Ever heard of the fiery Red Ant Chutney? Here's how it is made

Check out the recipe too

Everything tastes better with a dash of chutney to go with it, especially if it’s tinda or kaddu for dinner. But have you ever seen a column of red ants being made into a savoury, spicy chutney? Frightening, you say? Well, not for all. For the tribals of Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh, these ants are a delicacy.

Same dish different name
The dish, prepared in different regions of India, is called with different names. Demta in Jharkhand’s Chaibasa and Chaprah in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar. The process of collecting these red ant nests, which are found on sal trees, is pretty arduous and more often than not, those collecting the nests end up getting several ant bites.


How is it made: 

The chutney is made of mashed red ants and their eggs. These are collected in large numbers and later grinded into a hot and spicy chutney. The chutney is a part of their grand feasts and is relished whole-heartedly.

Once the ants and their eggs are collected, they are dunked in water to kill them. They are then cleaned, and the eggs and larva are separate from unwanted particles. After this, they are crushed and dried before being sold.

There are different ways of making the chutney. Check them out here:

Recipe #1:
Red ant paste
Method: Add chillies and salt to ant paste and your chutney is ready

Recipe #2:
Red ants and eggs
Coconut powder

1. Heat oil in a pan
2. Add chopped onions, once brown in colour, add tomato, garlic and chilly paste
3. Add grinded red ants, turmeric, salt and a bit of sugar
4. Cook for a bit and it’s done

The chutney has a pungent and spicy taste and is also used to garnish dishes to make them spicier.

Medicinal properties:
Red ants and their eggs contain formic acid, which have anti-bacterial properties and helps battle bacterial infections in our digestive system. The chutney is an excellent source of protein, calcium and zinc, which are great for our immune system.

Renowned chef Gordon Ramsay tasted the chutney when he was in the country in 2010. The taste took him by surprise and he later recreated the dish. Ramsay liked it so much he went so far as to say that he’s never touching ‘mango chutney for the rest of his life.’

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