Red ant or Kai (in Odia Language) is called chapada by aboriginals. The aboriginal people prefer to eat chapda because of its medicinal properties. This is a seasonal food. Generally, in Chaitra Vaisakh month, during the seeding of Saragi (saala) and ripening of mangoes, the chapada generated on the leaves. The chapada can be found in trees with big leaves such as saragi, aadan, kumbhi, mango, chaduli,kusuma,beheda, jamukoli,jackfruit, peepal,erla(harida),jangli bhalia ,etc . Chapada connects the leaves to create their own small living place. Hundreds of chapada live in a single place and lay eggs. The eggs are very small and white in color. With time these eggs grow, and one can see the heads and bottom. Once fully developed, the color of these small organisms changes to red, and these can locomote.

Using a long stick one can touch this chapada living space and it falls. In the top of the long stick a small pouch (kotara) is added so that the chapada does not fall on the ground. Once collected, it can be sold in the market.

The chapada eggs are cooked with oil and spices. If the eggs have grown big, then these can be boiled and strained, then can be cooked adding oil and spices.

Chapada is rich in medicinal properties. The aboriginals believe, it helps in balancing pitta (fire+water), Vata(air+space), Kapha (earth+water). It also helps in fighting common cold and flu.

World famous chef Gardin Ramer has mentioned about the health benefits of the red ant (Chapda) sauce in his essay. Chapda is considered as rich source of protein, calcium and zinc and hence helps in improving the immunity. The government is making efforts to include this as a medicine. As per a report by renowned English Daily, The Times of India, taking into consideration a petition filed by Baar Poduwal, an engineer from Baripada, the honorable High Court of Odisha has ordered the Ministry of Ayush and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to take a decision on usage of chapda as a medicine. We can also mention, the immune efficiency of Chapda can be very much useful to treat Corona.

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