Insects are the trendy, sustainable way to get your protein. We’d say “new,” but we’re way behind on the bugs-for-protein trail, and it’s time to catch up! Hone your entomophagy skills with Shami Radia and Neil Whippey, cofounders of Grub — a company that sells high-quality bugs ready to be used in cooking or eaten alone — and leave your Fear Factor–rooted apprehension at the door.
This is a particularly good dish for demonstrating the range of flavors that insects have to offer — the chili mix that the ground insects are combined with really helps to emphasize each individual taste.
- 1/2 teaspoon grasshoppers
- 1/2 teaspoon crickets
- 1/2 teaspoon buffalo worms
- 1 red bird's eye (Thai) chili, sliced (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried chili powder
- 1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar, plus a little more if needed
- 2 teaspoons fine salt
- 1 green mango, peeled and sliced
- 1 guava, peeled and sliced
- Thai basil leaves (ordinary basil works, too)
For the salt
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Keep the insects separate from each other on a nonstick baking tray and add them one at a time based on the cooking times as follows: Grasshoppers take 8 minutes to roast; crickets take 5 minutes; worms take 3 minutes to roast. Once roasted, keep the insects separate and individually grind each one to a fine powder in a spice grinder.
To make the chili mix for the salt, combine the fresh chili, chili powder, sugar and salt together in a bowl.
Distribute the chili mix evenly between the 3 different ground insects. Combine well. These are now ready to eat, but if they are too hot for you then add some more sugar to cool down the spice. Dip the fruit into the salts and enjoy. The Thai basil adds an aniseed flavor to this dish that really complements the insect salts. Store the salts in a cool, dry place.