Bhubaneswar: It is a delicacy in tribal belts of Odisha as well as neighbouring states and an indispensable part of all grand feasts. Here, we are talking of Kai or Chaprah chutney made of red ants and their eggs. As sharp as an ant bite, it has found a fan in celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
This British chef, restaurateur, and television personality has included red-ant chutney, which he discovered during one of his visits to India, in his menu.
Collected in large numbers from nests on Sal trees, the red ants are crushed and the chutney is prepared by adding salt, garlic, coriander and chillies to it.
In a documentary, Ramsay has termed it as world’s best chutney and said the dish he picked is extremely healthy.
This pungent chutney with fiery flavours, relished by the indigenous people, also boasts of many medicinal qualities.
These ants and their eggs contain formic acid, which coupled with the seasonings gives this chutney its characteristic pungent, hot and spicy flavour. It also has many anti-bacterial properties that can help combat infections in our digestive system. The chutney is also known to have decent amount of protein, calcium and zinc, which is good for the immune system.
Don’t be surprised if you soon find this chutney on the menu of star hotels in Odisha capital! With people becoming more and more health conscious, and eating traditional food becoming popular these days, the chefs of top hotels during an indigenous food festival in December last year had expressed a desire to flavour the menu with this chutney and other tribal delicacies.