AN OVERVIEW OF EDIBLE INSECTS IN EASTERN HIMALAYAS: INDIGENOUS TRADITIONAL FOOD OF TRIBALíSSamik Chowdhury, Pritin P. Sontakke, Jayashree Bhattacharjee, Debashre Bhattacharjee, Amit Debnath, Arvind Kumar and Jayasree Datta
Edible insects are good source of supplement food item that could meet the people present and future need. In some parts of the world insect are used for human food, while being a taboo in other places and cultural groups. Edible insects are natural renewable resource that provides food and economical safety to many ethnic groups in Eastern Himalayas. The present study deals with the different edible insects consumed by the different ethnic communities and tribes inhabited in Eastern Himalayan. Red ants are one of the food items in Assamese festival like Bohag Bihu especially by the Mishing Tribe and Ahom Community. The adult termites are eaten fried by the tribal communities of Manipur, Assam and Nagaland which is rich source of protein, fat and essential amino acids. Most of the tribal communities in North Eastern India prefer pre pupal stage of Eri pupa for consumption. Manipuri¬ís preferred special recipe of snail which is made in combination with dry fish, locally called Tharoi thongba whereas, Manipur tribal consumed the giant water bug by pushing the dry rice inside the body and boiled it. Honey bees are mostly eaten in Assam and Manipur by making chutney, fry and bakery product. Grasshopper, field cricket are simply fried with salt, chilly spices and mustard oil and consumed directly. Hence, the edible insect can be comparable with other conventional food products by integrating scientific cultivation and validation to the traditional wisdom for livelihood development of the tribal¬ís.
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