Locusts are a group of specific species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae, consisting of a swarming phase. Of all the other species, the desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is perhaps the most common owing to its extensive distribution (North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent) and its capability to migrate over long distances.
Locusts eaten as food are prepared using different techniques depending on the country, they are most commonly fried, smoked or dried. For example in Israel locusts are cooked by adding them to a boiling broth first. They are then cleaned off, rolled in a mixture of flour and coriander seeds, garlic chilli powder, and then deep fried. In Mexico people consume chocolate-covered locusts.
Locust dishes prepared by Australians include locust dumplings, chocolate-covered locusts, and even locust popcorn. Kuwaitis, however, like their locusts baked, and Nairobi cuisine involves grilled locust salad, locusts on skewers and locust kebabs.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Locusts are a very niche delicacy and are consumed in several African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries. The consumption of locusts dates back as far as Biblical days, with the Bible Chronicling that John the Baptist consumed locusts and wild honey while he was residing in the wild.
The origin and cultural significance of locusts vary from country to country. For example, in Israel locusts are believed to be the only halal insects in local foods and are considered to be the only living beings that are kosher.
In 2004, swarms of locusts destroyed harvests in specific regions of Australia. Hence, with the aim of battling these locust attacks, people fought back by eating them. The concept of beginning to consume locusts was praised by government workers. In Australia, people term locusts as “sky prawns” referring to the fact that they are free and are able to fly.
Kuwaitis, however, consider locusts to be quite nutritious and an energy-efficient source of protein. The older generation of the country prefers to consume their locusts year-round. Hence, these winged creatures are dried.
- Locusts - 1 lb
- Sake - 2 Cups
- Soy Sauce - 7 tbsp
- Mirin - 1 Cup
- Sugar - 2 Cups
- Begin by boiling the locusts for about 1 minute. Once done, drain them in cold water.
- The legs of the insect are tough and hard to chew. Hence, the next step is to tear their legs off.
- Now, take a deep pan or wok and transfer the locusts inside. Stir-fry them. This should take you about 10 minutes, or wait until all of the moisture is gone.
- Next, add in soy sauce, sake, and sugar. Combine all the ingredients well, and simmer for 2 hours. Wait until all of the moisture is gone and the insects are candied.
- Once the locusts are dried, add mirin. Keep in mind to keep stirring all the ingredients well to save the dish from burning.
- Turn the heat off, transfer in a bowl and serve. Your delicious bowl of locust with soy sauce and mirin is ready to be eaten!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 702Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1542mgCarbohydrates: 135gFiber: 0gSugar: 126gProtein: 3g