How we cooked our caterpillars

I’ve posted a couple of recipes for cooking caterpillars before, both of which followed the exact quantities and steps used by women in Burkina Faso; you can find them here and here.

But although I realise recipes are pretty important, I dont like to use them, because smelling, tasting and adjusting accordingly are all a lot more fun than checking your screen/recipe book every few minutes.

For the I&W launch party,  these are the steps we took to cook our caterpillars:

Ingredients

  • 3 handfuls of dried caterpillars
  • Tsp salt
  • 2 small onions
  • Oil (enough to saute the ingredients; sunflower oil works well)
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Spice
  1. I threw the dried caterpillars in a pan of boiling water with a  pinch of salt, and boiled them for at least a couple of hours, to soften them. It seems to take longer to soften caterpillars in the UK, compared to Burkina, and I’m not sure why, but I always soak/boil them for as long as I can. After boiling they’ll keep in the fridge for a day or so before you cook them.
  2. I chopped the heads off the caterpillars and sliced each caterpillar in half. This is pretty time consuming, and only really necessary if you reckon the people you’re serving are either a) squeamish about eating caterpillars or b) very particular about how they like thier caterpillars!
  3. I chopped the onion and sauteed it in the oil on a low heat.
  4. I chopped the tomato and garlic too, and added these shortly after. As the onions started to turn translucent, I added the softened and chopped caterpillars.
  5. I sauteed them for at least 10 minutes. A couple of minutes before taking them off the heat, I added a few spices that I found in Chris’ kitchen. I think I used some paprika (smoked paprika would be great here), a bit of cayenne pepper, and some black pepper.
  6. Then, we served them! And in case you haven’t already read it, here‘s a description of how they tasted and the wines they paired best with.
Caterpillars sauteed with onions and tomatoes