A Year of Practiculture
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

Yabbies (small freshwater crayfish) are a real delicacy – they’re not something I can get my hands on in quantities large enough to be frivolous with in the kitchen. The yabbies in my dam are a real challenge to trap. I know they’re there, but they simply refuse to cooperate by walking into the traps for me. Maybe they know I like eating them – word gets around fast out here. Thankfully, I have friends with better behaved crustaceans. And when a bucket of snapping yabbies gets dumped in my kitchen I go for this recipe. It’s a bit of a mash-up of ideas, really, and it may not look the most beautiful, but it tastes great!

There are two parts to this dish: the chowder and the fried dumplings. I’ll admit that there’s a bit of work to it, but the results are worth it, especially if you love freshwater crustaceans. If you can get your hands on about 30–40 yabbies, you’ll be able to feed a few adults. If you’re not so lucky out on the ponds, then make a smaller batch and serve it as an entrée.


Quantity Ingredient
30-40 yabbies
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 litre yabby stock, (see method)
handful chives, snipped
8-10 potatoes, peeled
150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
5 eggs
200g Toasted sourdough breadcrumbs
750ml sunflower oil
45g pecorino
150ml pouring cream
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 jalapeno chilli, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Cook the yabbies in boiling water until they turn red. Drain, allow to cool a little, then remove the meat from the tail and claws, and set aside. Put the remaining shells (containing the head and body meat) on a large baking tray.
  3. Bake the yabby shells for 40 minutes, then transfer to a large stockpot with 3 litres water. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, then strain the stock. Discard the shells, and reserve 1 litre stock for the recipe; store any excess for future cooking.
  4. Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a large stockpot over low heat and sweat the onion and carrot for 30 minutes, stirring regularly. To get the best results, the heat must be very low. This slow cooking of the veg will intensify the flavour.
  5. Add the reserved yabby stock and the chives (reserving a little as a garnish) and simmer for another 10 minutes. Finally, cool a little, then whizz with a hand-held blender until you get a consistently smooth soup base. I leave the soup in the pot for now, off the heat, and start making the dumplings.
  6. Boil the potatoes until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Allow to cool, then push through a potato ricer or mash them using a potato masher until silky smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add half the flour and 2 eggs, and mix well. What we need to create is something of a thick potato mash that’s dry enough to form a ball.
  7. Line up three bowls on the bench: one with the remaining flour, one with the remaining eggs (lightly beaten) and one with the breadcrumbs. Form small potato dumplings (a tad smaller than a golf ball) and coat them first in the flour, then with egg and finally with the breadcrumbs. Leave them on a flour-dusted tray in the fridge for a few hours to set.
  8. Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the dumplings in batches, laying them on paper towel to drain off any excess oil while you cook the next batch.
  9. Now we’re ready to put it all together! Pop the soup back on the heat. When it’s hot like a soup, add the cheese and the reserved yabby meat, and stir through the cream. Season to taste.
  10. Place some fried dumplings in each bowl, then pour in the soup base, making sure each bowl gets a serving of the cooked yabby meat. Garnish with the chilli and the reserved chives.
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