Small and almost caviar-like in texture, red ant eggs are quite literally that: eggs and pupae of the Thai red ant, harvested and cooked. They are usually sold in cans and give a salty pop reminiscent of rinsed capers. Don't let the sight of them put you off though - they're texturally very mild and not particularly polarising. These aren't creamy like maggots or crispy like crickets. Instead, they have only a slight crunch, before giving way to the salty sourish brine that they're canned in.
Use them as a topping on salads, scrambled in an omelette or frittata, or even in your stir-fries for a bit of texture. Given that you mostly buy them as a cooked product, the possibilities are endless as to what you can add them to.
So, how did our judges do in the red ant egg blind taste-test?
(Go ahead and taste it)
[Dan] Ok, wait. Just let me think...
[Melissa] Oniony...spring-oniony, kind of.
[Dan] I'm thinking of the cuisines that (we're covering for The Chefs' Line). That's what I'm thinking
[Melissa] Oh you're smart, that's a good one.
[Mark] I think I might have it.
[Melissa] I don't have it. It's savoury...
[Dan] I'm wrong. I'm just taking a wild guess.
(Mark for the win! It's ant eggs)
[Dan and Melissa] OHHHHHHHH.
[Dan] It had the texture of ants! I had a feeling!
[Mark] (laughs) I had this on a holiday. You can have green ant eggs too? They're nice. Same texture. Salty...(You would have them in a) salad. Yeah.
[Dan] Thai cuisine! The Vietnamese don't eat ant's eggs.
[Mark] You don't have green ant's eggs?
[Dan] I've only had the white ones... I've eaten them more in Mexico, actually. Escamoles.
[Melissa] I've never eaten ant's eggs.
The Chefs' Line is back for round 2 and this week it's Thai week. Home cooks versus restaurant chefs are getting ready to rumble in our kitchen 6pm weeknights starting Monday, August 6 on SBS and then on SBS On Demand. Visit the program page for recipes, videos, cooking tips and more.
This recipe celebrates plain-ness. The traditional recipe from Malaysia and Indonesia turns out an unassuming brown cake. However, the technique employed in beating air bubbles into the batter and allowing the baking soda to do its work creates holes in the structure of the cake. So, the plain-looking cake actually has a very unusual texture. This is an aesthetic that characterises the way I like to work.