Witjuti Grubs are the larvae of leopard moths. They live in the trunks and roots of certain acacia trees, particularly the roots of the Wichetty Bush (aka “Acacia Kempeana”) and Small Cooba (aka “Acacia ligulata.”)
The larvae are 2 to 5 inches (5 to 12 1/2 cm) long, and white with a brown head. When a Witjuti Grub turns into a moth later in life, it is unable to feed, so it has to rely totally on the energy its body has stored up from when it was a grub.
The flavour of Witjuti Grubs will vary based on what kind of acacia tree they were harvested from. The taste can range from nutty, to peanuty, to chicken, or shrimp like.
Some eat Witjuti Grubs with the heads on; most people take the heads off. Some people like eating them raw. Most recipes, though, involve frying them or using them in soup.
You can buy Witjuti Grubs tinned, bottled or frozen. Some bottled ones are pickled in a mixture of sherry and brandy.
When fried or grilled, Witjuti Grubs will brown and be crispy outside, soft inside.
Witjuti Grubs can be cooked on skewers over a grill (aka barbeque in the UK and Australia), about 2 minutes per side.
If you are using frozen ones, don’t thaw before use — use frozen right in the dish you are making. They will blacken if thawed first.
Witjuti Grubs are an Australian aboriginal food. Though some Australians will tell you that “you have not been to Australia until you’ve eaten a Witjuti Grub”, they only say that to foreigners. The truth is, most Australians wouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot pole.