Recently Odisha’s Kai Chutney or Red Ant Chutney received a coveted GI tag. On this note, do you know Red Ant dishes are quite common in the cuisines of various countries? Varying from multiple benefits like nutrients, taste, and texture, experts also say it can boost brain health and fight depression.
Red Ant or Weaver Ant, biologically known as Oecophylla Smaragdina can be found in the forests of Similipal and Mayurbhanj in Odisha, and in some parts of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in India.
Here is our list of global kitchens that consume Red Ants:
A burst of flavours with Red Ant eggs in Thailand cuisine
Thailand is known for its curries, soups, and other savoury dishes. But the Red Ant egg in Thai cuisine holds a special place with a mixture of sour, sweet, and spicy tastes. Locals in Thailand use these eggs in traditional dishes bringing an exotic taste to already flavourful salads, and curries.
Cambodia’s culinary excellence Prahok Ktiss
Prahok Ktiss, a Cambodian traditional cuisine, is made with fermented Red Ant paste. Red Ants add a zesty touch to this dish. Prahok Ktiss is definitely a culinary excellence of Cambodia where ants contribute to an already rich culinary palette.
Bush Tucker of Australia
Not specifically Red Ants but the original communities of Australia have been consuming different insects like ants in their diet. The larvae of moths known as Witchetty Grubs are consumed as “bush tucker” in Australia. Witchetty grubs are rich in protein and can be eaten raw or slightly cooked.
In Mexican cuisine, they have Escamoles or the larvae of ants which are largely eaten in tacos, corn tortillas, or as fillings in omlets. The main source of these eggs is the roots of agave plants. Mexicans enjoy Escamoles by sautéing them with butter and a few spices, onion and chili. With a buttery and nutty flavour Escamoles are simple to prepare and great to taste.
Kai Chutney of Odisha
Now coming to the highlight of the story, Kai Chutney is made with simple local spices like ginger, garlic, chili, and salt and is added to the Red Ant paste which is consumed as chutney.
By- Supalee Dalai