Sunday, October 31, 2004

Lobsters, a sequel

Another recipe to use up Great Aunt's lobster presents for #2son. This one was inspired by purplegirl's intriguing story about crabs and the secret recipe from Vietnam...I chanced upon Mai Pham's "Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking" at a discount bookstore and found a recipe for "gingered crab with Szechuan peppercorns", which I adapted for the "extra" lobsters.

3 to 4 lobsters or crabs (dungeness or blue)
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. szechuan (roasted, ground) peppercorns
1/2 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
1 tbsp. sea salt
1/2 cup homemade unsalted broth (chicken or pork), or canned
1/2 cup red bell pepper, julienned
1 fresh Thai bird chili (labuyo) or jalapeno, thinly sliced
3 green onions, cut diagonally 1-inch pieces
cilantro sprigs for garnish

Cut crabs or lobsters, removing the tomalley and roe and reserving for sauce.
(Alternatively, boil crabs or lobsters briefly before chopping).
If using crabs, remove underbelly "apron" and discard.
Chop up claws and crab body or lobster tails so that seasonings can penetrate.
In a large work or pan, heat the oil and butter over high heat. Wait until the oil is very hot, then add garlic, ginger, peppercorns, black pepper, salt and the reserved crab or lobster roe/tomalley. Quickly stir fry until fragrant, 20 seconds. Add the crab/lobster pieces and toss in the seasonings for about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the chicken stock, cover and cook for another 4 minutes. Uncover and add the red bell pepper, chili and green onions.

Stir-fry until the red bell pepper starts to wilt and the sauce is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately and with lots of hot steamed rice and napkins.