This was a favourite both at my uncle’s restaurant and at home, where it was almost always featured at family banquets. We kept the live lobsters in tanks at the restaurant, and my job was to prepare them when the orders came in.
The Chinese clientele insisted on the freshest possible seafood – hence the tanks of live lobsters – and they understood that the steaming technique was the best and most delicate way to enjoy this wonderful crustacean. Instead of butter, our version came with a tasty custard of preserved duck eggs. The small bit of pork is added to the custard to make the expensive lobster go further. This recipe makes for a very special meal.
Salted duck eggs are available from most Chinese grocers and supermarkets.
Clean and split the lobster in half, then lightly crack the claws, the back shell and lobster legs with the side of a cleaver or large knife. (The Chinese usually cut up lobsters live, but you can blanch them for 2 minutes first, if you prefer.)
In a bowl, mix together the pork, eggs, salt, pepper and sugar. Crack open and separate the duck eggs, pouring the whites into the bowl with the beaten egg and pork. Mix well. Take the salted duck egg yolks, which are firm, cut them in half and set aside.
Pour the egg and pork mixture into a deep, heatproof
Next set up a steamer, or put a rack in a wok or deep pan, and fill it with
Scatter the spring onions and ginger over the dish. Heat a pan until it is very hot, then swirl in the groundnut and sesame oils. When they are smoking, pour the oils over the lobster and serve at once.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.