Insects are extremely nutritious and have a very high protein content (many rivaling, or even surpassing that of beef). They are a favorite snack food in many Southeast Asian countries; in Thailand, for example, you’ll find heaps of various fried, roasted, dried, and seasoned creepy crawlies on the tables of street vendors. They are also consumed traditionally in other parts of Asia, South America, Africa and Australia.
More recently, they have been investigated as a cheap, more ecological and ethical replacement for meat, as well as a protein source in post workout snacks. A quick search will bring you to a myriad companies such as Exoprotein, Sens and Naak, selling the new, trendy “superfood”. (for a pretty hefty price however…)
So, why not try to combine two main sources of protein and make our very own (and cheaper) version?
Here we’ve combined, dehydrated pig’s blood and crickets (Locusta migratoria) with a base of date paste as a binder. The result was delicious, sweet and nutty, with a pleasant, slightly crunchy texture from the roughly ground insects.
Here’s how to proceed if you’d like to try it yourself.
Because this was a very small experimental batch, proportions might not be very accurate. We’ll be updating these as we experiment with bigger batches.
Ingredients (for 6 balls)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp date paste (How to here)
- 4 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp lupin flour
- 2 Tbsp oat flour ( + 1 Tbsp rolled oats)
- 1 1/2 Tsp carob powder
- 3 Tbsp fresh blood (1Tbsp blood powder + 3 Tbsp water)
- 5 Tbsp cricket flour
- 1 Tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 Tbsp flax seeds
To coat (optional)
They’re delicious without any sort of coating, but if you’d like some extra flavour, here are a couple options :
- unsweetened coconut flakes
- seeds : sesame, hemp, flax, chia…
- cocoa/carob + cocoa nibs
- maca powder, kinako, spirulina…
- In a small pan over low fire, heat up the water and date paste while whisking, until you get a homogeneous mixture.
- Add the lupin and oats and cook until the mixtures starts to thicken. (2-3 mins)
- Add the blood and carob powder. Continue cooking a short while (1-2). At this point, the mixture should have a dough-like texture in the pan and form a ball.
- Remove from the pan, and into a bowl, add the seeds, and cricket flour.
- Shape into balls and add coating of your choice. (cocoa, carob, coconut, seeds…etc)
- Place in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up (or in the freezer for longer conservation, take them out about 15 minutes before eating)
Notes and Tips:
I did not have prepared cricket powder. I simply ground food grade (safely edible, pesticide free) dried crickets after removing the legs and wings. Actual powder might be denser and heavier, so adjust accordingly.
If the dough comes out too soft, add a little bit of oats until it holds its shape well and doesn’t stick so much to your hands.
Insect meals can be used in many other baking preparations, though keep in mind they are not straight up replacements for flour itself. They may need to be blended with other flours to make them viable, as they lack gluten which is important for the success of certain preparations.