Expletives would have flown from my lips like a plague of (un-fried) locusts swarming across Egypt.
I began with fried grasshoppers
There was no plump shiny hexapod to contend with – only a creamy textured dish with an incredible taste.
Just like the big felt-hatted US variety with fashion-murdering flares and platform heels as featured in 'Austin Powers'.
Water beetle & catfish dip recipe
2 ea. small catfish
2 ea lemongrass sticks
salt to taste
water for poaching fish
3 ea. maeng da water beetles – 3 each
3 ea Thai green chillies – toasted over a gas or wood fire flame
4 ea. garlic cloves
salt – to taste
1 dsp toasted dry red chilli flakes – 1 dsp
2 dsp coriander – chopped fresh at the last minute
1-2 ea spring onion
- Put catfish in a pot with water, crushed lemongrass twisted into a knot, and some salt to taste
- Simmer gently 5-8 minutes until cooked through.
- Remove the fish – take the flesh off the bones and set aside.
- Strain and reserve the fish cooking liquid (lemongrass fish stock)
- Skewer the Maeng Da water beetles
- Hold over a gas flame and toast for a minute or two until cooked through and aromatic
- Add the garlic to a mortar and pestle and crush by pounding
- Add the flame roasted chillies and mpound also to combine with the garlic.
- Finely chop the whole Maeng Da beetles and pound to a soft paste until the shells are puréed video here
- Add the fish and pound to a paste video here
- Add the toasted chilli flakes, coriander and chopped spring onion.
- Stir in enough of the lemongrass & fish poaching water to bring it to a soft dipping consistency.
- Mix together to combine
- Serve and top with freshly chopped spring onion.
- Serve with fresh boiled vegetables.
We used boiled baby loofah (gourd) and Thai 'praya' eggplants, boiled until soft. Plus the ubiquitous steamed white sticky rice of course
The meat is used as the base for the dip and the stock/broth is used to thin the dip
Chillies are also flame roasted and pounded with garlic in the mortar and pestle
Chop up by shredding finely. Then you have to pound them to a puree with the garlic and chilli
Add the boneless fish which has been poached with lemongrass. This is the base of the dip"