Cafe Society

Lobster in lobster sauce

I have sworn for a long time that I would never include recipes in this blog. I have raised a (completely ineffectual) stink over the notion of other people including recipes. I have my reasons -- the biggest of which being that I neither like nor trust recipes not written by a working cook, describing his methods for cooking something that he prepares fifty or a hundred times a night, and that the recipe or prep details of a working cook are less than useless to a home cook in almost any circumstance. My favorite cook's recipe ever? This one, for prepping chicken roulade, which was written on a cocktail napkin and used to hang above the station of one of my cooks:

Pull chix Pound chix Roll chix Hold chix

All the cooks and chefs reading are laughing right now. Trust me.

But anyway, I'm making an exception here because in this week's review of Paradise Asian Cafe, I mentioned that I'd never seen a restaurant offering Cantonese lobster in lobster sauce. That's still the case. I couldn't find it on a restaurant menu anywhere. But I did find a recipe, courtesy of Madame Wong's Long Life Chinese Cookbook--a vintage tome from the '70s just full of gems like this one--and have decided to share it here just because it looks so good.

It's completely untested. I have no real idea if it'll actually work. But I still have a fairly good idea for the way recipes are put together, and believe this one to be a winner. If anyone feels inspired to try it, I'd love to hear your comments.

Madame Wong's Lobster in Lobster Sauce Serves 4 to 6


* 2 lobster tails (about 1 pound each) * 1 teaspoon salt * 2 tablespoons flour * 1 clove garlic, minced * 1 tablespoon salted (fermented) black beans, pounded and soaked in 1 tablespoon water * 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped fine * 1 scallion, chopped fine * 1/4 pound ground pork * 2 tablespoons sherry * 1 tablespoon light soy sauce * 1 cup chicken stock * 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water * 2 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces * 1 egg, beaten * 2 to 4 cups oil for deep-frying and stir-frying

Preparation: Cut each lobster tail in half. Wash thoroughly. Drain. Cut tails into pieces 1 1/2 inches in length, leaving shells on.

Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the flour on lobster.

Mix garlic with black bean mixture in a bowl. Stir well.

Heat oil for deep-frying to smoking hot. Put in lobster pieces. Deep-fry until shells are red. Drain. Remove.

Reheat 1 tablespoon of oil in wok. Stir-fry black bean mixture 30 seconds. Remove.

Reheat 2 tablespoons of oil in wok. Stir-fry ginger and scallion until there is an aroma, about 30 seconds. Add pork. Stir-fry on high heat until color changes. Add 1 tablespoon of sherry, soy sauce, black bean mixture, and stock. Bring to boil.

Add lobster to meat mixture. Add 1 tablespoon sherry. Cover. Cook 3 minutes.

Remove lid. Bring to boil. Thicken gravy with dissolved cornstarch. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add scallions. Slowly pour in beaten egg. Stir-fry about 10 seconds. Remove.

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Jason Sheehan
Contact: Jason Sheehan