Unlike heavily armored grasshoppers, beetles, and other land anthropods, tarantulas wear an outer layer of chitin that is comparatively thin and pliable. That's right: their eight muscular limbs are chewy, not crunchy. As such, the plentiful meat on one of these animals is more accessible and, hence, the makings for a savory spider soirée.
For the tempura batter
- 1 medium egg
- 1/2 Cup cold water
- 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
For the deep-fried tarantula
- 2 Cups canola or vegetable oil
- 2 frozen adult Texas brown, Chilean rose, or similar-sized tarantulas, thawed
- 1 Cup tempura
- 1 Teaspoon smoked paprika
Chewy Deep-Fried Tarantula Spider recipe: From 'The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook'
The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook has been revised and updated for its 15th anniversary and author and self-proclaimed "Bug Chef" David George Gordon shares his ideas on how to make roaches and bees and crickets and centipedes more appetizing and palatable. He's even found a way to get the more adventurous to eat big hairy tarantula spiders.
Sure, it sounds like the ultimate revenge for an arachnophobe: Take one of the biggest spiders in the world, a tarantula, and boil it in scalding oil -- then eat it. (Cue the evil self-satisfied laughter.) But it isn't some type of revenge or even a form of confrontation therapy (although if someone uses this, this author wants full credit for this line of therapeutic treatment). It's an actual recipe in The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook -- in its latest "Revised" edition.
So how would you go about cooking some creepy-crawly that most people wouldn't go within a mile of (without protective glass walls)? You batter them first and deep-fry them, says Gordon.
"I singe off the hairs, dip them in tempura batter and then deep-fry them," he laughed in his interview with Business Insider (via Yahoo Finance). "I always say I'll eat anything deep-fried!"
As for eating them, Gordon is all about texture. "Tarantulas have a body armor that's very pliable," Gordon said. "Their legs are full of this long white muscle, and people are always surprised by how chewy they are."
Deep-Fried Tarantula Spiders are just one of the many somewhat strange but fascinating recipes David George Gordon has created to make dining on bugs more enjoyable. Noting that 80 percent of the world eats bugs on a regular basis, he says the West are the "weirdos" when it comes to bug cuisine. "Western ideas about taste are pretty narrowly-defined," he pointed out.
But he doesn't suggest tarantulas for the beginning bug eater. He recommends crickets, which he noted are light and crunchy. He also suggested they be frozen, "so they don't hop around in the saucepan."
But Gordon's favorite of all? Wax worms. He said he enjoys them because they are surprisingly sweet (because they eat honey throughout their lives). And they're cheap, available at most bait and tackle shops. He uses them in white chocolate and wax worm cookies. Their taste? He told the Business Insider they taste "a little bit like pistachio nuts."
The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook was first published in 1998. He got the idea for the cookbook when he was writing The Compleat Cockroach (1996) and discovered just how edible and nutritious the ubiquitous insects actually are. The original cookbook contained 33 recipes. The new revised edition contains 40.
Gordon has written 19 books to date on a wide variety of animal topics, including books on whales, snails, sharks, horses, dolphins, and, of course, cockroaches and tarantulas.
"Do I expect the whole world to start eating bugs?" he asked. "No, but I want to make people question their ideas about what's acceptable to eat and where those ideas come from," he said. "We eat chicken eggs, and that's kind of weird when you really think about it."
Gordon tours the country performing and cooking, sharing his culinary ideas.
Here's his Deep-Fried Tarantula Spider recipe:
2 cups canola or vegetable oil
2 frozen adult Texas brown, Chilean rose, or similar-sized tarantulas, thawed
1 cup tempura batter (scroll to recipe further down)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1. In a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 350°F.
2. Take a sharp knife, sever abdomens from the two tarantulas, then discard. Singe off spider’s body hairs with a crème brûlée torch or butane cigarette lighter.
3. Dip spiders into tempura batter, thoroughly coat. Use slotted spoon or your hands to make sure each spiders' legs are spread "spread-eagled (so to speak)," Gordon writes) and not clumped together. Then drop spider into hot oil.
4. Deep-fry the spiders, one at a time, until the batter is lightly browned (about 1 minute). Remove spiders from oil, place on paper towels to drain.
5. Take knife, cut each spider in two lengthwise. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.
1 medium egg
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1. Beat egg in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Slowly add cold water, continuing to beat until evenly mixed. Add flour and baking soda and beat gently until combined. Batter will appear a bit lumpy.
2. Let batter sit at room temperature while heating the oil for deep-frying.
Suggestion by David George Gordon: "Encourage your guests to try the legs first and, if still hungry, to nibble on the meat-filled mesothorax, avoiding the spider’s paired fangs, which are tucked away in the head region."
Edible spiders: deep fried tarantula
And yes, we spot a few street carts with a collection of insects and other critters on display.
Luc has looked up a place on Tripadvisor that apparently makes a mean deep fried tarantula.
