Amloi Tup: The Significance Of Red Ant Eggs In Assamese Cuisine

Assamese cuisine offers a host of creative ways to consume indigenous produce and native ingredients. Amloi poruar tup or red ant eggs are a part of traditional cuisine of Assam and this rare delicacy is generally consumed during Rongali Bihu on the month of April. Itnparticularly refers to the eggs of red weaver ants and it’s a custom to prepare Amloi Tup with duck eggs specially on the 2nd day of Bohag Bihu which is also known as Manuh Bihu. 

Red ant eggs are typically harvested during the monsoon season when the ants are actively nesting. Red ants often nest in mango and jackfruit trees and lay eggs during spring season. During Bihu red ant eggs are collected from trees and they’re a delicacy enjoyed by certain tribal communities in Assam and they’re prepared in most households during harvest festivals. Red ant eggs have been consumed in Assam for centuries and are considered a delicacy enjoyed by people of all ages.

The harvesting and consumption of red ant eggs reflect the resourcefulness and resilience of indigenous communities who have long depended on forest resources for sustenance. Red ant eggs are a seasonal delicacy that is eagerly anticipated during the monsoon season.

Red ant eggs are an excellent source of protein, making them a valuable dietary component, especially in regions where access to meat is limited. Red ant eggs contain essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin B, iron, and calcium, which are vital for overall health and well-being. These eggs are low in calories and fat, making them a nutritious option. Despite their popularity, Assamese is not the only cuusine which has made use of ant eggs.

Odisha’s red ant chutney earned a GI tag recently; the Kai chutney from Mayurbhanj is made with red weaver ants commonly found in the Similipal forests znc is made by grinding a blend of salt, ginger, garlic, and chillies. The chutney also has nutritional benefits as it helps in getting rid of flu, common cold, whooping cough, to increase appetite, enhance vision and eyesight naturally. 

Chhattisgarh also has a tradition of consuming red ant eggs, with Chapada chtueny. Red ants are found in abundance in sal wood / mango forests of Chhattisgarh during summer and this chutney is particularly famous in the Bastar region of the state.

Beyind Indian regional cuisines, certain African and South Asian cuisines also make use of ant eggs. One of the most renowned Thai dishes featuring red ants is "Maeng Mun," a salad that incorporates a mix of red ant eggs, young bamboo shoots, and a variety of herbs and spices.  In Botswana red ant stews are consumed by the indigenoius population after they are harvested, cleaned, and then cooked with a medley of local spices,