I’m in heaven at the moment. Camping in a tiny fishing village called Karumba in the Gulf of Carpentaria. It has one shop, one petrol station, one guy that sells mud crabs, one caravan park that sells local seafood and of course, there’s two pubs, one of which is especially awesome, where you can sit on the water and watch the sun set over the ocean. An occurrence I have never witnessed in this country!
It’s actually not the most amazing place, but after the five days of travelling through the dusty, hot, fly and croc infested route we just did from Cooktown, anything would seem like heaven.
It was a slightly testing experience, three couples, all with different ideas and at times different schedules, it was a good test for what we have to come on the road to Darwin and beyond. I’m quite proud of our little posse and I hope the others are too. Coming here and recouping has been great for us, especially being able to share a nice meal together and a cold beverage or two (especially without the fear of crocs, snakes and wolf creek style men in the middle of the night).
The wildlife we have seen on this trip so far has been amazing, including huge Salt Water Crocs (of which we had a much to close encounter with), Cassowaries, Turtles, big butterflies, huge Wedge Tail Eagles, Brolgas, Raptors, Kangaroos, Wallabies, wild pigs/horses/cows, snakes, lizards and Goannas. Fishing has been fun, although difficult at times because of the risk of crocs. We have a bush tucker book with us which was very handy when we caught a couple of Catfish. We were all under the assumption that we couldn’t eat them but the book told us otherwise, and with a few spices and some lemon, cooked on the fire, the flesh was beautifully silky and delicious.
Back in Cooktown I picked a big bag of green mangoes, slightly disappointed that they weren’t ripe yet, but also excited to see if this chutney would work. And it did! Deliciously tart and sweet and perfect for seafood. You could add extra chilli too, almost turning it into more of a chilli sauce. This recipe makes a good amount so that you can keep it for sandwiches etc. There are two recipes here; one for the chutney and one for the prawn dish.
2.5kg Green mangoes, peeled and flesh diced
2 tbs rice bran oil, or other lightly flavoured oil
2 red onions, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp black mustard seeds
5 tsp fresh ginger, grated
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about five minutes. Be careful not to let it go brown or stick to the bottom. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and ginger and sauté for another minute or so or until fragrant.
Add the mango and all other remaining ingredients and bring to the boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour, until mango is soft and liquid has reduced.
Transfer into sterilised jars and leave to cool. Store in the refrigerator. Ideally leave for a day or so before consuming, to allow the flavours to develop.
Serves 4 as a lunch or light dinner
24 green prawns, peeled and de-veined, leave the tails on for presentation if you wish
1/4 cup cold water
4 tbs rice bran oil or other mild flavoured oil
1-2 cups coconut flour
1 tsp salt
1-2 cups shredded coconut
250g puy lentils (also known as french green lentils), boiled in salted water until just cooked, cooled
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
2 lebanese cucumbers chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 green capsicum, chopped
1 clove garlic, finley chopped
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
White wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Green mango and ginger chutney
1 lemon, cut into wedges
For the salad, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, stir well to combine the flavours, drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper, stir again to combine and set aside.
For the prawns, whisk the egg, water and 1 tbs of the oil in a bowl. Put the coconut flour and salt in another bowl and the shredded coconut in another bowl.
Dip a prawn in the egg mixture, then in the coconut flour, then back in the egg and then coat with the shredded coconut. Continue until all the prawns are coated.
Heat a frying pan or bbq to medium high heat. using the remaining 3 tbs of oil, quickly fry the prawns, flipping them with a spatula after about a minute, being careful not to separate the crust from the prawn. Cook for another minute or two until prawns are just cooked through and the crust is golden brown.
Serve the prawns with the salad, chutney, lemon and yoghurt. Enjoy!