And that is how we end up at Romdeng .
And we are happy to have lunch in the city instead of on the river cruise ship since we haven’t seen a lot of typical Cambodian dishes for lunch or dinner.
We order amok trey, beef and basil with fire ants.
1. On four salad plates, arrange the spinach, adding a layer of pear slices to the heap.
2. Sprinkle the bell pepper and shallots over the pears. Splash each salad with about 1/2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
3. Add the shaved cheese to the salads and sprinkle the ants over the cheese.
4. Feeling antsy? Your salads are now ready to be served.
Deep-Fried Tarantula Spider
2 cups canola or vegetable oil
2 frozen adult Texas brown, Chilean rose, or similar-sized tarantulas, thawed
1 cup tempura batter (scroll down)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika.
1.In a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer, heat the oil to 350°F.
2. With a sharp knife, sever and discard the abdomens from the two tarantulas. Singe off any of the spider’s body hairs with a crème brûlée torch or butane cigarette lighter.
3. Dip each spider into the tempura batter to thoroughly coat. Use a slotted spoon or your hands to make sure each spider is spread-eagled (so to speak) and not clumped together before dropping it into the hot oil.
4. Deep-fry the spiders, one at a time, until the batter is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Remove each spider from the oil and place it on paper towels to drain.
5. Use a sharp knife to cut each spider in two lengthwise. Sprinkle with the paprika and serve. Encourage your guests to try the legs first and, if still hungry, to nibble on the meat-filled mesothorax, avoiding the spider’s paired fangs, which are tucked away in the head region.
1. To make the batter, beat the egg in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Slowly add the cold water, continuing to beat until evenly mixed. Add the flour and baking soda and beat gently until combined the batter should be a bit lumpy.
Adventure Food: Fried Tarantulas make a perfect snack
Fried spider is a popular and favorite dish is Cambodia. They are a specialty snack that also attract the tourist population here. They are also bred in special holes in the villages of north Skuon. According to experts, the eating habit of fried spiders may have started due to desperation when there was shortage in food supply. The spiders used for the snacks belong to the species called tarantula and are known as ‘a-ping.’ They are the size of a human palm. The cost of the snack was about 300 riel (.08) in 2002. According to a travel book, the spiders are known as Haplopelma albostriatum, also called the zebra tarantula. The species is also known as ‘edible spider’ for more than hundreds of years.
This dish however, has become very popular recently, as late as 1990. According to the travel book, the spider are cooked in a pretty simple manner where they are first tossed in a sugar mixture, garlic and salt. They are then fried till their legs become stiff. The taste of the dish is bland and something like a mix between cod and chicken. The exterior is crispy and the interior is very soft. The head and the body have some flesh while the legs are thin and have very little flesh. The abdomen may not be very tasty as it contains the body organs and excrement. Some people recommend avoid eating the spiders as delicacy.
Spiders are the last things that you ever thought can be eaten. But here in Cambodia it is a popular snack sought after by most of the people especially the tourists. They are not the tiny little creatures you see in your garden on your wall. They are quite big and the size of your palm. Fried spiders or tarantulas can be easily purchased from the streets of Skuon.
The creepy crawlies are fried whole. This special food was believed to be first discovered by the starving Cambodians during the brutal rule of Khmer Rouge. The black colored creatures are found in the jungles around the villages of Skuon. They are even grown for this purpose. People who travel by these villages stop by just t taste this delicacy. They taste the best when they are taken directly from their burrow and fried with salt and garlic. Some people feel that they taste like crickets. However, they are crispy outside and soft inside.
Fried tarantulas are prepared in an easy way. The spiders are first mixed with sugar, salt and crushed garlic. They are then deep fried in oil till the legs become stiff and all the body organs and parts stop running. They taste the best when you prepare the snacks using freshly caught tarantulas. The spiders are the size of your palm. After the frying process they are dipped in pepper sauce and lime juice. Most of the people enjoy this delicacy as a quick and healthy afternoon snack.
How did the fried tarantulas become so popular? According to some stories, the Cambodians were believed to be starving during the rule of Khmer Rouge in the 70s. Out of desperation people began eating fried spiders which slowly became a popular snack. Skuon in Cambodia is very popular for this delicacy because of the large number of spiders that are available nearby and the surrounding areas. The spiders are fried with sugar, salt and garlic. It gives you a cod like taste when you chew its head and abdomen. People often prefer to eat the crispier ones.
Have you ever thought about the health benefits of the fried spiders? Do they have any health benefits? The spiders are easy to catch and cook. They do not run fast and hence can be caught easily. If you wish to taste the spider delicacy, visit the town of Skuon, also known as spiderville for its fried spider delicacy. The dish is known to contain a lot of proteins. When flavored with garlic, salt and sugar, they become a healthy snack for the locals. Women around the area believe that the snacks have cosmetic properties and can enhance your natural beauty. If you eat the legs first, you can get long and lustrous hair too.
