Encouraging Malawians to eat insects

I was at an event recently organised by the Overseas Development Institute and was telling someone about Woven, when she told me the story of her mother, Annabel Shaxson, who lived in Malawi in the Seventies.  At that time, much as now, Malawians were starting to see the Western lifestyle as something to aspire to, including eating Western style food. Annabel was concerned that they were going to loose the value of their heritage and local food sources so she and some friends wrote a cookbook that offered a range of recipes but included a chapter on Insects – emphasising throughout that Westerners would love these.


Opening with “It is not generally known in the Western world that insects are a very good and cheap source of protein.  Taxonomically, these insects are not far removed from shrimps which are considered a great delicacy in the West.”

Ana a Njuchi (Bee larvae) – Method: Remove the nests from the tree and boil them.  Take out the larvae from the comb and dry them.  Fry with a little salt, and dry again if desired. Serve as a relish or as an appetiser.

Dziwala (grasshoppers) – These large grasshoppers are mostly found in the late dry season though a few are seen throughout the year.  Method: Remove the wings and the horned part of the legs.  Boil them in water for 5 minutes and then dry in the sun.  Winnow off any remaining wings, and fry in a pan with a little salt.  They may also be fried with a little fat.  Serve as a relish.  If frying with fat, a little chopped onion, chopped tomato and/or groundnut flour may be added to the pan.

I believe this book may still be available for sale in good Malawian bookshops!

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Leave a Reply