India is home to diverse range of cultures which brings together different ethnic groups. These various factions join together to form a mixture of cultures which is unique to this country. You can’t find such dissimilar traditions in one country which have not only been influenced by each other but have also absorbed various elements from each other that it has lead to the rise of union of customs. Yet there are still parts of India which have remained remote to the other regions of the country and have developed their own ways of civilization. Their ways, customs, habits and even food is probably even more alien to people for mainland India than food of other countries. We are more at ease with Italian pizza and Chinese noodles than we would be with Assamese Eri Polu which is an exotic dish prepared with silk worm pupae. Most of us would turn our noses at eating insects but in the remote areas of the world where you don’t know where your next meal would come from, insects is as much a source of food as anything else. In lieu with Indian tradition of turning everything into an exotic dish, even insects are turned into classical Indian dishes and then consumed by people. A bizarre yet delicious (depends on who you ask) example of this is Chaprah, a chutney made out of red ants and their eggs! Are you gagging yet?
While is sounds impossible that such an Indian dish could exist, we mustn’t forget that Indian land is as diverse as its people. When there is no other food available, locals make do with what they have. The tribal of Chattisgarh have come up with a very unusual food, a dip or chutney made of red ants and their eggs/larva. While that sounds disgusting to us, it is an essential delicacy in this area. In the wilds of Batsar, making this chutney is as much of an adventure as eating it. Red ants have a sharp bite and it is no easy feat to acquire them in large number to crush them into a paste. Red ants are taken and then thoroughly dried. They are properly crushed with sweeteners, salts and various spices grounding them all into chutney which the local Dhruva tribe relishes with various food items.
This chutney is sharp and very very hot. If you think normal chili peppers are bad, this dip will set our mouth on fire. While it is evident that this chutney is not for the faint of heart, it is definitely intriguing to adventurous foodies. Don’t disregard this dip yet. World renowned Chef Gordon Ramsay swore that he wouldn’t touch a mango chutney again because this red hot chutney is so *bloody delicious*. But that was before he knew that it was made out of red ants and their eggs. Would you dare to eat this chutney with its bite?