Fried Cicadas–Let’s Get Cooking, China
An old adage is that the way to a man’s (or woman’s) heart is through his or her stomach, so it’s probably a good idea for all of us to know at least a few tasty dishes.
However, most of my Chinese students don’t get a chance to get near a kitchen since they are supposed to be studying all the time, but it would be good for them to know how to cook at least a few dishes. With that in mind, one of the last assignments of the summer school term was for each of my students to bring in a recipe to be shared. In class, students were to tell why the dish is important or meaningful. It might be a special dish from the student’s hometown, what the student’s grandmother always prepares, or something the student knows how to cook.
I wanted to encourage the students to increase their skills (and for Barry and me to get Chinese cooking instructions).
Something you may not have considered as edible are cicadas.
The other students moaned when Crystal presented these recipe ideas, so it is likely none of us will actually try them.
However, Crystal’s recipes can be something new for you to consider.
Crystal says that cicadas can be cooked in a large stir-frying pan in a way similar to popcorn. She says the taste is similar to the “crispy edges of the egg white of a fried egg.” They take on the flavor of the sauce you use.
One popular way to prepare cicadas is to saute them in butter with crushed garlic and basil.
Before you start your cooking, however, she says you need to remove all the hard parts: wings, legs and head. These parts don’t contain much of the meat and may be very sharp, so it’s best to get rid of them.
Cicadas can also be dry-roasted on a stick like a marshmallow or a sish-kakob over a fire.
Other “popular” cicada recipes include cicada stir-fry and cicada dumplings.
Deep fried cicadas taste best when eaten with hot mustard, cocktail sauce, or lobster sauce.
Cicadas can also be roasted, which tends to give them a “nutty”, or almondlike, flavor.
Crystal got her recipes from http://cicadainvasion.blogspot.com/2011/04/if-you-cant-beat-em-eat-em-cicada.html)
She recommends collecting the cicadas early in the morning when the dew is still on the ground and the cicadas are still drowsy.
Crystal is from the town of Lishui, (which means “beautiful water”) in the southwest of Zhejiang Province. She is a cheerful student, now a ZAFU sophomore, who likes to play ping pong and dreams of coming to America.
Now when I hear the chirping of summer cicadas, I think of Crystal and her recipes.
Zài Jiàn and Aloha, Renée