Mealworm Cricket Empanadas with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
Mealworm Cricket Empanadas with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
Prep Time: 30 minutes / Cook Time: 40 minutes / Total Time: 70 minutes / Makes appox. 14 empanadas
Vegetable or canola oil (for frying)
2 parts corn masa (corn flour)
1 part mealworm flour (see “Insect Flour” instructions)
Water (add as needed)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp cumin
2 skinned, seeded, and chopped medium tomatoes
1/4 cup dried currants
1 cup crickets (see “Purchasing and Preparing Insects” instructions )
1 splash dry white wine
Cilantro Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup whole yogurt
1/2 lemon juice, squeezed
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
1. Filling: Place a large frying pan over the stove with 1 tbsp olive oil and set temperature to a medium heat. Add onions into pan and sauté onion until translucent. Add cumin, cayenne, and crickets and let cook for 1 minute. Splash of white wine and let that cook off for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and currants and let cook down with lid on, reduce heat to simmer. When tomatoes have broken down, taste for salt and pepper. Turn off heat and set aside.
2. Preheat a saute pan with about 1/2 in covering bottom of pan for frying empanadas.
3. Dough: Dough: Mix 2 parts corn masa flour with 1 part toasted meal worm flour. Use just enough water to keep the dough together, but not so much it becomes sticky. If the dough becomes sticky, it will not come off the tortilla press. You can let the dough air dry until the correct texture is back, or add a bit more flour until you have the right consistency.
4. Assemblage: Take dough mixture and roll into little balls about ¾ inch diameter. Place ball into a tortilla press, and press down to flatten ball into a circle. Put a small amount filling in the middle of the flattened dough circle (approximately 1/2 tablespoon or enough so that the circle can fold and seal easily). Then fold circle over in half and pinch edges to seal. Fry empanadas a couple minutes on each side until crispy.
Cilantro Yogurt Sauce: Sauce can be made a day in advance so flavors have time to mingle. Just mix all ingredients together for that. Combine all sauce ingredients into small bowl and stir well. Serve with spicy empanadas!
Purchasing and Preparing Insects
Feeding Time: 24 hrs
Fasting Time: 24 hrs
Total Time: 48 hrs
Instructions for purchasing and preparing different insects are pretty similar. For our Cricket Mealworm Empanada recipe, we will use mealworms as our example, which can also be applied to preparing the crickets.
1. Buy approximately 1,000 mealworms. Most local pet stores sell live mealworms in bran with 100 per container for about $7 or so, depending on the store. To purchase larger quantities, you can ask your local pet store to order you some or you can purchase them directly from the insect farm distributor online, such as www.rainbowmealworms.com or www.flukerfarms.com. Mealworms are sold by size: Mini (¼ inch), small (½ inch) to medium (¾ inch) to large (1 inch). Cricket Tip: I like to buy the 5-week-old nymph crickets over the 6-week-old adult ones because they make less noise and don’t have hard ovipositors and exoskeletons.
2. Empty your mealworms into a clean, empty container or basic plastic storage bin. Make sure the container has nothing but mealworms in them. To help separate mealworms from any attached food, waste material, or other debris, try placing them in a sifter over a trash can or another container, and gently tap. Remove any dead insects or miscellaneous materials.
Note: The size of the plastic tub container will be determined by how many mealworms you are planning on raising. For example, if you are planning on raising 100 mealworms, a 1-quart-sized container would be more than enough space (or you can use the container they usually the come in). If you plan on raising 1,000 mealworms, you may want to use at least a 6-quart container. If the mealworms in the tub are over ½ inch in accumulative height, you may want to use a larger container. Cricket Tip: Use a taller bin to prevent crickets from hopping out.
3. Feed mealworms small slices of fresh fruits or vegetables. Allow them to feed for 24 hours. This is to ensure that they are healthy and you know what they have been eating. Feed mealworms apples, potatoes, or carrots. Carrots tend to work well because they do not mold as fast as apples or potatoes.
4. After feeding the mealworms for 24 hours, allow them to fast for another 24 hours to ensure their system has been cleaned out.
5. Place mealworms in refrigerator for about 30-60 minutes to slow down their mobilization. When mealworms appear to have slowed down, place mealworms in a strainer, rinse under cold water, and then dab dry with a towel to clean. If they become active again and are unmanageable, the mealworms can be returned back to the refrigerator at any time.
6. The is the most humane way to kill insects is to place them in the freezer. Place the mealworms into a ziplock bag or sealable container, and place the bag into the freezer for at least 30 minutes or until they have stopped moving. Just like any other meat, insects can also be stored in the freezer until they are ready to be used, but the sooner it’s used the fresher and tastier. When you are ready to cook your insects, take them out of the freezer.
Prep Time: 30 minutes / Cook Time: 60-180 minutes / Total Time: 60 minutes
Insect flour is dried insects that is ground to a power-like consistency. It can be made with any insect and can be used in virtually any recipe as a flavorful ingredient or nutritional supplement. Mealworms have a nuttty taste which mixes well for many baked good recipes. You can make any kind of insect flour next time, try crickets or waxworms!
Mealworms, dead and cleaned
1. Before making mealworm flour, please read “Purchasing and Preparing Insects.”
2. After insects have been harvested and cleaned, spread insects out on a foil-lined baking sheet.
3. Baking method: Set oven 200 degrees Farenheit and dry insects for approximately 1-3 hours (the larger the quantity, the longer the baking). Stove-top method: Turn stovetop on to a low to medium heat (begin with a lower temperature and work to a medium temperature to prevent burning. For both methods, periodically stir mealworms around to ensure even drying. Keep an eye on the insects to make sure they do not burn.
4. To test if the insects are ready, take a kitchen utensil and crush one of the insects. When the insects are fairly brittle and crush easily, they are done drying.
5. Take dried insects and grind until fine or the consistency of wheat germ. Try using a mortar and pestle, a food processor, or coffee grinder. Set aside or place in the refrigerator until ready to cook with.