Freshwater Crayfish

Every Australian’s first fishing experience is to tie little bits of meat on to a string on the end of a stick and chuck it into the local pond to catch these delicious little yabbies – which in England we call freshwater crayfish or in France they call écrevisses.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 kg ( lb) yabbies (freshwater crayfish) – about 24–32
  • 1 blade of lemon grass, bruised and chopped
  • 2.5 cm (1 pint) piece of fresh root ginger, chopped
  • 6 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium red chilli peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
  • dollop of brandy (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 wineglass of dry white wine
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) fresh tomato sauce
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the yabbies and let them sizzle for 3–4 minutes. Add the lemon grass, ginger, shallots, garlic and chillies and cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the brandy and white wine. Bring to the boil and bubble for a few seconds. Add the fresh tomato sauce, return to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.

P.S. The Americans call them crawfish a mud bag!