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  • Diana Chan - Crayfish

    in a Thai Broth

    Serves 4


    Roasted tomatoes

    12 cherry tomatoes


    Thai Seafood Broth

    10 prawn heads

    4 lemongrass stalks

    3 tbsp coconut oil

    5cm piece galangal, sliced

    5cm ginger, sliced

    4 shallots, thinly sliced

    2 red chillies, chopped

    2 birds eye chillies, chopped

    4 cloves garlic, minced

    16 clams

    10 mussels

    1L chicken stock

    2 tbsp tamarind purée

    10 kaffir lime leaves

    juice of 3 limes

    4 tbsp coconut milk powder

    Salt, to taste


    Crispy Ikan Bilis

    ¼ cup ikan bilis

    Oil, for deep frying



    1 large whole crayfish

    150g butter


    Kaffir Lime oil

    1cup kaffir lime leaves

    1 cup oil


    To serve

    Watercress leaves

    Kaffir lime leaf, finely shredded

    1. Pre-heat oven to 180C.
    2. For the Roasted Tomatoes, place the tomatoes on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Place in the pre-heated oven and roast until tomatoes start to soften, about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside, keeping warm, until ready to serve.
    3. For the Thai Seafood Broth, place prawn heads onto a small baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast in the pre-heated oven until dry and golden, about 20 minutes. 
    4. Meanwhile, finely slice the white part of lemongrass stalks and reserve the tops. Set aside until needed.
    5. Place the coconut oil into a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once coconut oil has melted, add lemongrass tops, galangal, ginger, shallots, chillies and garlic and cook until fragrant.
    6. Add clams and mussels and stir until well coated.
    7. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
    8. Add lime juice and tamarind purée then remove the saucepan from the heat. Strain the broth through a fine sieve, discarding the solids. Transfer the liquid into a clean, medium saucepan. Add the roasted prawn heads and simmer for 10 minutes.
    9. Add coconut milk powder and stir to dissolve. Season to taste then strain through a fine sieve lined with muslin cloth. Discard the solids and transfer the liquid to a clean saucepan, cover and set aside until needed.
    10. For the Crispy Ikan Bilis, place oil into a small saucepan to half fill. Place over medium heat and heat to 180C.
    11. Add ikan bilis and fry until crispy, about 30 seconds.  Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Place half the Crispy Ikan Bilis into a mortar and pestle and grind into rough crumbs. Set aside until ready to serve. Reserve whole pieces of Crispy Ikan Bilis for serving.
    12. For the Kaffir Lime Oil, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil.  Add kaffir lime leaves and blanch for 30 seconds then refresh in a bowl of iced water.
    13. Remove the leaves from the iced water, dry on paper towel and place into a blender. Blitz on high speed and gradually add oil, continuing to blend until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve lined with muslin cloth. Gather up the edges of the muslin and loosely twist. Press down to extract the oil. Transfer the Kaffir Lime Oil to a pouring jug and set aside until ready to serve.
    14. For the Crayfish, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.  Prepare a large ice bath.
    15. Place the crayfish in the pot of boiling water and cook until the shell turns bright red, about 3 minutes.  Remove from water and place into the ice bath.  Once cooled, remove the head and using a pair of scissors, cut either side under the tail, then gently remove the tail meat in one piece.
    16. Heat the butter in a medium frypan over a low heat, add crayfish tail and cook, gently basting with melted butter until the meat turns just opaque, about 2 – 3 minutes.
    17. Remove crayfish from pan and slice into 8-12 slices (depending on the size). Season to taste with salt and set aside, keeping warm, until ready to serve.
    18. To serve, reheat Thai Seafood Broth until boiling then transfer to a large serving jug.  Place 3 tomatoes on the bottom of each serving bowl. Add 2-3 pieces of crayfish to each bowl and top with watercress leaves. Sprinkle with crushed Crispy Ikan Bilis and shredded kaffir lime leaves.  Pour over hot Thai Seafood Broth and add a few drops of Kaffir Lime Oil to each plate. Serve with whole Crispy Ikan Bilis in a small bowl on the side.