Odisha’s Tribal Staple, Red Ant Chutney Gets GI Tag; Here’s What’s Special About This Superfood  

Red ant chutney is a delicacy that originates from Odisha, it's known to be a delicious source of protein.

by Sanjana Shenoy
Odisha’s Tribal Staple, Red Ant Chutney Gets GI Tag; Here’s What’s Special About This Superfood  

Did you know Odisha has a tribal staple called Red Ant Chutney? More importantly, did you know this red ant chutney was recently awarded the geographical indication (GI) tag? Well, read on to know what is special about this unique chutney which originates from the tribal community of Odisha and how this delicacy is an underrated superfood.

Odisha’s Red Ant Chutney Originates From Tribal Communities

Picture Credits: Canva

“Kai Chutney” also known as “Red Ant Chutney” is a condiment from Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district. This chutney or semi solid paste is made of red weaver ants or Oecophylla smaragdina. Commonly found in Similipal and Mayurbhanj forests, they are known for causing extremely painful stings which lead to blisters on one’s skin. For long, hundreds of tribal families in this district have consumed this condiment as a staple.

Tribal families in Similipal and Mayurbhanj forests earned a living by collecting these insects and preparing chutneys. The ants and their eggs once collected from their nests are then cleaned before being used. To make the red ant chutneys, tribals would grind a mixture of ginger, garlic, chillies and salt. Apart from Odisha, you can find red ant chutneys in states like Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand.

Also Read: Odisha-Bound Flight Faces Technical Snag Mid-Air; Returns To Kolkata Airport In Less Than An Hour

What Are Its Health Benefits?

Picture Credits: Canva

On January 2, 2024, Odisha’s tribal staple, red ant chutney got a GI tag. This red tangy chutney is often lauded for its medicinal and nutritional properties.

Here’s a list of benefits of consuming this superfood

  • It’s rich in Vitamin B12, magnesium and potassium
  • it replenishes your body with protein and zinc
  • It’s known to soothe depression and fatigue
  • This chutney helps develop a healthy brain and nervous system
  • It’s used to treat memory loss
  • This chutney will cure cold, cough, body pain and fever

Apart from being a vital ingredient in chutneys, tribals also use these red weaver ants to prepare soup and ointments. The integration of insects as a vital protein source is proposed to combat environmental challenges and reduce emissions. This is an approach to ensure our diets are sustainable and rich in nutrients in the future.

Also Read: Odisha’s Similipal National Park Reopens For Tourists After Month-Long Shutdown

So, are you interested in trying this delicacy the next time you are in Odisha?

Cover Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons and Canva

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