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Moreton Bay Bug with Kohlrabi, Vin Jaune and Curry leaves - Chef Recipe by Alberto Ranalli

Moreton Bay Bug with Kohlrabi, Vin Jaune and Curry leaves - Chef Recipe by Alberto Ranalli


150 g unsalted butter
100 g eschalots
3 g black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
4 thyme sprigs
100mL dry white wine
80mL white vermouth
225mL Vin Jaune (or fino sherry)
350mL white chicken stock
220mL cooking cream
85 g creme fraiche
10 g sourdough soy (or light soy sauce)
Pinch kuzu starch
Preserved lemon brine to taste

2 raw Moreton Bay bugs
1 kohlrabi
16 curry leaves


Into a pot, sweat down the thinly sliced eshalots, thyme, peppercorns and bay leaves with 50 g of the butter until translucent. It’ll take 10 minutes on a low heat (keep stirring).

Add the wine and the vermouth and reduce until almost dry.

Add 200 g of the Vin Jaune (or sherry fino) and bring to boil for a minute.

Add the cream and stock and reduce by half.

Strain the mixture into a blender and blitz while adding the remaining butter bit by bit.

Add the creme fraiche, the remaining Vin Jaune, soy sauce and kuzu starch (at the restaurant we use a sourdough soy sauce that we have made from the smoked leftover bread, that’ll take at least 6 months so don’t be afraid to use normal light soy sauce instead).

Season with salt and preserved lemon brine to taste (if you don’t have any preserved lemons handy, we recommend to squeeze half a lemon and grate some zest in it too).

Once the sauce is ready, we proceed to clean the bugs. With a tea towel, hold the head of the bug and with the other hand twist the body until it detaches from the head. Now, with a strong pair of scissors, cut between the hard shell and the underneath membrane of the bug on both sides. Release the meat from the shell and ‘devein’ the digestive track (pull the black stringy bit in the middle) in order to avoid an unpleasant sandy mouthfeel.

In a pan, on a low heat, place a knob of butter and the seasoned bug meat, gently cook while basting it with the help of a spoon. The meat should have a slight bounce but not too tough and the butter shouldn’t be dark.

Thinly slice the kohlrabi and quickly blanch it in hot salted water (you only want a bit of heat through it so it becomes flexible).

In a small pot, bring some vegetable oil to 180 C and fry off some curry leaves (they’ll be ready when they stop bubbling).

In a serving bowl, place the blanched kohlrabi in the middle, place the bug on top of it and spoon the Vin Jaune sauce all around it.

Finish it off with fried curry leaves

Recipe provided by Peonee