Steamed Mud Crab, Silky Macadamia and Chamomile


You will need to begin this recipe one day ahead.


  • 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) mud crab

Silky Macadamia Milk

  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) macadamia nuts
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) filtered water

To Serve

  • olive oil
  • macadamia nut oil
  • macadamia nuts, shaved
  • 12 fresh chamomile flowers, or chamomile essential oil


To make the silky macadamia milk, preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3). Roast 50 g ( oz) of the nuts on a baking tray for about 6–10 minutes, then combine them with the remaining unroasted nuts. Process the nuts with the filtered water for 1½ minutes in a blender on high speed, until a white paste forms.

Put the nut paste in a container and let it stand overnight so the nuts release their oils and become more flavourful. The next day, squeeze out the milk by placing small amounts in a flexible sieve or oil filter and squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Alternatively, strain using a fine sieve lined with multiple layers of muslin (cheesecloth). Keep the liquid in the refrigerator for about 2 hours before use to allow it to thicken slightly.

Put the crab in the freezer for 1 hour before cooking. Wrap the crab in baking paper before sealing in a large sous-vide bag. This prevents the claws punching holes in the bag. Steam the crab in a combi-oven set on 90°C (195°F) until the shell turns red. For a 1.2 kg crab this will take approximately 50 minutes. Alternatively, place the crab in a heatproof shallow dish in a bamboo steamer over a wok filled three-quarters full of water. Bring to the boil, then steam until just cooked, adding boiling water to the wok if necessary.

Once cooked, let the crab stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, then douse in cold water for 10 minutes, then in iced water for 10 minutes. Once cold, pick the crabmeat and divide into 25 g (1 oz) portions.

To serve, place a portion of crabmeat on each plate, loosen the crabmeat in a circle and cover with approximately 1 tablespoon of macadamia milk (enough to just cover, being careful the milk doesn’t run). Dress with a few drops of olive oil and a few drops of macadamia nut oil. Arrange shaved macadamia nuts over the top to cover then place chamomile flowers, two per serve, on top. If fresh flowers are not available, put a few drops of chamomile essential oil on some paper towel and wipe across the serving plate to add aroma.