Great Australian cookbook – chilli mud crab, prawn rolls and oyster pies recipes | Life and magnificence


Are we what we eat?

The publishers behind the Great Australian cookbook (Echo, $50) wished to take a snapshot of the nation and the meals Australians like to eat, by asking 100 cooks, cooks, bakers and different foodies to share their favorite household recipes.

From sponge truffles to Spanish omelettes, potted pork to coq au vin, the one factor these recipes have in frequent is their multicultural heritage. Just like Australia, then.

Asian chilli mud crab

Chef Spencer Patrick of Harrisons restaurant, Port Douglas

Everything I’ve cooked right here comes from my surrounds, together with the mud crabs [that] come from the mangroves within the again backyard. I really like residing in Far North Queensland. This is my paradise.

Serves 2

2 brown onions
6 pink chillies (scorching ones)
100ml vegetable oil
200 ml tomato paste
60 ml kecap manis
2 tbsp white vinegar
200g ginger
3 sticks lemongrass, chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 massive mud crab


1/2 bunch coriander
1/2 bunch Thai basil
2 limes

Place all components (besides crab, in fact) right into a meals processor and mix, seasoning with salt and pepper to style. Toss with crab and go away for two hours. You can provide the thicker components of the crab shell and claws a number of good blows with a mallet to crack the shell and permit the marinade in. It additionally makes it simpler to eat later.

Heat a wok to scorching and add marinated crab. Toss and prepare dinner till shell turns orange and flesh is translucent – roughly 25 minutes. If the wok will get too dry, add a splash of sea water or beer of your alternative.

Place in serving bowl and garnish with scattered herbs and wedges of lime.

Banh ho chao tom (sugar cane prawn rice paper rolls)

Chefs Angie and Dan Hong

Going to my mum’s home for Monday Hong Dinners is the spotlight of my week. I hardly ever say sure to going out with mates for dinner that night time as a result of I do know that no meal will ever be nearly as good because the 1 I share with my household at that desk.
– Dan Hong

Banh ho chao tom (sugar cane prawn rice paper rolls)

Banh ho chao tom (sugar cane prawn rice paper rolls). Photograph: Echo Books

Makes 12

1kg black tiger prawn meat (frozen is better in this case)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp table salt
5 tsp raw sugar
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup arrowroot flour
Canned or fresh sugar cane, cut into 20 cm lengths approx. 1 cm in diameter (kind of like a stick of cabanossi)
vegetable oil for deep-frying

To serve

1 bunch each of your favourite Vietnamese herbs, e.g. perilla, Vietnamese mint and garden mint
1 butter lettuce, torn into leaves
1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced into sticks
1 handful mung bean sprouts, washed
Nuóc chaam dipping sauce
Vietnamese pickled carrots and daikon
1 packet rice vermicelli noodles, cooked
1 packet rice paper sheets

In a large mixing bowl, combine the frozen prawns with the garlic, salt, sugar, pepper, baking powder and arrowroot flour. Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour, then transfer the contents to a food processor and blitz until a smooth paste is formed. Divide this prawn mousse into balls the size of tennis balls. On a clean, slightly damp surface, pound each ball several times to eliminate air pockets. Once pounded, wrap the prawn mousse around a stick of sugar cane and repeat until all of the mousse has been used up.

Transfer the sugar cane prawns to a steamer basket, and steam for 20 minutes or until the prawn mousse is firm. These can be stored in the freezer and thawed out as needed. Heat a deep-fryer or a heavy-based pot of oil to 180°C and fry the sugar cane prawns in batches until golden. Alternatively, they can be barbecued or grilled until heated through.

To serve: arrange the herbs and salad ingredients on several big plates, along with the fried sugar cane prawns (you can slide off the sugar cane and split into four, lengthways), pickles, rice noodles and the uncooked rice paper. Pour hot water into shallow, wide bowls within reach of each person.

To eat, each person dips a sheet of rice paper into hot water, places it on a plate, and adds their own preference of fillings to the centre. Roll up like a cigar or burrito, dip in nuóc chaam and enjoy!

Oyster pies

Gary and Jo Rodley – Tathra oysters

We are all as silly as each other in this dedication to growing this produce, Australia’s great oyster, the Sydney rock oyster. We pinch ourselves sometimes. Are we really doing this? Is this really ours? Is this our life? And we love it. We feel lucky every day.

Oyster pies

Oyster pies. Photograph: Echo Books

Makes 12 small pies

1 cup small florets of broccoli
90 g butter
½ leek, finely diced
½ cup diced red capsicum
½ cup diced green capsicum
4 tbsp plain flour
300 ml warm milk
½ cup grated cheese
handful of chopped parsley
2 dozen (24) shucked Sydney Rock oysters
3 sheets ready-made shortcrust pastry, defrosted (for pie base)
3 sheets ready-made puff pastry, defrosted (for pie top)

Pre-heat pie maker (or oven to 180C).

Steam broccoli until al dente. Set aside.

Melt butter in a pan and sauté leek and capsicums. Add flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring as the sauce thickens. Add cheese, then broccoli. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add parsley and stir. Finally, add oysters to the pan and stir through.

Using the large cutter provided with the pie maker, cut rounds for the bases from the shortcrust pastry and place in the pie maker moulds. Using the smaller cutter, cut rounds for the tops from the puff pastry. Alternatively, line a large pie dish with the shortcrust pastry, line with baking paper and cover the base with ceramic weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 10 minutes then remove the weights (or rice) and paper and bake for a further 5–10 minutes until golden.

Spoon the filling into each pie base (allowing two oysters per small pie) and top with the puff pastry. Seal the lids, crimping the edges with a fork, and cook for 7 minutes until the pastry is golden-brown. If making a large pie in the oven, bake for 30–35 minutes until golden.

Carefully remove each pie from the pie maker or pie dish and allow to cool slightly (the filling will be hot!).

  • These recipes are edited extracts from The Great Australian Cookbook (Echo, $50), available now

Alexandra Spring from

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