Poached Redclaws with Chilli & Coconut

Redclaws, freshwater crayfish from tropical Queensland and the Northern Territory, are very similar to Yabbies.


16 x 75g live Redclaws (see notes)
800ml coconut milk (see notes)
200ml chicken stock 
200ml water
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon grated palm sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 kaffir lime leaves, very finely shredded (see notes)
1 large red chilli, halved, seeded and sliced
Salt flakes, to taste
Small Thai basil leaves, to garnish
Steamed jasmine rice, to serve
4 lime cheeks


Place Redclaws in freezer for 30 minutes or so, until insensible. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a rapid boil. Add chilled Redclaws, cover to return to the boil as quickly as possible. Remove Redclaws from water as soon as it returns to the boil and plunge into iced water to cool.

Halve Redclaws lengthways, from the head down through the tail. Wipe out head with a damp cloth and devein.

Make Chilli Paste: process the chilli, garlic, lemongrass and ginger in a food processor with just enough coconut milk to form a paste. 

Combine stock, water and remaining coconut milk in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and stir in Chilli Paste. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Add fish sauce and palm sugar, then the Redclaws, cover and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat, remove meat from shells and set aside. Stir lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, sliced chilli and salt into the poaching liquid. 

Divide rice between bowls, top with redclaw meat, pour over some of the broth and garnish with small Thai basil leaves and lime cheeks. 


The easiest and most humane way to kill any crustacean is to chill them in the freezer for 30-60 minutes until they become insensible (but not long enough to freeze them). Once chilled, they should be killed promptly by splitting in half or dropping into rapidly boiling water. See NSW Department of Primary Industries or RSPCA for more details.

This dish can be made lighter by replacing some, or all, of the coconut milk with stock.

Kaffir lime leaves are available from fruit and vegetable shops; they’re usually joined in pairs, 1 lime leaf equals 1 pair.

Alternative species:

Bugs, Crabs, Marron, Prawns, Rock Lobsters, Scampi, Yabby.

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