Ali and Mitch Torres share two recipes they grew up with that their father used to make – a condiment made from the intestines of the pearl shell and a dish made from the muscle of the shell.

Drawing on their Djugan and Asian influences we see ginger, garlic, chilli and vinegar given a spin in these tasty and spicy dishes.





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Stinky Pearl Shell

  • 1 Cup of oil (extra virgin olive oil or any brand)
  • 1 x diced brown onion
  • 2 tbsp. Garlic (fresh or jar)
  • 2 tbsp. Ginger (fresh or jar)
  • Crabs (mud) – shells cracked of claws and legs, and body cut into halves or quarters
  • The guts of the crabs
  • 1 x bottle of Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • 2 x beaten eggs
  • Rice (medium or long grain) or your choice of fresh salad to serve with Chilli Crab dish

Garlic Butter Fried Pearl Shell

  • ½ kilo of Pearl shell meat
  • 1 ½ tbsp. butter
  • 1 ½ tbsp. finely chopped garlic

Sweet Pawpaw Salad

  • 1 medium pawpaw (not over ripe, seeds removed)
  • ½ punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of light olive oil
  • ½ lemon sliced
  • ½ lime sliced
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 Red chilli chopped finely

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Stinky Pearl Shell

Preheat your wok/pot on medium.

Add oil to large pot.

Add chopped onions into pot and cook until onions become slightly transparent.

Chop garlic and ginger or add 2 x tbsp. of jarred garlic and ginger, and add to the onions in the wok/pot. Brown, until flavours rise.

In increments add all of the crab guts to wok/pot. Continue to stir while you do this. (At this stage a soup base has started to form; this is the foundation to the chilli crab dish).

Add all of the crab pieces to the wok/pot, and turn up heat to high. Stir until the crab is coated with the mixture of onion, garlic, ginger and crab guts; or until the shell begins to change an orange colour.

Add the whole bottle of Thai chilli sauce, stir in.

Allow for the crab pieces to marinate completely in the juices for 5 or more minutes.

Add 2 x beaten eggs (the secret ingredient) to the wok/pot, the egg will help the dish to thicken up.

Stir and cook until soup thickens up and crab is cooked.

Turn off stove and let sit for 10 mins before serving.

Serve with steamed rice (medium or long grain) or your choice of fresh salad.


Garlic Butter Fried Pearl Shell

Add butter to heated fry pan, when it begins to sizzle add the pearl shell meat to the pan turning the meat pieces regularly, add the salt and pepper.

When the pearl shell has turned golden brown add the chopped coriander – mix through and turn off. Arrange on plate and it is ready to serve with rice, fish.


Sweet Pawpaw Salad

Remove skin off pawpaw and then remove slices of the fruit with a peeler until you have used the whole fruit. Arrange in a pile.

Mix the oil, squeezed lemon and lime into a small bowl, add pinch salt and pepper and sliced chilli – mix well. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and arrange over the pawpaw.

Drizzle the dressing over the top and it is ready to serve.


All the ingredients can be purchased from Asian food stores or the major supermarkets that now carry a whole range of Asian food products.