 366, Poet: Kothamanar
Killing a male goat and tearing off its roasted meat, serving it on leaves to those who are hungry along with boiled rice

குறுமுயலின் குழை சூட்டொடு
Purananuru 395: 3, Poet Mathurai Nakkeerar sang for Cholanattu Pidavur Kilarmakan Perunchathan
Pidavur lies east to Uranthai. Perunchathan is the Lord. In Pidavur, plowmen from agricultural land eat many dishes made with cooked pieces of small rabbits and long vālai fish pieces, along with old rice, drink filtered liquor made from cooked rice, 

கொழுந்தடிய சூடு என்கோ 
Purananuru 395: 15, Poet Mankudi Kilar sang to Vattrattru Eliniyathan
Eliniyāthan reigns Vāttrāttru. The king gives the bards fragrant rice with ghee and fatty pieces of rabbit meat.

4.  Thadi (தடி)

A thick piece of meat (beef steak or lamb chops or fish steak). Murrel fish (Varal) is very thick and long. Ribbon Fish (Valai fish). If the head and tail are removed the remaining part can be called as 'Fish Thadi.' (மீன் தடி).
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Murrel Fish
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Murrel Fish steak is cooked in a Broth (வராஅல் பெரும் தடி மிளிர்வை)
பெருநல் பல்கூட்டு எருமை உழவ!
கண்படை பெறாது தண் புலர் விடியல்
கருங்கண் வராஅல் பெரும் தடி மிளிர்வையொடு
புகர்வை அரிசிப் பொம்மல் பெருஞ்சோறு
கவர்படு கையை கழும மாந்தி 
Natrinai 60: 2-6, Thoongaleriyaar, 
The farmer, who wakes up at the crack of dawn without much sleep and eat large cooked pieces of black-eyed varāl fish with big balls of fine rice.

கொடுங் குழை பெய்த செழுஞ் செவி பேதை
சிறு தாழ் செறித்த மெல் விரல் சேப்ப
வாளை ஈர்ந் தடி வல்லிதின் வகைஇ  
புகை உண்டு அமர்த்த கண்ணள் தகை பெறப்
பிறை நுதல் பொறித்த சிறு நுண் பல் வியர்
அம் துகில் தலையில் துடையினள் ... 
Natrinai 120: 3-8, Mankudi Kilar, 
The naive woman with curved earrings on her lovely ears and small rings on her delicate fingers that become red cutting vālai fish to pieces, cooks when I arrive as smoke from the stove attacks her calm
eyes, and small beads of sweat spread on her pretty, crescent-moon forehead which
she wipes with her pretty sari

விரைந்து வாய் வழுக்கிய கொழும் கண் ஊன் தடி
Akananuru 193:9, Mamoolanar
In the wasteland vultures fly their nests with meat pieces to feed their young. The meat pieces with fast slip from their mouths, becoming food for old foxes with intense hunger

நிணம்பொதி விழுத் தடி நெருப்பின் வைத்து எடுத்து
Akananuru 265:13, Mamoolanar
 What the heroine said to her friend. In the harsh wasteland wayside bandits with mighty curved bows go to the mountain, kill a fine bull with sweet sounds,and eat its fine white meat embedded with fat, roasting it on a flame, 

5.  Tharam (தாரம்)

Tharam (தாரம்) means providing to the guests the food stuff that is hard to get. In small village grove people will offer best food even to the strangers who drops their huts. The hungry bard would enjoy even the  is simple.   The people living were known for their hospitality. They provided big feast: 
தாழ்கோள் பலவின் சூழ்சுளைப் பெரும்பழம்
வீழ் இல் தாழை குழவித் தீநீர்க்
கவைமுலை இரும்பிடிக் கவுள்மருப்பு ஏய்க்கும்
குலைமுதிர் வாழைக் கூனி வெண்பழம்
திரள் அரைப் பெண்ணை நுங்கொடு பிறவும்
தீம் பல் தாரம் 
Perumpanatruppadai 356 - 361
Hospitality in the Groves: The bards are advised to go to the fragrant grove where the houses of farmers are woven with the dried fronds of coconut trees with thick fronds. There the bards will receive receive jackfruits, sweet water of tender coconuts, curved, white bananas from bunches, along with tender nungu (ice-fruit) of palmyra palms, and when you tire, you will receive the mature tubers of chēmpu that grow from sprouts.  

6.  Thirri (திற்றி)

Thirri (திற்றி) means tender flesh when cooked in open fire turns very soft for purposes of chewing. In this method of cooking no utensil is used and often cooking takes place in the woods. Cattle herds are kept by shepherds within protected fence. Cattle lifters armed with bow would raid their herds and even kill them. They share the raided cattle among themselves. They would kill the calf and roast the veil in open fire near a rock shelter.

cdc07bab3c1769ebcae39771c603b6a4.jpg (450×600)

இரவுக் குறும்பு அலற நூறி நிரை பகுத்து
இரும் கல் முடுக்கர்த் திற்றி கெண்டும்
கொலைவில் ஆடவர்
Akananuru 97: 4 - 6, Poet Mamoolanar
In the wasteland murderous men with bows who kill those in the forest forts as they scream, steal their cattle, divide them among themselves, and eat meat near junction with the big boulders,

மழவர் எனப்படும் மறவர் மரநிழலில் இளமையான பசுங்கன்றை அடித்து, அதன் தசையை அரிந்துச் சுட்டுத் தின்றார்கள் என்பதை வேறோர் அகப்பாடல் குறிப்பிடுகிறது.

