India is recognized for multiple aspects around the world and spices is one of them. Our variety ranges all over the scale, be it sweet or bitter we have dishes that cover everything.

Red ant chutney in chhattisgarh

One such unusual dish that is not commonly known in parts of the country except Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh Orissa is the Red Ant Chutney; that is correct. The recipe is made from red ants and their larvae from the regions of Eastern India.

Where can one find it?

The cuisine is famous in the region of Bastar is sold in the local markets where they are available at cheap rates, in small packets made of leaves. Venturing into the wild to have your hands on the deadly ants is not advisable as it will leave a painful experience.

women selling ants in leaf bags

women selling ants in leaf bags

How do you prepare it?

Unlike the burst of flavors that the Chutney brings, it is quite easy to prepare. The tribes colloquially call it as Chaprah (literally means leaf basket as the ants are found on the trees in nests made out of it leaves) and the preparation starts by cleaning the ants and their larvae, which can even be eaten raw. One can use a mixer or grinder to make them into a paste of desired consistency. Add the paste with onions, ginger and red chilies and cook them to make the spicy recipe.

Red ants of Chattissgarh

Red ants of Chhattisgarh

How does it taste?

The larvae and the ants unveil the true flavors of the chutney. Like the way it looks, the Chutney is very spicy, with hints of sour taste in the middle. The larvae which can be eaten raw, give a mixed flavor sweet and sour. The fiery taste comes from the formic acid of the ants which when combined with the added chilies results in an unusually hot and spicy dish of the country.

woman selling red ants

woman selling red ants


The chutney is very high in protein is the surprising fact and also bear in mind that the formic acid in the ants is an effective anti-bacterial. Out of the millions of delicacies that India has to offer to the world, the red ant chutney is so important that it caught the eyes of the celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay as he added the dish to his menu. The cuisine remains a spicy yet inseparable part of the people of Bastar. Brace yourself for a highly seasoned experience if it is your first time.


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