Googli or Snails, Rural Bengal’s Protein Rich Exotic Meat

From octopus to lobsters to Escargot, the list of exotic seafood goes endless, but having said that the lesser-known hyperlocal ones like mud crabs, googli and more surely most times get neglected.

These meats might not be easily available or even sound pleasing but loaded with health and goodness one should surely try them. One such is snails or ‘Guguli’ or ‘Gneri’ from Bengal.  Loaded with protein, with minimal fat Googli is Bengal’s treasure trove of meat. The meat that is much soft and delicate needs special treatment which means one needs to be careful while cooking, otherwise it might ruin the taste profile and turn the delicate snail's meat hard and rubbery. This poor man’s meat from Bengal which is extensively eaten by the people of Bengal is also seen making its way in today’s culinary space. A few months back when Chef Auroni Mookerjee hosted a table in Delhi’s The Lodhi, he gave the city a much-needed taste of Bengali feast as he brought the “bajaars” to the table.

On the menu, he presented Escargot from the pukur (pond) which basically saw snails cooked in a bitter green sauce that was paired with some butter-infused bhaat. This unique take was everything but ordinary to which chef added. “Googli is almost lost to the urban civilisation but it is something that I ate growing up, especially from my thamma (grandmother). If we look back all these dishes that we’re eating today were once originally made over decades by some seasoned hands that cooked with much care, skill, and knowledge”. Googli's are best enjoyed and cooked in a light spicy way without too many seasonings or accompaniments. The easiest way to savour these delights is to toss the fresh catch is low heat for max 10 minutes

The eating of googli once upon a time developed in old Bengal during the extreme periods of drought that quite often subjugated the area. These snails were mediums of provided ample protein with minimal fat and were abundant when there was literally no food left. That is why, it is known as the 'poor man's meat'. Not to miss the snails have been a part of our rural hyperlocal diet and the palates have already been accustomed to this delicacy for forever now. It's time to give your urbanized tastebuds that have come to experience only a handful of dishes a much-needed shift from the usual.