Entomophagic Anju: Tasty Insect Snacks To Enjoy While Drinking

Edible Insects: Crickets and Kkwarigochu in a Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce

ENTOMOPHAGIC ANJU #1

Crickets & Kkwarigochu in a Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce

I asked my friends if they would like to sample some edible insects as a snack…and all I heard was…crickets.

For most of them, it turns out that eating intact insects was intimidating. Go figure. But add in the effects of an alcoholic beverage or two, inhibitions disappear and these same friends become amenable to giving my bug-centric snacks a try.

In Korean, there is a word for food meant to be consumed with alcohol – Anju. In English, there is a word for consuming insects – Entomophagy. Here I present an Entomophagic Anju: Tasty Insect Snacks To Enjoy While Drinking. Let’s get the party started with some cold beers.

Edible Insects: Crickets and Kkwarigochu in a Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce

Feeling loosened up and ready to indulge in the first anju, my friends gave rave reviews to Crickets & Kkwarigochu. The recipe was inspired by the popular Korean banchan (side dish) myulchi bokkeum (stir-fried anchovy) and it is positively addicting.

Salted stir-fried crickets are coated with a sweet, sticky, garlicky sauce. Kkwarigochu (aka shishito peppers in Japanese) are blistered in a hot wok with a bit of oil. Kkwarigochu are thin-walled mild peppers with a fresh green vegetal flavor and just a whisper of heat. But beware, every once in a while, there’s a hot one in the bunch! Paired with cold refreshing Hite beer, this entomophagic anju was a big hit!

The crickets (aka house crickets, Acheta domestica) have been raised in California for human consumption on a diet of apples and bananas. They are then cooked and dried to produce a crispy, crunchy snack or ingredient with a wheat-y flavor. The entire cricket is edible & no other ingredients are added. (From Marx Foods here).

Crickets & Kkwarigochu Recipe

Edible Insects: Crickets and Kkwarigochu in a Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce

Crickets:

Crickets straight from the package, while already cooked, have an earthy, flour-y taste that becomes quite delicious when stir-fried in olive oil and seasoned with sea salt. Heat oil in a nonstick wok over medium heat. Add crickets and stir-fry gently until crisp and golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with sea salt. Set aside.

Edible Crickets

 Kkwarigochu:

  • 1/4 lb. kkwarigochu (shishito peppers)
  • 1 t. peanut oil
  • sea salt

Heat oil in a nonstick wok over high heat. Add kkwarigochu and toss until the skins are blistered. Season with sea salt.

Kkwarigochu

Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce:

  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 2 T. mirin, high-quality (read about mirin here)
  • 2 T. water
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1 t. minced garlic

Boil ingredients in a small pan until slightly syrupy.

Composition:

  • toasted sesame seeds

Place kkwarigochu in a bowl, top with crickets. Pour sauce over the crickets and kkwarigochu. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Edible Insects: Crickets and Kkwarigochu in a Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce

ENTOMOPHAGIC ANJU #2

Kimchi & Beetle Larvae Jeon (Pancake)

Edible Insects: Kimchi and Beetle Larvae Jeon (Pancake)

Kimchi’s spicy, salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami, fermented flavors – when added to a savory pancake batter results in an extraordinary snack. Complex in flavor with textures ranging from chewy to crispy and a delightful orange-hue, guests can’t get enough of this popular anju. Adding beetle larvae to the jeon introduces protein, crunch, and visual shock appeal. Pair with plenty of cold makkoli (Korean rice wine) and friends will start begging for more beetle larvae recipes.

These beetle larvae (aka mealworms, Tenebrio molitor) have been raised in California for human consumption on a diet of apples & bananas. They are then cooked & dried to produce a crispy, crunchy snack or ingredient with a nutty, toasty flavor. The entire larva is edible. No other ingredients are added. (From Marx Foods here).

