There are not many things that excite me as much as the nsene season. I am aware there are many people who get squeamish at the sight of these delicacies, in their twisted logic, eating nsenene is like eating grasshoppers, can you imagine that? Such flawed logic, like who would look at nsenene like grasshoppers? What do the two even have in common? Totally unrelated creatures.
I love nsenene, and throughout this article, I’ll insist on calling them by that because I feel like referring to them any other way undermines their culinary value. But on the off chance that there’s someone reading this and they really have no idea what I am going on about, nsenene is the Luganda name for a long-horned grasshopper, sometimes referred to as a bush cricket or katydid.
In Buganda, nsenene are such a big deal that this month of November in the Buganda calendar is named after their season; “Musenene”.
Rumor also has it that traditionally, women were not allowed to eat nsenene but they would be the ones to collect them and prepare them for their husbands. Usually, nsenene are prepared with just one ingredient, salt; but most people add raw grated onions that give it a little more flavor.
What I did though was add a little more ingredients to add a little more flavor.I am aware there are many ways to prepare nsenene, I’ve heard of people who boil them with ginger, garlic, and other spices before transferring to the oven to dry them off. This is how I do mine, but I’d like to hear more about your nsenene recipes in the comments.
• 4 cups nsenene, plucked
• 2 big onions
• 2 small carrots, thinly grated
• Ginger powder, or finely grated)
• 1 green bell pepper
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Wash the nsenene in a lot of water, preferably running water, if need be, soak them first for about 20 minutes. This is important because nsenene are plucked with ash because of how oily they are. If you forget to wash them then you’re going to literally be eating ash.
2. After washing, put in a wok, frying pan or saucepan and keep stirring on high heat until they lose all the water and start changing color to golden brown.
3. When almost ready, which may be about 30 minutes, add the ginger and black pepper and continue stirring for another five minutes.
4. Taste and see if they are ready, nsenene are best eaten try and crunchy.
5. Get off the heat, add the onions, green pepper and carrots for garnishing, mix and serve warm.