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Updated January 10th, 2024 at 13:05 IST

Odisha's red ant chutney gets GI tag: Origin, benefits, recipe, and more about this superfood

Researchers have found several health benefits that are associated with the consumption of red ant chutney. Everything you need to know about this superfood.

Reported by: Republic Lifestyle Desk
Odisha's red ant chutney gets GI tag: Origin, benefits, recipe, and more about this superfood
Odisha's red ant chutney gets GI tag: Origin, benefits, recipe, and more about this superfood | Image:X/@food_nxt
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In the last few months, we have seen many of India’s local delights get the GI (Geographical indication) tag and one more dish has been added to the list. In Odisha's Mayurbhanj district, red ants are used to produce a chutney which is known for its medicine and nutritional properties. The chutney is more like a watery semi-solid paste and is called Kai Chutney. On January 2, this bizarre dish was awarded with the GI tag.

But what exactly is this dish and what benefits does it offer? Let’s find out. 

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What is red ant chutney?

In various global communities, insects have served as a nutritious source to cure many diseases. This practice is known as entomophagy. The red weaver ants, scientifically known as Oecophylla smaragdina, are commonly found in the forests of Mayurbhanj. Hundreds of tribal families have been making a living by collecting and selling these insects and chutneys. 

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File photo of red ant | Image: Unsplash 

The chutney is made by grinding a mixture of salt, ginger, garlic, and chilies.

The process, however, is not as easy as it may seem. The male ants are ferocious and can cause stings and bites that are very painful. Once caught, these ants are crushed, washed and dried. 

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Benefits of red ant chutney 

Researchers have found several health benefits that are associated with its consumption. This chutney is believed to be a great remedy for cough, flu, difficulty in breathing, cold, fatigue, and much more. 

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The ants and their eggs also contain formic acid. This is known to fight bacteria in the human digestive system. 

Additionally, the chutney contains high quantities of zinc, calcium and protein, which is considered to be beneficial for the immune system. 

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File photo of red ant chutney | Image: X/@food_nxt

GI tag

Several researches were conducted to understand its benefits before the GI tag was given to this dish. The studies aimed at providing validation to the claims associated with the chutney. 

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Published January 10th, 2024 at 11:08 IST

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