The fascinating Chontacuro and its nutritional properties
Aboriginal tribes have mastered the art of taking advantage of the many resources the fertile soil brings them. Whether these resources are plants, fruits or insects, natives have always made sure that cooking them is not only fun but also exquisite. All around Latin America, specifically in the tropical Amazon, we find an infinite gourmet selection with incredible smells, exceptional flavors and exciting colors. For that reason, many tourists from different places all over the world come to this wonderful place in order to taste the magical palate of pure exoticness.
One of the most popular and attractive dishes from the Ecuadorian Amazon is the Chontacuro, also known as Muquinde which is a very thick and interesting worm. The chontacuro lives in Chonta trees and these are insects that vary in size; the biggest ones can reach up to 5 to 7 centimeters maximum in length and 2 or 3 in diameter. They are born from a dark beetle, typical from the Amazon Rainforest area, which places its eggs in the heart of the Chonta, where they grow to become larvae. As Chonta is regularly used for many regional and traditional meals in Ecuador, the Chontacuro became popular as well because from every Chonta tree there are at least 40 nutritive worms.
With time, the Muquinde or Chonta worm has gained an excellent reputation as a culinary choice among locals and tourists globally. The Chontacuro makes part of the regular diet of Amazonian tribes and residents who consider it to be of high-protein value and multi-vitamin composition due to the great amount of natural fat it provides. Most natives claim that it has healing properties for diverse illnesses such as: throat and mouth infections, cough, asthma, lung difficulties, gastritis and arthritis.
There are different ways to prepare the Chonta worm, some of them prefer it grilled while some others have it roasted, boiled or fried. Since it represents a gastronomical attraction nowadays, there are some local restaurants in the region that exclusively prepare the ‘Chontacuro specialty’ for visitors and residents. These eating places combine the cooking procedure following the steps of other traditional recipes because according to them: "what really gives flavor to the dish are the leaves because its essence slick when exposed to heat and fire”
If you are part of the enthusiastic people who constantly want to discover the magic of gastronomy and wonders of nature, come and explore the Ecuadorian Amazonia with us aboard of one of our Luxury Amazon cruises. Contact us for more information.