Insects have been savored since time immemorial and are in fact crawling their way back into global kitchens as gourmet food! Take a look at 10 insects that otherwise make you squeamish, but on your plate are finger licking good with health benefits you never thought possible!
Giant bacony Ants
Giant Queen Leafcutter ants are served roasted instead of popcorn at movie theatres and coated in decadent Belgian chocolate as a gourmet dessert in many parts of South America. They have a naturally salty taste and when toasted or fired they apparently taste like bacon – a low in saturated fat, high protein bacon that is traditionally also considered an aphrodisiac.
Nutty and eggy - Whichety Grub
A dietary staple for aborigines in Australia, this large white wood eating beetle or moth larvae is known for its high fat and protein content. Uncooked they taste like almonds and once toasted in coal or over a fire it changes to what can be best described as a ‘nutty scrambled egg’ like taste in a slightly crisp outer skin.
Of scorpion kings and tasty tarantulas
If you like soft shell crabs then you will love scorpions and other tarantulas. A delicacy in America, China and Thailand these creepy crawlies are eaten roasted skewered and even raw. The best way though is deep fried whole and tossed with salt and spices. The only requisite is getting rid of its venomous stingy tail if you wish to have another meal after.
Cockroaches to cure stomach pain
Yes you can eat cockroaches just not the average house roach. A giant Madagascar hissing cockroach looks as repulsive as any other roach, but is said to be one of the tastiest insects ever! More comfortable to eat fried; with the head and wings removed some types are also used in Chinese medicine to cure problems of the heart, liver and stomach.
Caterpillar cure for anemia
In South Africa harvesting caterpillars is actually a very lucrative business. Traditionally boiled in salt water and then dried so they can be stored for months without refrigeration these mopane worms have a whooping 31mg of iron per 100 grams. A super snack when fried caterpillars are great for those suffering from iron deficiencies like anemia
Slow, steady, scrumptious and succulent
In gourmet French circles the best way to eat snail or escargot is steamed whole and then removed from the shell and sautéed in parsley butter and garlic. The boiling and extensive scrubbing required is not just to make it tasty, but also to free of harmful parasites and ensure its isn’t in fact your last meal.
A bag of grass hopper chips anyone?
A plate of roasted grasshoppers, or chapulines, are a regional delicacy in southern Mexico where they are sold in large mounds in street markets and eaten just like you would eat a bag of chips or a taco . Ever thing these crunchy eight legged creatures could be high source of calcium and protein.
Earthworms are a hit in several parts of Native America where they are harvested, soaked in water to get rid of all the dirt and then dried to reduce the sliminess after which they are used. Enjoy these protein and iron rich worms deep fried or tossed into stir fries and stews.
To bee or not to bee
Bees and wasps are eaten in both their larvae and full grown stages though the larvae are much preferred for its buttery texture and earthy taste. Early emperors in Japan found boiled wasps with rice a delicacy and in some cultures hives are hunted as much for their grubs as for the honey. They are said to treat a host of problems of the stomach, skin and respiratory system.
The name itself takes away most of its culinary appeal, yet these insects are consumed in several parts Asia, America and Africa. Though you can eat them raw, it is preferred that they be soaked them in water and then dried to get rid of the stinky odour.
There are several websites we came across while writing this article that are more than willing to ship these creepy crawlies and other myriad variety right up to your kitchen. So if snacking on potato chips ever gets to mainstream, you know what to do!
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.