Lobster with XO Sauce

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This lobster is first deep-fried to seal in the flavour, then tossed in a wok with XO — it’s one of my favourite dishes; it’s incredibly luxurious and believe me when I say that it’s achievable at home. Don’t be scared of dispatching your lobster; the following page has a detailed explanation that is both easy and humane.

Follow the rules with this one. Spoil yourself first and, once you’ve practised, cook it for your friends. They’ll be happy when you tell them this is on the menu. I enjoy live seafood at a Chinese restaurant in Sussex Street in Sydney’s Chinatown. Its name is Golden Century and, lucky for us cooks, it’s open until four in the morning. You meet many a tired chef there late at night needing good food after a hectic night’s service. This lobster dish is one of my favourites there, along with abalone steamboat.

Ingredients

  • 1 × 700–800 g (1 lb 9 oz-1 lb 12 oz) live lobster
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • ½ Spanish onion, cut into wedges
  • ½ red capsicum (pepper), cut into large dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • ½ knob of ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons shaoxing
  • 3 tablespoons XO sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) fresh chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), cut into julienne
  • 1 large handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves

Method

Kill the lobster humanely, then cut in half lengthways and clean inside. Cut each half crossways into thirds.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer until just smoking (180°C/350°F), and deep-fry the lobster in batches until golden brown, then remove and drain on paper towel. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of oil.

Add the onion, capsicum, garlic and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant. Deglaze the wok with the shaoxing and add the XO sauce, soy sauce, sugar, chicken stock and sesame oil. Return the lobster to the wok and stir-fry until the sauce thickens enough to coat the lobster. Spoon onto a plate, give a good grind of pepper and top with spring onions and coriander leaves to serve.