Moreton bay bugs, truly a hidden gem in Australia’s crown and as the name suggests, from the pristine waters of Moreton Bay, Queensland but, not exclusively. Smaller than a crayfish but larger than your average prawn, and not to be confused with the Balmain bug.
Moreton bay bug meat is moderately sweet but rich in flavour. In this recipe I will highlight the rich element and change its texture from firm to bouncy by turning it into a mousse.
Moreton bay bugs adds an Australian twist on the traditional Vietnamese spring roll. This recipe replaces pork with Moreton bay bugs. Removing pork is essentially removing protein, as stated in the basic pork and prawn spring roll recipe, the working of the pork protein adds a textural element that is convivial to spring rolls. The idea behind the Moreton bay bug mousse is to replace that loss of texture.
These can spring rolls can be enjoyed on the couch with sweet chilli sauce and a six pack while barracking for your favourite football team. A luxurious way to enjoy this Vietnamese classic is to enhance the experience with a glass of sparkling and a healthy scoop of caviar wouldn’t go astray either. A promising crowd pleaser at a home party or event. These spring rolls can make you the talk of the town so don’t wait, do your friends a favour for flavour.
Moreton bay bug mix
400g Moreton Bay bug meat
1 egg white ½ teaspoon sesame oil ½ teaspoon chicken powder/ ¼ teaspoon anchovy salt
½ teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
400g Prawn cutlets (tiger prawns preferably) ½ teaspoon Sugar 1 teaspoon Fish sauce ½ teaspoon Chicken powder/ ¼ teaspoon anchovy salt
½ teaspoon White pepper
Other: 25g Rice vermicelli glass noodles (Thin mung bean noodles)
10g dried wood ear mushrooms (optional) 1 packet of large spring roll pastry 3 thinly Sliced Spring onions (White part only)
300ml-400ml neutral cooking oil (Grapeseed oil)
Special equipment: Food processor
Rehydrate wood ear mushrooms in warm water for 20 mins then strain, rinse well & slice finely.
Rehydrate rice vermicelli glass noodles in cold water for 20 mins then strain well and roughly chop into 3-5cm strands.
Separate tail third of the prawn from main body. Cut the tail portion in small pieces and marinate with ingredients listed in large mixing bowl.
In food processor add the Moreton bay bug meat, the main body of the prawns, remaining Moreton bay bug mix ingredients and process until it becomes a mousse/paste (2-3mins) and add to mixing bowl
To the mixing bowl, add the tail end of the prawns, sliced wood ear mushrooms, glass noodles, spring onions and mix well.
Cut square spring roll pastry in half to form triangles. Place approximately 1 ½ teaspoons of the mixture per spring roll pastry and wrap using your finger tips with firm pressure to form thin cigar-sized rolls. Use a touch of egg yolk to seal the spring rolls. Store in air tight container and place in freezer for 2 hours before frying, for best results freeze overnight.
Deep fry for 5-6 mins until golden in grapeseed oil at 180 C or air fry at 180 degrees for 15 mins, then flip/agitate and cook for further 10 mins.
NB: If using air fryer lightly coat/spray spring rolls with oil
Serve with caviar and accompany with sparkling wine for a luxurious experience or sweet chilli sauce and a beer while watching the footy.