Friday, January 18, 2008
ginger scallion lobster
I can always count on my dad to happily surprise me with a dish from his kitchen. We've never cooked this traditional dish at home before; we've only ordered it out at Cantonese restaurants, and only then, rarely, since it's an expensive one and a messy one for your fingers. However, he made this last weekend for a dinner party that left me in gleeful tears. What's wonderful about this dish is that it's not just the tail meat; you are getting the whole lobster with all its delightful flavors and tender parts.
The ingredients in this dish are simple and straightforward, yet to master it, you must have some serious wok skills. It's cooked fast and furious, over a smokin' hot flame. The resulting lobster is out of this world. Sweet and succulent, it also has a nice subtle smokiness. Ginger and scallion forge a mighty partnership here. Be sure to use a very fresh, live lobster.
Ginger Scallion Lobster (Cōng Jiāng Lóng Xiā)
1 whole live lobster
10 stalks green scallion, cut into 2" long pieces
1" piece fresh ginger, cut into 1/8" discs
5 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp Chinese cooking wine
salt, to taste
1 tsp cornstarch, mixed with 3 Tbsp water
1. Chop up the lobster into large pieces of roughly equal size. Roughly pound the garlic with the flat side of a cleaver to release the flavors.
2. Heat 3 Tbsp of oil over high heat in a wok. Add the scallion, ginger and garlic, and stirfry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lobster pieces and keep stirring until they're 75% cooked through and the shell starts to turn a light red color.
3. Add the salt and cooking wine. At the very end of the cooking process, stir in the cornstarch mixture and allow it to thicken over the pieces of lobster. Remove from heat and serve.