Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Lobster in Spicy Blackbean Sauce

Chinese cooking is a breeze when you think about stir-fries. But when it comes to Chinese restaurant-style cooking, now that's another story. It's not that easy, unless you were raised by a Chinese family. It takes time and practice to realize that a good wok, the intense cooking heat, the right cooking wines/oils, and speed make a major difference in the aromas and flavours in Chinese cuisine.

Although I don't have a gas stove (my next investment) and have a decent wok, I was able to re-create one of my favourite dishes, lobster in blackbean sauce, just like in popular chinese restaurants. I was so proud of myself that day, especially when my parents, who will not eat chinese food other than at renowned chinese restaurants, started licking their fingers and asked for more!

One helpful tip to make fabulous lobster in blackbean sauce enjoyable to eat is to crack open the lobster shell in advance, in places where the meat is hard to reach (like claws). You want to make sure your guests don't battle with their food all evening.

Recipe "au pif":
1 huge fresh lobster (if you can't cut it yourself, you can ask the store to do it for you)
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp ground black pepper (lots)

3/4 lb ground pork
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (about 3/4 of 1 red bell pepper)
1 cup chopped green onions (scallions)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tbsp black bean sauce (local asian grocery store)
1 tbsp oyster sauce (local asian grocery store)
1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 - 1 tsp red chili paste (depending on how much heat you can take)
1 1/2 cup water

4 tbsp canola oil for cooking

Coat the lobster pieces with the corn starch, salt and pepper.

In a small bowl mix water, corn starch, oyster sauce and chili paste with a wisk and put aside for later to make the sauce.

Heat 2 tbsp canola oil in wok or big sauce pan.
Stir fry the lobster pieces for about 5-10 minutes until golden and meat is cooked (check by poking with a knife if meat is white inside out).
Remove lobster and put aside in a large dish.
At medium heat, heat 1 tbsp canola oil in wok and add in ground pork (with a wooden spoon continuously break and stir the pork to make sure pork is cooked in fine granular pieces, and not chunks).
Remove cooked pork and put aside.
Increase heat at high, add in remaining 1 tbsp of the canola oil in wok and stir fry scallions, garlic, red bell peppers. Immediately add in the cooked pork and stir.
Pour in the water mixture, lower heat and stir until sauce becomes thick like gravy.
Pour the sauce over the lobster.

Serve warm with white steamed Jasmin rice.

Serves 4...or 2 hungry people.

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