Karkalla

Karkalla leaves

Karkalla leaves

Beach banana, pigface – whatever you call it, this native succulent adds a welcome salty hit and juicy crunch to fish dishes, salads and stir-fries.

What is it?
Karkalla - also known as pigface and beach banana - is a succulent most commonly found among sand dunes and on cliff faces around the Australian coastline. One species, Disphyma crassifolia, has slender leaves that are plump, juicy, and more palatable than others. It grows further inland on salt flats and in clay.

24 recipes using Australian native ingredients

Why do we care?
With an increased focus on indigenous ingredients, karkalla has come to the fore thanks to its unique fleshy texture and light salty flavour. Kylie Kwong uses it in elegant stir-fries, while it has also been spotted on the menus at Cirrus and Quay among other fine-diners. The briny flavour of karkalla makes it a no-brainer for fish dishes or raw in salads for added texture.

Where can I get it?
Although karkalla is common in the wild, foraging for it is illegal. Cultivated karkalla is of better quality, and can be found at growers' markets, select greengrocers and Outback Pride Fresh.

KARKALLA RECIPE

Pan-fried ocean trout with miso butter and karkalla
Serves 4

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add four pin-boned 160gm skinless ocean trout fillets and cook, turning once, until browned and cooked to your liking (1-2 minutes each side for medium-rare). Transfer to a tray, cover with foil and leave to rest while you make the sauce. Wipe out the pan with paper towels, add 80ml sake, 1 tbsp soy sauce and 2 tsp finely grated ginger, and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by half (1-2 minutes). Add 100gm diced chilled butter a cube at a time, whisking until emulsified, then remove from heat and whisk in 1 tbsp shiro miso to combine. Season to taste, add 50gm karkalla and toss to coat. Spoon sauce over trout and serve.


The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Listen
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Blame the flame

Chef Lennox Hastie worked the coals at Spain’s famed Etxebar...

Prepared chestnuts

A fresh chestnut is a hard nut to crack, so we’re lucky, the...

Home-dried herbs

I’ve got a surplus of herbs in the garden; how do I get the ...

How to carve a jack-o'-lantern

We ask three American chefs to share their pumpkin carving s...

How to grow chillies

This is the time of year for vegetables that like it hot and...

How to grow broccoli

Broccoli is the most prolific member of the brassica family ...

How to pickle fruit and vegetables

I’m keen to get in on this pickling thing. Where’s a good pl...

How to plant broad beans

Plant broad beans now, when the weather is cool, and they’ll...

How to cook wagyu

I’ve been noticing restaurant-grade wagyu in good butcher’s ...

Classic Sunday roast ideas

What’s the key to nailing a really good classic Sunday roast...

Quick meals with chilli bean paste

This handy Chinese condiment is a sure-fire speedy way of ad...

What is Buddha’s hand?

This freakishly shaped fruit, aka fingered citron, hails fro...

Best meat for big parties

What can you suggest that’s low maintenance and high impact ...

Are any spring flowers worth eating?

With borage flowers and violets everywhere, it’s easy to for...

How to grow your own strawberries

A real ace of the garden, strawberries may require attention...