Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Home-style Cantonese Ginger and Green Onion Lobsters...

Lobsters in ginger and green onions have always been a Cantonese Chinese restaurant favourite but never attempted in my kitchen. I imagine few have as it can be a rather daunting and challenging task to undertake with live lobsters (the only way I would want to prepare it). But now I can say I slayed, conquered and served it home-style! With Lunar new year around the corner, this lovely culinary representation of the dragon in Chinese culture symbolizes strength and good luck as it turns vibrant red when cooked. This particular lobster dish is a classic and serving it brings high energy, longevity, respect and prosperity to inaugurate the new year of the Rooster!

Home-Style Cantonese Ginger and Green Onion Lobsters
(adapted from

two 1¼ to 1½ lb. live lobsters (choose fiesty, lively lobsters for optimal freshness) or use 6 to 8 frozen lobster tails
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup oil for shallow frying, plus 2 Tbsp.
6 slices ginger
3 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces

3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine or shaoxing wine
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
pinch of sugar
fresh ground white pepper

If not preparing lobsters right away, keep live in open bag in fridge.

When ready to cook, place lobsters in the sink and run a stream of cold water to wake them up. Try to prepare the lobsters when ready to cook and eat for its best taste, although dissected on a dish up to two hours in the fridge should be fine.

First off, you want to put the lobster down as quick as possible. I do this by lifting the head shell upwards and pressing a sharp knife into the flesh of its head. This should do it and then I remove the head shell to dispatch the lobster. You can discard or trim them so that they can sit upright on the plate for presentation.

Twist off the lobster claws, and cut off the smaller legs. Discard the rubber bands. Set claws aside.

Remove and discard the lobster gills, which are inedible (these are attached on the sides of the head revealed under the head shell). Take out the tomalley and innards if you don't want to use them or include it in this dish. We love this delicacy and of course it stays put!

Both heads contain a nice chunk of tomalley (liver and pancreas)

Cut off the tail portion (there is a nice piece of meat in it). Split the lobster lengthwise from the head portion to the end of the tail, so you have two halves. Take each half and cut into two to three equal pieces. Cut the head piece with attaching legs in half, then halved again.

Separate the elbow joint from the claws and crack each claw with a cleaver (using a mallet may help). Note: Splitting the claw with the light colour side up tends to be more porous and less slippery than the dark side (although I cracked one claw dark side up).

Dissecting and setting all the lobster pieces on a platter.

Pat dry any excess water on the pieces with a paper towel. Mix the flour and cornstarch in a shallow bowl, and lightly dredge the lobster pieces. Dredge only the exposed meat to seal in the juices.

At this point, many restaurants deep fry the lobster in a large wok to quickly seal in the juices. I like to shallow fry in the wok, and 10 seconds will do. This flash fry method cooks the lobster about 70% of the way through, enhances the lobster flavour, produces a rich colour, and seals in the juices while preventing the tender meat from overcooking.

Heat 1 cup of oil until hot (wooden skewer inserted shows tiny bubbles shooting upward its sides) and drop the lobster into the wok for about 10 seconds, stirring occasionally. The shells should turn bright red almost instantly. 
Remove to a sheet pan to drain and towel pat.

Now onto the actual dish- start with a clean wok over high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. oil to the wok, along with the ginger. Let the ginger fry for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the white portions of the onions and the lobster claws (their shells are thicker and needs two minutes of cook time before adding the rest of the lobster and stir fry for one minute, adding the garlic, keeping the heat on high.

Pour the wine around the out sides of the wok and immediately cover it. Let it cook for about three minutes. This step infuses or “bakes” the lobster with the ginger and green onion flavors. Uncover the wok and add the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, white pepper, and the green part of onions. Stir fry for another minute. You can add a couple tablespoons of water if the wok is too dry. Remove onto a large serving platter.

And there you have it! Home-style Cantonese ginger and green onion lobsters!
No guts, no glory.... Utterly delicious!

Another lobster feasting occasion. This time with lotsa tomalley!

Lobsters always add the "feast" in a meal. 
Dinner is served!!

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