பல்பூங்கானத்து அல்குநிழல் அசைஇத்
தோகைத் தூவித் தொடைத் தார் மழவர்
நாகு ஆ வீழ்த்துத் திற்றி தின்ற 
Akananuru 249: 11 - 13, Poet Nakkeeranar
Hero has gone through mountains where bamboo is hidden, bandits (Mazhavar or Maravar) wear garlands made with peacock feathers and rest in groves with many flowers and little shade, slaying and eating fleshof young cows and the ground reeks with flesh. Thirri means edible meat.

7. Thuzhavai (துழவை)

Thuzhavai (துழாவை) Porridge,as stirred with a ladle

Hunter woman in a village on the mountain slope adds fruit seeds, bison meat pieces, porcupine chops, sweet tamarind, buttermilk and bamboo seeds to the boiling liquid. She cooks the food by constantly stirring.  Malaipadukadam picturizes this scene in detail.

அருவி தந்த பழம்சிதை வெண்காழ்
வருவிசை தவிர்த்த கடமான் கொழுங்குறை
முளவுமாத் தொலைச்சிய பைந்நிணப் பிளவை
பிணவுநாய் முடுக்கிய தடியொடு விரைஇ
வெண்புடைக் கொண்ட துய்த்தலைப் பழனின்
இன்புளிக் கலந்து மாமோராக
கழைவளர் நெல்லின் அரிஉலை ஊழ்த்து
வழைஅமை சாரல் கமழத் துழைஇ
நறுமலர் அணிந்த நாறு இரு முச்சிக்
குறமகள் ஆக்கிய வால் அவிழ் வல்சி
 – மலைபடுகடாம் 174 – 183
Gifts from Nannan’s Mountains: Woman in a village on the mountain slopes will serve you scattered seeds of fruits brought down by waterfalls, big pieces of meat of bison killed ruining arrows, chopped up pieces of fatty meat of porcupines mixed with fuzzy-topped, sweet tamarind and buttermilk, seeds growing on bamboo added to the boiling liquid, and white rice cooked by a mountain woman

8. Puzhukkal (புழுக்கல்)

Puzhukkal (புழுக்கல்) means braising. That which braised. Few cuts of meat i.e., the shoulder meat cuts of deer, lamb, cow and pig, are hard and require much chewing and the meat comprise lot of connective tissue. When exposed to steam heat these connective tissues melt. The method of cooking is known as braising. Application of steam heat breaks down collage and unwind protein strands. In Sangam poems use the word Puzhukkal (புழுக்கல்).  

c99e3db826c0f4cc2688a36ce3b60e1a.jpg (500×360)
ஊன் புழுக்கு Braising PC: The Reluctant Gourmet 
உவலை கண்ணியர் ஊன் புழுக்கு அயரும்
Akananuru 159:10, Poet Amur Kavuthaman Sathevanar
Warriors with leaf garlands, who recover cows in harsh battles from wasteland bandits who seized many herds, celebrate their victory, beating loud thudi drums and dancing to their beats and cooking (braising) meat dishes on the abandoned stoves.
உவலைக் கண்ணியர் – men wearing leaf garlands, 
ஊன் புழுக்கு அயரும் – cook meat dishes

மை ஊன் தெரிந்த நெய் வெண் புழுக்கல்
Natrinai 83:5, Poet Perunthevanar 
I willl take good care of you, and feed you goat meat along with white rat cooked in clear ghee and white rice,
மை ஊன் – goat meat

வாராது அட்ட வாடூன் புழுக்கல்
Perumpanatruppadai 100  
In the forest the Eyirriyar woman cook the grain along with dried white meat, in an old pot with a ruined mouth rim, on a broken stove

துராஅய் துற்றிய துருவை அம் புழுக்கின்
 Porunaratruppadai 103  
The king urged me to eat (braised) cooked, thick thigh meat of sheep that were fed arukam grass twisted to ropes, and fatty, big pieces of meat roasted on iron rods.  

வயல் ஆமை புழுக்கு உண்டும்
Pattinappalai 64
In martial art field warriors eat roasted shrimp and steamed field tortoises.

9. Milirvai (மிளிர்வை)

Milirvai (மிளிர்வை) means pieces of flesh and vegetables in broth.

fish_curry.jpg (400×300)
Pieces of  Murrel fish in a broth     
கரும் கண் வராஅல் பெரும் தடி மிளிர்வையொடு
புகர்வை அரிசி பொம்மல் பெரும் சோறு
Natrinai 60: 4-5, Thoongaleriyar
The farmer in Marutam land wake up at the crack of dawn without much sleep and ate large cooked pieces of black-eyed varal fish (in a broth) with big balls of fine rice.

