Thursday, June 8, 2023

Bizarre Foods of Assam

Locust fry:

Locust fry

Edible bugs have been known to be an enormous source of protein from the ancient times. The native tribes of Assam were no stranger to this fact and have had bugs in their diet since then. As such, the locust fry is considered a delicacy amongst the Assamese people. The locusts are caught in specially made lanterns placed in granaries which are collected at the base of the lantern. These locusts which are unable to fly are then either dipped in a flavored batter or sauce and fried in oil till crispy on the outside. Considered more of as a fritter than a side dish, locust fries can be enjoyed both as an accompaniment to the main course or as delicious munchies.

Silk Worm:


Silk worm, more popularly the Mugha variety is one of the important commodities which is exported as Assam silk by this small state worldwide. In these silk farms thousands of silkworms are cultivated for trade. However, not all worms survive the cultivation process and most die just as they mature almost ready to form their silk cocoons. These prematurely dying worms are then taken off the farm and consumed as a delicacy as in the region. It is to be noted that it is mostly the Eri variety of worms that are consumed as the Mugha variety can be quite expensive. The mature Eri worms are either soaked in hot water or mildly roasted in order to harden their outer skin which make them easy to cut open worm. What remains is the worm with only its flesh which is of substantial amount.  These nugget sized worms are then either stir fried like chicken with veggies or even made into various curries with chili and other spices.

Larvae fry(Wasp Larva):

Larvae Fry

Larvae fry which is a preparation of wasp larvae is quite similar to silk worm dishes except they are more often collected in the wild as opposed to being cultivated in the farm. These larvae which are quite fragile forgo the process of cleaning as they are hygienic and are only given a quick rinse under the water. Popularly, the water soaked larvae are stir fried as it is quite easy to prepare in that manner. However, some also soak them in a light spicy sauce and prepare them as curries. It is also have been to known to be mashed with spices to make a larvae puree and served as chutney (Indian Dip). These larvae dishes are quite popular as an accompaniment to xaaz(Rice ale).

Article by: Kamlesh Shankar Das

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Jyoti Das Bardoloi
Jyoti Das Bardoloi
Jyoti Das Bardoloi is a food and catering expert who has been in the industry for 30 years. She has passed out of IHM Guwahati. She has successfully run a fast food joint, has been a judge in numerous cooking competitions, have had her original recipes feature in national magazines such as Femina India winning cooking competitions twice in a row and she also did exclusive culinary shows on national and regional television. She lives in Guwahati, Assam with her husband and likes gardening and knitting in her spare time. You can catch her cooking suggestions on Facebook and Twitter. Check out the complete recipes in her book: A Book of Gourmet Cooking


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