This photo was taken last month during one of my work trips to Bongaigaon, Assam. I had taken the Goalpara route and it was my first time in that part of my state. We had stopped at a place called Dudhnoi for breakfast and it was where I saw a lady selling the above silkworms along with many other ethnic food items like bhoot jolokia (ghost chilies), black rice, homegrown ginger, pigeons & chicken, etc.
The above are Eri silkworms and are one of the delectable food items in the NE Region, especially Assam (sadly I haven’t tasted any as yet). It is also enjoyed by people of other Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand & Singapore. Out here, it is basically deep fried and served as finger food with rice beer, etc. An excerpt about this food item –
For the tribal people in NE India, the eri pupa is considered a delicacy, whereas the cocoon is more or less a by-product. The species is an ideal example of sustainable agriculture, which produces silk and a pupa that is a high-protein food or animal feed, and the caterpillar and other rearing residues can be used for fishpond culture. Silkworm pupae have been used in Chinese traditional medicines since ancient times . Pharmacological studies have shown that silkworm pupae increase immunity, protect the liver and prevent cancer. (Source:http://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/100/03/0279.pdf)
Have any of you heard about or eaten this indigenous food item?
Some related links:-