Pan Roasted Painted Crayfish and Fried Anchovies

Pan Roasted Painted Crayfish and Fried Anchovies


2 live painted (tropical) crayfish (about 1kg each)
100mL vegetable oil
250mL (1 cup) water
Cucumber sambal (see page 176), to serve
Chilli and lime salt
6 red and green bird's eye chillies
1 Tbs sea salt
Squeeze of lime juice
Fried anchovies
5cm piece of turmeric, sliced
4 small green chillies, sliced
5cm piece of ginger, grated
3 spring onions (scallions) (white part only), thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
60mL (3 Tbs) vegetable oil
200g fresh anchovies, scaled and cleaned
750mL (3 cups) grapeseed or canola oil


To make the fried anchovies:

Combine the turmeric, chilli, ginger, spring onion, salt and vegetable oil in a shallow dish and mix well. Add the anchovies, turn to coat and leave for 30 minutes.

When ready to serve, heat the grapeseed oil in a small wok over medium heat and fry the anchovies for 4 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Set aside.

To kill the crayfish:

Place them in a large bucket of iced water and leave for 15 minutes, then drain. Halve lengthways using a cleaver or large knife. Clean out the heads, but do not wash in cold water.

Alternatively, ask your fishmonger to do this for you, but only if you live close by and have an icebox to transport the lobsters home and plan to cook them immediately.

To make the chilli and lime salt:

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the chilli and salt together until a paste, then stir in the lime juice.

When you're ready to cook the crayfish, rub some of the chilli and lime salt all over the flesh. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over high heat, add the crayfish and cook for 4 minutes or until light golden, but not crisp.

Turn the crayfish over, add the water, cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until just cooked.

To serve, place the crayfish in the centre of a serving platter and arrange the fried anchovies alongside.

Serve with the cucumber sambal and any remaining chilli and lime salt.


Experience and imagination is what I used to come up with these recipes, along with a lot of local knowledge. Talking to people is the best was to discover their passion, and when it comes to food, passion is everything. For filming, I made a point of arriving at each destination with only my knives and a chopping board. All of the ingredients I used were from the region. It was a challenge sometimes but it made me aware what a large percentage of the world's population goes through every day.

Credits: 'My Feast', Peter Kuruvita. Hardie Grant Books

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