Lobster with Chickpea, Coriander and Olive Oil Sauce


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

Cooking at the Merchant House

By Shaun Hill

Published 2000

  • About

This hummus-like sauce is related in concept to the lentil dhal that partners mackerel in an earlier recipe. The sauce’s subdued spiciness contrasts well with the sweetness in the lobster and, though the presentation is simple, care has to be taken at every stage for the dish to reach its full potential.

Lobster loses its sweetness if refrigerated for any length of time after cooking – that’s why cold lobster is so regularly a disappointment – so this dish must be cooked and eaten the same day. However it can be prepared in advance to a certain extent and the sauce may be made whenever you fancy.


  • 2 lobsters, 600g (1lb 5oz) each
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

For the Sauce

  • 100g ( oz/½ cup) chickpeas (garbanzos), soaked overnight in water
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 lemon
  • 200 ml (7fl oz/¾ cup) fish stock
  • 200 ml (7fl oz/¾ cup) olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • 1 tablespoon coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • salt


Boil the soaked chickpeas in fresh water for about 1 hour or until they are very tender.

Fry the shallot and garlic in a little olive oil until cooked but not coloured. Add the spices, a slice of the lemon, and the chickpeas. Pour in the stock and cook gently for 30 minutes.

Purée the chickpea mixture in a blender with the olive oil, lemon juice and some salt.

To cook the lobsters, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the salt and vinegar to acidulate the water. Boil the lobsters for 10 minutes, then refresh them in coldwater.

Take the meat from the shells as per the instructions and divide into four portions. Reheat the lobster meat briefly in warm cooking liquor if necessary.

Just before serving, add the fresh herbs to the chickpea sauce. Serve the portions of lobster on pools of the sauce.