Looking for a new source of protein you can add to just about any recipe? Cricket flour just might be the answer. A quarter cup revamped this classic into a Thai Sweet Potato Curry Cricket Recipe.
If there is one post I really look forward to all year, it is my annual Halloween recipe. And this year I get to combine it with my Eat the World Recipe Challenge. I challenged my members as follow: choose a Halloween (or similar celebration) or scary recipe from a country of your choice and explain why you chose it or talk about the country a little bit. I chose to prep this Thai Sweet Potato Curry Cricket Recipe, which also has a little Mexican nod with my marigolds. Clearly, I went the scary route. Dare to read on?
Now even if I am pulling the scary card with bugs for my Halloween recipe, I really hope you will read on below about all the health and planet benefits of consuming insects.
Discover what is behind my secret ingredient by moving the slider.
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How do you like to eat your cricket insect?
I know in Western society we not only turn our nose at the idea of eating bugs, we downright find it gross and disgusting. Well, guess what, we are in part the exception. Many countries and continents have been eating insects as part of a normal diet for millions of years. We started making tools to find termites quicker 4 million years ago.
The climate affects a lot which areas on our planet have become more prone to eating insects. Asia, Australia, Africa, and Latin America are the forerunners. Later on, the Romans and the Greeks joined, and a little bit of the rest of Europe and North America.
Cricket bugs and insect food coming to a table near you!
I am not even kidding, I already ate a dish in a restaurant in Quebec city with bugs. It was a delicious pasta dish and the pasta was made with some cricket powder. Cricket farms are becoming extremely popular. So popular I was able to buy a bag of cricket flour at my local big chain grocery store!
80% of the planet’s population eats bugs. So which insects could make it to your plate? The grasshopper insect, the larva of cicadas and other insects, beetles, crickets, termites, ants, worms, caterpillars, tarantulas, the list goes on.
Crickets are particularly enjoyed in Indonesia, Thailand, and Mexico. Common street food stall could serve you up some fried crickets, cricket cake, cricket snacks, or even cricket tacos. Edible crickets are all over the place in these countries.
Is a cricket or any bug good for you?
The answer here is a big YES. They are good for you and for the environment. They are easy to farm, eat little and multiply very easily. So growing insects as food leaves a tiny ecological footprint compared to cattle. It’s good for the planet. Some people who turned to veganism for ecological reasons are starting to include bugs in their diet.
Insects such as crickets are a complete protein, have dietary fiber, include mostly unsaturated fat, and contain some vitamins and essential minerals. Weight for weight, crickets contain 2 to 3 times more complete protein as beef, more iron, more vitamins, and more fiber.
What is cricket flour and how to use cricket flour
If you are not quite ready to chow down on a plate of crickets, starting off with cricket flour is a really easy way to go. Now all crickets are not created equal, but once you have the right ones, raise them till they are 6 to 8 weeks old, dry them out, and mill them into a flour.
The texture is like a very fine cornmeal and the taste is a bit nutty and reminds me of Ovaltine. Cricket powder has almost no carbs and is gluten-free.
The internet now offers up thousands of suggestions for cricket flour recipes. A good rule of thumb when it comes to baking is to replace 10 to 15 percent by weight of your flour with cricket powder.
For a savory dish, adding about a 1/4 cup to a recipe is a great way to up the protein intake. A 1/4 cup has about 21 grams of protein! You can add it to a stew, a soup, spaghetti sauce, a casserole, anything you like. I promise you won’t even know it is there.
Like I said before, you can add about a 1/4 cup of cricket powder to any dish and no one will be the wiser. That is exactly what I did this Thai recipe found here. Remember I mentioned that Thailand was one happy cricket eating country.
And I said I was giving a little nod to Mexico as well. Crickets are also popular in the Mexican diet. And I decorated my dish with a few edible marigold flowers I grew myself this summer. Marigolds are very significant in the Mexican culture, particularly during the Dia de Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. They say that marigolds use their color and scent to guide the spirits to their respective altars during this Mexican celebration which begins on October 31st.
By the way, normally you would use a regular orange sweet potato but I came across a purple sweet potato, well I should say white sweet potato with a purple sweet potato skin. This variety is known as a Japanese sweet potato. Who knew there were so many types of sweet potatoes?
This recipe makes about 4 hefty main meal portions if you serve this as a main sweet potato dinner with rice. As a sweet potato side dish, you will get about 8 portions.
Yields 4 portions
Thai Sweet Potato Curry Cricket Recipe
Looking for a new source of protein? Cricket flour might be the answer. A quarter cup revamped this classic into a Thai Sweet Potato Curry Cricket Recipe.
Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and fragrant. Add the cubed sweet potatoes and stir to coat. Add curry paste and stir to coat as well.
Stir in the coconut milk (1 can for a thick curry, 2 for more sauce) and broth to the pan, lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. add the spinach and stir until wilted.
Add half a cup each of the peanuts and cilantro on top, and the cricket flour. Stir everything in gently. Add a splash of fish sauce to taste.
Serve in bowls over the rice and top with remaining peanuts and cilantro.
Check out all the wonderful Halloween around the World recipes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!