COMPLIMENTARY RECIPE: Yabbies Cooked in a Tomato, Chilli & Black Pepper Sauce


"Yabbies are a great sustainable alternative to prawns. They are farmed in inland ponds, and any waste they produce can be filtered from the water and used to fertilise the land." – Chef Mark Jensen



1 kg live yabbies
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
400 g peeled and chopped tomatoes (see Note), or tinned chopped tomatoes are fine if fresh are not available
2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons minced pickled red chilli
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
1 long red chilli, chopped


Put the live yabbies in the freezer; this will humanely prepare them for later use. Place a saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and onion and gently fry for about 2 minutes to release the flavours. Add the tomato and stir to combine the flavours. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sugar, sea salt, pickled chilli and black pepper, stir to combine, then simmer gently for another 5 minutes. Remove the tomato sauce from the heat and set aside.

Remove the yabbies from the freezer. Preparing the yabbies one at a time, place them on their backs on a chopping board, then cut in half straight down the middle from head to tail. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add the remaining olive oil. Once the oil is hot, quickly place all the yabbies in the pan, flesh side down, and fry for 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, stir to combine, and simmer for 4 minutes, or until the yabbies are cooked. Serve the yabbies in a bowl and garnish with the spring onion and chilli.

Note: To peel the tomatoes, score a cross in the base of each tomato. Put the tomatoes in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 30-60 seconds, then refresh in a bowl of iced water. Peel the skin away from the cross and discard it, then chop the tomatoes.

Recipe from Mark’s Book - The Urban Cook: Cooking and Eating for a Sustainable Future. Click here to purchase the book now.

Phuong Nguyen