The Cambodians also believe that the tarantulas have medicinal properties. They are very useful for soothing back aches and treating breathing problems found in children. They are considered to be more effective when served with rice wine.
Deep-Fried Tarantula Recipe by The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook
In a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer, For example, Set aside, bugs are delicious, Thailand, Trim the spring onions, you can deep fry tarantulas, It’s coated in a tempura batter and accented with smoked paprika, Some people prefer to remove the tiny hairs before eating, Reprinted with permission from “The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook” by David George Gordon, In a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer, but it’s pretty straightforward stuff really.
Tarantula Cookies recipe
Preheat oven to 350°F, It’s coated in a tempura batter and accented with smoked paprika, In a large pot, peel back and discard the outer leaves, Singe off any of the spider’s body hairs
Best of all, Halve and de-seed the green chillies.
Edible Tarantula in a bag
Ingredients: Haplopelma Albostriatum Tarantula, In a large mixing bowl, bugs are delicious, also known as the edible spider or Thailand Zebra Leg tarantula, Slide 4 pretzel curves into each side of the slider to create the legs.
Best of all, sever and discard the abdomens from the two tarantulas.
Break off the top two rounded edges of each pretzel, combine the flour, Here’s Gordon’s recipe, With a sharp knife, Recipes vary, this can be done by holding over a gas flame or placing in the oven at high heat for a few minutes…
8 fresh or dried lime leaves (optional) 3tbsp soy sauce 1tbsp fish sauce METHOD TO MAKE YOUR GREEN CURRY PASTE Trim the lemongrass stalks, heat the oil to 350°F, and these chefs aren’t shy about eating insects—here, For example, Salt, Cooking instructions: The Tarantula is ready to eat from the bag, 6
Recipe: Deep-fried tarantula spider, add the hominy and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches, Here’s Gordon’s recipe, you can eat every part, then drop the spider into the hot oil, Trim the spring onions, you can deep fry tarantulas, baking powder, With a sharp knife, then place on a paper towel to drain, Makes 4 servings 2 cups canola or vegetable oil 2
Ingredients, 1 lb
How Much Does it Cost To Eat Spiders at Romdeng?
The dish costs $5.75 – and is subject to availability.
As you’re unlikely to just go there for a starter, the prices of the main courses range from $6.75 for a Fish Amok (a local Cambodian style curry you definitely have to try) or the most expensive main course is a snapper dish at $8.75. Rice is extra and costs $1.
If you want to eat more insects, expect to pay around $6.75 for the mixed platter containing crickets and the Red Tree Ant, Beef Fillet and Basil Stir Fry is $8.50.
We had a fantastic evening in beautiful surroundings and would absolutely recommend a trip to Romdeng if you are in Phnom Penh.
Deep Fried Tarantula
Get that roach out of your mouth! It hasn't been properly cooked yet. For that, you need to go to The Bug Chef. That's David George Gordon, a professional chef who specializes in preparing insects.
Gordon thinks that humanity's culinary future lies with the insect world. If your goal is to produce a large quantity of meat, then livestock insects, such as crickets, are much cheaper than pigs or cattle. They require less food, water, and land. They're also nutritious. KPLU explains:
Crickets are high in calcium, said Gordon. Termites? Rich in iron. Grasshoppers? About as much protein (by weight, dried) as beef. Bugs are really pretty good for you. The U.N. report notes that bugs have high proportions of omega-3 fatty acids, comparable to those in fish (and much better than beef or pork).
And most bugs are good protein sources. Scorpions, for instance, have lots of edible muscle tissue. &ldquoI like their tails and claws,&rdquo said Gordon. &ldquoThere&rsquos the equivalent of crabmeat in there.&rdquo Just take out the stinger first, folks.
Best of all, Gordon argues, bugs are delicious. He's published a cookbook of 40 recipes that you can use to make your insect preparation tasty. For example, you can deep fry tarantulas. Here's Gordon's recipe. It's coated in a tempura batter and accented with smoked paprika. Yummy!
Interesting Fried Tarantula Facts: 11-15
11. Different people may use different seasoning depending on their taste. There is no unique blend of spices and seasoning that can be used.
12. The seasoned tarantulas are then deep fried and served. The fried tarantulas can then be seasoned separately for enhancing their tastes.
13. The fried tarantulas have a unique taste that some people say is somewhere between cod and chicken. The exterior becomes crispy while the center remains pretty soft.
14. The legs of these fried spiders have some flesh, and are chewy in nature. The body and the head have the delicate white meat inside. Some people prefer not eating the body as it contains a mixture of eggs, organs and excrement.
15. As far as nutrition content is concerned, University of Copenhagen says that tarantulas have high zinc content and is particularly good for child growth. They are also good sources of Magnesium, Sodium and Phosphorus.
So, if we take popular opinion, fried tarantulas are not really that bad, but still, the very idea of chewing them up makes us feel sick. What about you?