Chapda / Red Ant Chutney
Bastar's Chapda Chutney / Red Ant Chutney
Here leaf basket refers to the nest of red ants. Red ants are found in abundance in sal wood / mango forests of Chhattisgarh during summer. The red ant build the nest by joining small leaves or by folding bigger leave high on the tree inside the forest region. They lag the eggs inside those clusters. They are more aggressive than most native species, so have pushed many species away from their local habitat.
Tiny creature, Red ants are known for their bite which can leave you squirming in pain. Red ants are collected from the nests along with the eggs laid by them and are mashed and dried. After that Chapra Chutney is prepared by mixing tomatoes, garlic, ginger, chili, pudina and salt to create fine paste.
Once it is ready, they place it in a handmade mini basket (of sal leaves) and sell at market. red ant contains high level of formic acid, protein and tribes put this virtue to good use. It has huge medicinal value and also good for keeping diseases at bay. Tribes believe that if somebody is down with normal fever, they can sit under a tree so that red ant can bite them and fever will be cured.
Image courtesy: Wild food diaries