1. Cut off the 2 big pincer claws and the 8 little legs. Save for later.
2. Cut off all the antennas, little flippers and whatever little extra appendages there are.
3. Find the place where the tail shell meets the head shell. There is a thin membrane in between the two. Cut all the way around this membrane, but be careful to support the tail! If it's too heavy, it will tear away from the head.
4. Cut lengthwise down the center of the top and bottom of the tail shell. Careful not to nick the meat underneath.
5. Now the hard part. Rip apart the two halves of the shell leaving the tender meat in the tail free. This part can be a giant pain in the butt, especially if the meat starts to stick to the inside of the shell. If that's the case, I start from the top of the shell and gently slide my fingers down each side to detach the meat from the shell.
6. So you may notice in these pictures a large green vein like thing down the center of the tail. That is NOT a digestive tract. That is in fact a lobster egg sack. It may look gross and green now, but will turn a nice orange color like the lobster and be delicious.
7. Repeat steps 1-5 with the rest of the lobsters. This recipe is for about six 1 to 1.5 pound lobsters, so adjust as necessary. Keep the claws and legs separate. As you are going through this process, you will notice a lot of liquid pouring out of the lobster. Save it!
For the lobster:
6 shelled lobsters about 1-1.5 pounds each
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne powder
2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup Canola oil
For the gravy:
1 Tbsp ghee (can substitute butter)
1/4 tsp shah jeera (can substitute whole cumin)
2 large onions puréed/ chopped very finely
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 medium tomatoes,pureed
1 can coconut milk
1 cup lobster juice
1/2 cup water
For the finishing:
Two tbsp ghee
1 tsp Ground cinnamon, cloves, cardamom mixture, I generally use a spice grinder to grind this fresh
1. Mix together the salt, cayenne pepper and turmeric. Use half the mixture to coat all the lobster heads and tails. Use the other half to coat the claws and tails
2. In a wok or a curved pan, bring the canola oil to high heat. Fry each lobster for 30 second on each side. you aren't trying to cook it thoroughly, just get a good sear. Then fry the claws and legs in the same oil.
3. If you have a leftover oil, take out any burnt bits and large lobster pieces. Over low heat, top off with more oil and ghee. Once you reach the proper temperature, add the shah jeera and fry for 15 seconds.
4. Add the pureed onions. Fry for 15 secs and add the sugar
5. Fry for 1 min and add the garlic paste and ginger paste. It should start to look like a homogenous mixture. Add the turmeric, salt and cayenne pepper.
6. Increase to high heat. Add the tomato puree. Fry this mixture for about 10 min or until it becomes golden brown and the oil starts to separate it away from the gravy.
7. Add the lobster juice and water to the puree, stir for a few secs, and THEN add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. You don't want to add the coconut milk straight into the hot mixture as the heat can cause it to clump. After the mixture reaches a boil, turn the heat to low, cover and simmer.
8. So, here is where it become more of an art than a science. As the mixture cooks, parts of it are going to adhere to the bottom and brown. As you occasionally stir, those caramelized bits are going to incorporate into the gravy and give it a nice brown color. As you notice the coloring darkening and the oil start to separate from the gravy again, add in the claws and legs. Cover and simmer again. The claws and legs are essentially giving the gravy the nice lobster flavor. Being encased, they can withstand the boiling temps for a longer period of time and the meat won't get too tough. You want to cook the gravy down further until it thickens and is almost fully cooked. About 10 minutes before you are done, add in the lobster bodies and cook in the sauce.This is also the time for a taste test. More sugar? More Salt? More heat? Up to you! When it reaches the consistency in the picture below, turn off the heat.
|Note how the oil has separated it itself from the gravy.|
9. Add in the ghee and the ground cinnamon, cloves and cardamom mixture. Stir gently. Let rest for 10-15 minutes. Plate over hot rice and ENJOY!
Now, you may ask, do we really need to shell the lobster? The answer is I don't know. I've never tried making this curry without shelling the tail and giving it a sear because it just made sense to me that the sear would give it a better flavor...and also cause that how grandma did it. So, if you try it both ways and its the same, definitely let me know!
Also, this gravy can also be use for other seafood like shrimp and fish. I would recommend used a hearty fish like salmon or swordfish because its such a thick, flavorful gravy that a more delicate fish would get lost.