10. Varai (வறை)

Varai (வறை) means fried meat
பரல் வறை கருனை காடியின் மிதப்ப
Porunaratruppadai 115
The king gave me (bard) the boiled rice that looked like jasmine buds, all the grains of same size, unbroken, with no streaks, and long like fingers, along with stir-fried dishes,

பரல் – grains/seeds which were like pebbles, வறை கருனை – fried poriyal dishes, காடியின் மிதப்ப – filled to the neck,

உடும்பின், வறை கால்யாத்தது வயின்தொறும் பெறுகுவிர்
 - பெரும் 132,133
In every home, you will be given fried dishes, cooked with iguana with eggs looking like  conch shells that hide the rice served.

மண்டைய கண்ட மான் வறை கருனை
Purananuru 398:24,  Poet Thiruthamanar sang for Cheraman Vanjan
 To me and my family, the king gave venison to eat along with rice as long as a stork’s claw, the same food that he ate.

11. Vattu (வாட்டு)

Vattu (வாட்டு) means broiling the meat in direct fire. The process is observed to dry the meat. No utensil used in this process. Sometimes broiling is done by putting the meat in a pan.

மனைவாழ் அளகின் வாட்டொடும் பெறுகுவிர்
Perumpanatruppadai  256
 If you stay in that prosperous town, you will receive food cooked with white rice  along with dishes cooked with hen from the house.

12 Vadoon (வாடூன்)

Vadoon (வாடூன்) means preserving the meat (flesh) or fish by salting and drying. Dried meat with salt (உப்புக்கண்டம்). 

PC: Wikimedia Commons
முரவு வாய்க் குழிசி முரி அடுப்பு ஏற்றி
வாராது அட்ட வாடூன் புழுக்கல்
Perumpanatruppadai 100  
In the forest the Eyirriyar woman cook the grain along with dried white meat, in an old pot with a ruined mouth rim, on a broken stove

வாடூன் கொழும் குறை
கொய்குரல் அரிசியொடு நெய்பெய்து அட்டு
துடுப்பொடு சிவணிய களிக்கொள் வெண்சோறு
Purananuru 328: 9-11, Poet Unknown
King will give you dry pieces of meat cooked together with grains

சூடு கிழித்து வாடூன் மிசையவும் 
Purananuru 386: 4, Poet Kovur Kilar sang for Cholan Kulamutrathu Thunjiya Killivalavan
King gave us to eat, fried meat dripping with ghee as when drops of rain shower down on a pond brimming with water, and meat roasted on skewers.

13 Vevai (வேவை)

Vevai (வேவை) means water boiled meat.
துராய் துற்றிய துருவை அம் புழுக்கின்
பராரை வேவை பருகு எனத் தண்டி
Porunaratruppadai 103 - 104
King urged me to eat cooked, thick thigh meat of sheep that were fed arukam grass twisted to ropes, 
துராஅய் – arukam grass rolled as ropes, Cynodon grass, துற்றிய – fed, துருவை – sheep, அம் – beautiful, புழுக்கின் – cooked dish, பராஅரை – thick thigh, வேவை – cooked meat by water boiling பருகு எனத் தண்டி – urged me to eat

பரூஉக்குறை பொழிந்த நெய்க்கண் வேவையொடு
Malaipadukadam 168
You will receive from them dishes with big pieces of meat boiled (roasted) in ghee along with colorful millet rice


To one who doesn’t kill and refuses meat, all lives will   fold their arms and pay obeisance --Tirukural

“Ethically they had arrived at the conclusion that man's supremacy over lower animals meant not that the former should prey upon the latter, but that the higher should protect the lower, and that there should be mutual aid between the two as between man and man. They had also brought out the truth that man eats not for enjoyment but to live.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” ― Thomas A. Edison

  1. Beef Eating in the Ancient Tamizhagam. K. V. Ramakrishna Rao (A paper presented during the 57th session of Indian History Congress held at Madras from December 27-29, 1996).  July 7, 2013.
  2. Beef Politics: How Beef Was Consumed in Ancient Tamil Nadu. Ramanathan S. October 7, 2015
  3. Ethics of Eating Meat Wikipedia
  4. Meat cutting and utilization of meat cuts
  5. Meat Wikipedia
  6. Sangam Poems Translated by Vaidehi
  7. Sangam Literature Wikipedia
  8. Sangam Literature – சான்றோர் செய்யுள்
  9. Vegetarianism and Religion Wikipedia
  10. இலக்கியமும் உணவுக் குறிப்புகளும்
  11. உணவுப் பண்பாடு. அ.கா.பெருமாள்.
  12. உணவும் மதுவும் ப. சரவணன்.
  13. சங்ககால சமையல்
  14. சங்கச்சோலை and
  15. சங்கத்தமிழரின் உணவுமரபு
  16. தமிழ் மக்களின் உணவு புலால்
  17. பண்டைய தமிழர் உணவுகள்
  18. பண்டைய கால தமிழர்களின் உணவு முறை!
  19. திணை விளக்கம் Wikipedia
  20. தொல்காப்பியம் காட்டும் உணவு

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