A sudden unseasonable cold snap has pretty much finished off the plague of locusts that hit parts of Israel this past Friday. Eastern Australians, hit by a similar infestation, have taken to eating what a recently published recipe book calls “sky prawns.” Israelis could have resorted to eating the locusts as a way of battling the pesky critters that can consume their own weight in food on a daily basis, without the assistance of munchy inducing substances. However, there is a question regarding the kashrut of locusts. Halachah dictates that you can only eat locusts if you possess a continuous tradition of regarding them as kosher. It seems that this tradition only exists amongst North African Sephardic Jews – which I ought to have suspected having never seen a recipe for locust knishes.
If you can rely on such a tradition, you will find that not only are locusts healthy and rich in protein, but they are a tasty and multifaceted snack, capable of being fried, grilled, boiled and roasted. For those of you interested, I’ll throw in a few recipes and for the rest of you, I guess be thankful that Israel was spared a makat arbeh.
I wish I could say these came from my Mom Brakha, but she would think I was nuts for even contemplating eating bugs… These recipes were compiled by Israel Insider.
Tinjiya (Tswana recipe): remove the wings and hindlegs of the locusts, and boil in a little water until soft. Add salt, if desired, and a little fat and fry until brown. Serve with cooked, dried mealies (corn).
Sikonyane (Swazi recipe): prepare embers and roast the whole locust on the embers. Remove head, wings, and legs, in other words, only the breast part is eaten. The South Sotho people use locusts especially as food for travellers. The heads and last joint of the hindlegs are broken off and the rest laid on the coals to roast. The roasted locusts are ground on a grinding stone to a fine powder. This powder can be kept for long periods of time and is taken along on a journey. Dried locusts are also prepared for the winter months. The legs, when dried, are especially relished for their pleasant taste.
Cambodia: take several dozen locust adults, preferably females, slit the abdomen lengthwise and stuff a peanut inside. Then lightly grill the locusts in a wok or hot frying pan, adding a little oil and salt to taste. Be careful not to overcook or burn them.
Barbecue (grilled): prepare the embers or charcoal. Place about one dozen locusts on a skewer, stabbing each through the centre of the abdomen. If you only want to eat the abdomen, then you may want to take off the legs or wings either before or after cooking. Several skewers of locusts may be required for each person. Place the skewers above the hot embers and grill while turning continuously to avoid burning the locusts until they become golden brown.