Happy Year Of The Ox!
Cantonese chef Kwong Wai Keung, who heads up the three Michelin-starred T’ang Court Restaurant in the Langham Hotel, is revered by his peers and known for executing some of the most beautiful Chinese cooking in Hong Kong.
This lobster dish is a revelation.
Marrying members of the humble onion family with luxe lobster is a stroke of genius and the result is incredibly delicious. The lobster is deep-fried briefly to seal in the flavour, then, in the same oil, a sliced onion is cooked with the Chinese technique called guo you, meaning ‘waving through the oil’.
It’s very much a restaurant practice, but skipping this step and stir-frying the onion instead doesn’t make a huge difference at home. If you like to spoil yourself and your loved ones, this dish will do it.
Cantonese Lobster With Spring Onion, Shallots And Red Onion
1 x 800 g (1 lb 12 oz) live lobster
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
3 red Asian shallots, about 120 g
(4¼ oz), thinly sliced
1 red onion, about 120 g (4¼ oz), thinly sliced
5 spring onions (scallions), white part only, cut into 5 cm
(2 inch) lengths
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
A splash of Shaoxing rice wine,
to deglaze the pan
Thinly sliced spring onions (scallions), to garnish
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) Shaoxing
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
Kill the lobster humanely by placing it in the freezer for a couple of hours to put it to sleep, then placing it on its back and splitting it swiftly with a sharp knife. Chop the tail section in half lengthways and remove the intestinal tract. Cut each half section into bite-sized pieces across the shell. Discard the head (unless you like to deep-fry it for presentation).
Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer to 170°C (325°F) or until a cube of
bread turns golden in 10 seconds, and deep-fry the shallots until just golden
(5–8 minutes). Transfer to a sieve with a slotted spoon to drain, then transfer
to a plate lined with paper towel.
Add the sliced onion to the same oil for 5 seconds and remove with a slotted spoon. Drain and set aside.
Increase the heat of the oil to 190°C (375°F) and deep-fry the lobster in batches until the shell turns red. Remove and drain on paper towel.
For the sauce, combine the ingredients in a small bowl.
Carefully pour the oil into a heatproof container (reserve for another use), leaving 1 tablespoon in the wok. Add the spring onion and garlic and stir-fry briefly until aromatic, then return the lobster to the wok. Deglaze the wok with
a splash of Shaoxing. Return the onion to the wok and add the sauce. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens and coats the lobster. Transfer to a serving plate and shower with the crisp shallots and spring onions before serving.