Odishas Unique Red Ant Chutney Granted Geographical Indication (GI) Tag

In the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, there’s a unique dish that’s making waves – it’s called “Kai Chutney,” and guess what? It’s made with red weaver ants! Now, these ants have a sting that leaves a painful bump behind. But the locals turn these little creatures into a spicy chutney, and it’s so good that it just got a special recognition. On January 2, 2024, the Kai Chutney officially got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. But why is this chutney getting so much attention? It turns out, it’s not just tasty; it’s also loaded with good stuff.
The red ant chutney is an exceptional creation, incorporating red weaver ants, scientifically referred to as Oecophylla smaragdina. These ants, known for their potent sting-causing skin blisters, thrive in the verdant forests of Mayurbhanj, including the famed Similipal forests, the second-largest biosphere in Asia.

How The Red Ants Chutney Is Made:

Jagannath Patra, a scientist at the Krishna Vision Center, detailed the intricate process behind making this unique chutney. Initially, the ants and their eggs undergo a drying process. Subsequently, a blend of garlic, ginger, coriander leaves, cardamom, tamarind, salt, and a touch of sugar is added to enhance its flavour. The resulting mixture is carefully stored in glassware, boasting a shelf life of up to one year.
Patra told Mint, “When needed, leafy nests housing the ants are carefully plucked from their host trees, then gathered in a bucket of water. After meticulous sorting and separation from leaves and debris, the preferred larval and adult stages of the ants are either consumed raw or transformed into a delectable ‘chutney’ through the addition of spicy ingredients.”
Also Read: Video Of Food Vlogger Trying Ant Cocktail Leaves Internet Divided

What’s Special About Red Ants Chutney:

Scientists from the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology found out that these ants are packed with proteins, calcium, zinc, vitamin B-12, and more. Eating them can boost your immune system, help your eyesight, and even make your brain and nervous system healthy. It’s like a tiny superhero in your chutney!
For numerous tribal families in Mayurbhanj, the collection and sale of these insects and chutneys serve as a vital source of income. Similar red ant chutneys are also prevalent in neighbouring eastern states such as Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

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