Spicy, North African Pan-Fried Locusts, 1792

The African Migratory Locust - FAO

Here is another recipe for locusts, this one with a North African Flare.  It is preceded by brief remarks on the plague of locusts that occurred in Barbary  (N.W. Morocco) in 1792.


An Account of Timbuctoo and Housa Territories in the Interior of Africa Author: Abd Salam Shabeeny  Commentator [on events in Barbary and Morocco]: James Grey Jackson

In the autumn of 1792, (Jeraad) locusts began to appear in West Barbary. The corn [grain]was in ear, and therefore safe, as this devouring insect attacks no hard substance. …

As vegetation increased, these insects increased in size and quantity. But the country did not yet seem to suffer from them. About the end of March, they increased rapidly.

I was at … the emperor’s garden, which belongs to the Europeans, and which was given to the [European] merchants of Mogodor by the emperor Seedi Muhamed ben Abdallah, …, and the garden flourished with every green herb, and the fruit-trees were all coming forward in the productive beauty of spring.

I went there the following day, and not a green leaf was to be seen: an army of locusts had attacked it during the night, and had devoured every shrub, every vegetable, and every green leaf; so that the garden had been converted into an unproductive wilderness. And, notwithstanding the incredible devastation that was thus produced, not one locust was to be seen.

The gardener reported, that (sultan jeraad) ‘the king of the locusts’ had taken his departure eastward early in the morning; the myriads of locusts followed, so that in a quarter of an hour not one was to be seen….

Moroccan farmer and apple orchard damage by locusts. FAO.G Diana

The poor would go out a locusting, as they termed it: the bushes were covered; they took their (haik) garment, and threw it over them, and then collected them in a sack. In half an hour they would collect a bushel.

These they would take home, and boil a quarter of an hour; they would then put them into a frying-pan, with pepper, salt, and vinegar, and eat them, without bread or any other food, making a meal of them.

They threw away the head, wings, and legs, and ate them as we do prawns. They considered them wholesome food, and preferred them to pigeons.

Afterwards, whenever there was any public entertainment given, locusts was a standing dish; and it is remarkable that the dish was always emptied, so generally were they esteemed as palatable food.

Fried Desert Locusts in Nigerian Market. uglyfood.com

About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
This entry was posted in Africa-North, Colonialism, Cuisine, Explorers & exploration, Food, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Recipes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Spicy, North African Pan-Fried Locusts, 1792

  1. Pingback: A Relish of Caviar-type Worms in The Sahara 1819 « Dianabuja's Blog

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