This very simple paua fritters recipe highlights the taste of the paua. Why add lots of additional tastes – the paua is the star of the show and deserves to be.
Paua is a shellfish that is found around the New Zealand coastline. It is a member of the abalone family. Unlike species of abalone found elsewhere, the surface of the paua is black, and it generally has a stronger taste. Like abalone, if not cooked correctly, it can be very tough. This traditional minimalist approach deals with that challenge by mincing the paua before cooking in a fritter (patty). You still get the amazing and unique flavour of paua but won’t end up with a sore jaw!
Admittedly, you will need to be in New Zealand to cook this dish as wild paua is not commercially exported. There is a canned paua product available. However, it is farmed abalone rather than wild paua.
If a visit to New Zealand is on your bucket list, add eating wild paua to the things you need to do there. If a visit to New Zealand isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. Until recently, paua had been overfished, and a quota system was in place. Thankfully today, you can buy fresh or frozen paua. The paua I for these paua fritters was gathered from the wild and rocky Wairarapa coast by family and friends.
During the same New Zealand visit, I did eat a wonderful pan-seared paua steak at the Green Dolphin Restaurant in Kaikoura. Highly recommended. (Check with the restaurant first. There were supply problems after the Kaikoura earthquake.)
The shells of paua are also very special. They have a much deeper blue colour compared to abalone shells.
Add Paua World to your New Zealand trip list, or buy online.
If you are not in New Zealand, there is an alternative. While not wild paua, Australian abalone can make a good substitute. Try this Tasmanian abalone recipe.
- 6 pauas minced
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl
- Lightly whisk the eggs
- Add the eggs, 1/2 of the cup of milk, and the salt and pepper to the flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add additional milk until the batter reaches the right consistency – that of a thick sauce. You shouldn’t need the whole cup of milk.
- Gently fold in the minced Paua, onion, and finely chopped parsley.
- Fry in a little oil at a medium heat, or grill on a bbq plate.