Edible Beetle Larvae

Kimchi and Beetle Larvae Jeon (Pancake) Recipe

Edible Insects: Kimchi and Beetle Larvae Jeon (Pancake)

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. rice flour
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. garlic powder
  • 1/4 t. onion powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 c. cold water
  • 1/4 c. kimchi juice
  • 1 1/2 c. napa cabbage kimchi (coarsely chopped)
  • 100 count beetle larvae
  • scallions, sliced, for garnish
  • canola oil for frying

makkoli (Korean rice wine)

Method:

To make the batter, mix all the dry ingredients (through salt) together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the water. Add kimchi juice and whisk until the batter is completely blended and there are no lumps. The batter should be of medium-light consistency, not too thick, add a bit more water if necessary. This amount of batter makes about three pancakes depending on the size of the pan.
Edible Insects: Kimchi and Beetle Larvae Jeon (Pancake)

Sauté coarsely chopped kimchi in a bit of canola oil for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the kimchi, wipe the pan, add more oil to coat the entire bottom of the pan, then add beetle larvae to the hot oil. Top the beetle larvae with the cooked kimchi. Ladle batter over the kimchi, tilting the pan to distribute the batter. Cook 4 to 5 minutes until the bottom is browned and the kimchi is caramelized. Cook the top of the pancake under the broiler until the pancake is firm and cooked through. Invert onto a platter. Top with scallions. Slice the kimchi jeon into small wedges and serve with dipping sauce.

kimchi jeon dip

Dipping Sauce:

  •  3 T. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 T. seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T. toasted sesame oil
  • a few shakes of sesame seeds
  • a few shakes of gochugaru (red pepper powder)

Edible Insects: Kimchi and Beetle Larvae Jeon (Pancake)

Notes on Eating Bugs:

  • Do not eat raw insects, they may contain parasites. Insects should be cooked before eating.
  • Eating insects may trigger an allergic reaction, especially in people with shellfish allergies.
  • Eat bugs in moderation.

Edible Insects: Crickets, Silkworms, Beetle Larvae

Notes on Marx Foods Edible Insects Recipe Challenge:

  • Marx Foods provided me with crickets, silkworms, and beetle larvae. Thanks Marx Foods!
  • Both recipes are original. And they rock!
  • The vote for the winner of the Edible Insects Recipe Challenge will run from Tuesday 10/20 through Sunday 10/25.

Edible Insects: Kimchi and Beetle Larvae Jeon (Pancake)

Highly sustainable, nutritious, and protein-rich – might edible insects be the food of the future?

Edible-Insects-Contest-WINNER

UPDATE: 10/28/15

WINNER!

Edible Insects Recipe Challenge from Marx Foods:

Six adventurous food bloggers recently participated in our Edible Insects Recipe Challenge. Each blogger was asked to create a delicious recipe that heavily featured at least one of the three varieties of edible insects we sent them (CricketsBeetle Larvae, and Silkworms). We were blown away by their creative recipes, which included everything from snacks, to main courses, and desserts.

We had the hard task of choosing one of the winners ourselves in our internal poll, but were happy to have your help choosing our second winner in the public vote.

After tallying up the votes, we’re pleased to announce our two winners: CuliNex and Taste With The Eyes!

CuliNex swept our public vote with their creative use of the edible insects. Their crowd-pleasing recipes were innovative and delicious.

Taste With The Eyes came out on top in our internal vote. Lori Lynn’s beautiful photography and incredible recipes really made the insects the star of the show. Her adventurous but accessible dishes are ones that we’d be truly excited to eat!

Crickets & Kkwarigochu in a Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce

Congrats to CuliNex and Thank You Marx Foods!

5 thoughts on “Entomophagic Anju: Tasty Insect Snacks To Enjoy While Drinking”

  1. Great photo. You sure know how to make anything look good! Perhaps if you are on Survivor and starving… you may just scarf this up (lol)

  2. My hat’s off to you for trying these little critters! I’ve heard good things about them—and even though I consider myself to be an adventurous eating, I’ve never quite gotten up the gumption to try them!

    1. Hi Frank – edible insects were intimidating at first, but the more research I did, the more comfortable I became with them. It was a fun project. I still have a silkworm recipe to share 🙂 Let me know if you try them one day!
      LL

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