OK, I know I promised Chilli Mud Crabs but right now I am doing some camping at Lake Tinaroo and have been experimenting with ways to catch and cook the Red Claw [Yabbies] that live there with the Barramundis.
So starting from the other end, here is my first creation and it tasted just as good as Mud Crab and less fiddly to consume. As long as you don't mind those pleading eyes looking up at you Red Claw offers some artistic ways to actually present the meal, especially with the space available on a banana leaf. The large Red Claw in this case also offers meat in the claws, so crack them with the back of a cleaver before final cooking to allow the sauce to ooze in.
It would seem that the main difference between Mud Crab and Red Claw delights is that while I obviously catch my own Mud Crab, one can in fact buy Mud Crab at certain Seafood Markets. But as far as I know one has to actually catch their own Red Claw.
In any case the asking price for either at a Seafood Market would surely put most people off cooking such a treat.
So here is my own catching ground at Lake Tinaroo above Cairns, with a bit of Mozart from the Bill Gates Garage Band from PhotoStory3.
After placing the Pots one has to wait overnight for the critters to get sucked into the Pots, so one has to be prepared with the standard beverages like Cab Sav and a good Tawny Port as you can see below.
As for all such critters, preparation is finicky and time consuming. In my humble opinion a Pressure Cooker is essential here. A nice aspect of Red Claw [and Mud Crabs] is that they do not shrink down to nothing like a prawn [or shrimp if you are American] when heated.
A Pressure Cooker is so useful for a variety of reasons when camping that it would seem a must as part of your camping kit, allowing you to enjoy a Red Claw feast on site, but if not they will survive several hours in a bucket till you get home.
Fill the Pressure Cooker with Red Claw with half an inch of water and steam for a short time.
The shell should have gone from dirty brown to bright orange and, after removing the head, use kitchen scissors to snip the outer shell after first snipping off the tail.
Remove the black vein by whatever means - maybe carry a small cut-off paint brush for this job.
Then give the whole lot another quick steam. This will steam clean all the stray bits of vein from the meat and render the meat very white while rendering the shell red. If you do all this in a saucepan the shell ends up dirty red and the meat dirty white.
Of course if you are Asian you will probably be eating the head and goo as well, hence the scene from Apocalypse Now where the General says "if you can eat this shrimp Captain you will never have to prove your courage in any other way".
Here is a shot of the product after this second steaming, ready to join in with the curry sauce.
I simply added the lot in the picture above to the sauce and simmered for 10 minutes or so. The amount used for this serving was a bit over 1 Kg of the Red Claw prior to cooking and cleaning and was about right for one [hungry] person along with rice and nan.
So there is my first attempt at Red Claw catching and cooking and I figure there will be many more of both.