Edible Insect Recipes

These recipes are from Creepy Crawly Cuisine by Juliete Ramos-Elorduy, Ph.D., published by Park Street Press, Rochester, VT.  This is an excellent insect cookbook featuring many more recipes than we prepared in class.  If you ever want to cook insects, or just have something interesting on your shelf, I highly recommend buying this book.

Pipian Grashoppers (Our grasshopper tacos)

Original recipe:

2 scallions, cut in pieces
1/2 lb. tomatillos, cut in pieces
5 radish leaves
2 leaves epazote
5 serrano chiles
1 handful parsley
5 garlic cloves, mashed
3 Tbsp. corn oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted and ground
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted and ground
3 cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 lb. grasshoppers
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup bouillon
tortillas, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the grasshoppers on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Place the scallions, tomatillos, radish leaves, epazote, serrano chiles, parsley, and garlic in a blender or food processor and liquefy.  Heat the combined oils in a frying pan.  Add the ground pumkin seeds and fry over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning.  Add the ground sesame seeds and the toasted cumin seeds.  Season with salt, mixing thoroughly.  Add the bouillon a little at a time, stirring, and cook until thickened.  Add the roasted grasshoppers.  Spoon the filling into the warmed tortillas and serve.

Class modifications:
We didn't have access to a lot of the salsa ingredients so we served the tacos with store bought salsa verde, some sour cream would probably go pretty well too.  The roasted grasshoppers were extremely tough to chew in the tacos.  We mixed the seeds and oils with one can of vegetable stock instead of bouillon, and added the grasshoppers one hour before serving.  The extra time marinating softened the exoskeletons up enough to chew well.  In the future, marinating the roasted grasshoppers overnight would probably be better.

Braised Ant Brood (Our ant pupae on toast)

Original recipe:

1/2 lb. ant larvae and pupae
1 stick butter
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
Powdered anise, to taste
1 cup white wine

Melt the butter in a frying pan over low heat.  Fry the larvae and pupae until they turn a white, opaque color, then add salt and pepper, the anise, and white wine.  Serve with bread.

Class modifications:

We marinated the pupae in the white wine for a few hours before class and added everything to the pan as soon as the butter was melted.  There were complaints that it was too buttery, so at the least we should cut the butter amount by half in the future.

Chicatana Empanadas

Original recipe:

1 cup water
w cup granulated sugar
1/2 lb. ants, ground or whole (we used whole, much better visual image)
1/2 tsp. pectin
1 cup flour to sprinkle
1 lb. puff pastry dough
1 egg white, beaten, for pasting
1 egg yolk, beaten, for brushing

To prepare the filling, place the sugar and one cup of water in a pan and bring to a steady boil until it reaches a honeylike consistency.  Add the ground or whole ants, and stir until a gel forms.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Stir in the pectin and set aside.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Sprinkle flour on a pastry board, and roll out the pastry dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch.  Use a round cookie cutter, between 2 and 3 inches in diameter, or a drinking glass with a floured rim, and cut circles out of the rolled out dough.  Place some of the filling in the center of each dough circle.  Spread a bit of egg white around the top edge of each circle.  Fold in half to form a half moon and press outside edge with a fork to seal.  Brush with egg yolk.  Place on a greased cookie sheet about an inch apart.  Bake at 300 degrees F until golden brown.

Class modifications:

We forgot to buy pectin so we cooked the filling a little longer to increase the gelness, but you have to keep stirring or else it will start to burn.  We also bought the pastry dough sheets and didn't roll them out so they were a little thicker than 1/4 inch, but we liked the doughiness of the final product.

The following recipes are not from Creepy Crawly Cuisine, purely our ideas of what might work.

Silkworm pupae stir-fry

2 cans of silkworm pupae
1 Tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 lb. pea pods
Spicy sauce to taste

The silkworm pupae are canned with a sauce that we personally find disgusting but other people might like.  To remove the sauce you soak the puape in saltwater for 3-12 hours depending on how much you dislike the sauce.  Change the water every hour to extract every last drop.  Then roast the silkworms at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.  The longer the roasting time, the crunchier the insects.  Heat the oil in a wok at medium heat and add the onions.  Stir until they are beginnging to soften and add the peppers.  Stir a minute more than add the silkworms.  One more minute and add the pea pods.  Add as much spicy sauce as you would like.  We use Schezuan spicy sauce and add about 5 Tbsp full.  Serve by itself or with rice.  You can add any other veggies you like as well.