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In the Galley

Cantonese Lobster

By Dick Beaumont & Jimmy Yeung

I’m going to make the claim that this method of cooking lobster is the best you’ll ever taste. It comes courtesy of Jimmy Yeung of The Pearl Dragon, in Southend, Essex, UK who taught me this recipe more than 30 years ago.

Having lived in Hong Kong for 5 years and traded in China, and most of the Orient, for more than 40 years, I think I am qualified to say that in my opinion The Pearl Dragon is in fact the world’s number one Chinese restaurant and this is Jimmy’s best dish. 


1x large lobster 6 lb (3kg)+. We used two in the dish prepared, but the quantity is according to appetite.

5 x pints (3lts) cornflower oil

1 x pint (500ml) of lobster stock

2 x heads fresh garlic

½ x cup of fresh green stem ginger

1 x cup of potato starch or cornflower

2 x tablespoons oyster sauce

2 x tablespoons light soy sauce

1x tablespoon Shaoshing wine 

1x tablespoon of fish sauce

1x fresh lemon

1x bunch spring onions 

2x bay leaves 

Step 1

Dispatch the lobster by inserting a pointed sharp knife right through the carapace at the ‘+’. (shown below). After you have dispatched your lobster, the first step is to thoroughly clean the lobster using a scrubbing brush and knife to remove all detritus, including any barnacles, then twist off the tail and pull off the claws and put to one side.

Lobster Stock

Split the remaining lobster shell in half and add to a saucepan just covering the shell and pieces with water. 

Add a teaspoon of salt and the two bay leaves. 

Bring to the boil and then turn down to simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain off the stock and put it to one side in a jug or bowl.

Step 2

Whilst the stock is simmering, divide the claws into sections at the joints and break the shell with a hammer.

Step 3

Divide the tail section into sections at each hinge joint by hammering through the shell with a cleaver or large knife.

Step 4

Put all the pieces into a large bowl and shake over the potato starch covering each piece of lobster shell lightly. 

Step 5

Turn with your hands to distribute the potato starch over the lobster pieces.

Step 6

Heat the cooking oil in a large deep cooking pot at high heat. Wait until it’s at high heat ready for deep frying then add all the lobster pieces.

Step 7

Fry for 5 mins making sure the potato starch isn’t browning. Remove the lobster to cool.

Step 8

Medium chop the garlic and coarsely chop the ginger and put it to one side.

Step 9

Now in a wok or deep large pan add a ladle of the deep-frying oil and add the chopped garlic on medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Don’t allow to brown before adding the chopped ginger, fry both off together for 2 or 3 mins, reduce the heat and again don’t allow them to brown.

Step 10

Add the stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce and Shaoshing wine and squeeze the lemon into the mixture. Stir vigorously and bring back to the boil.

Step 11

When boiling add all the lobster pieces and stir continuously at high heat. The dish is almost ready when it all goes sticky and gloopy. 

Step 12

Add the spring onions thinly sliced longways, stir for one minute and move it all to a deep serving bowl.

Step 13

Serve with steamed white rice and stir-fried vegetables; bok choy, choi sum or long stem broccoli.

You will need to use your hands unless you’re very good with chopsticks. The sticky sauce on the shell pieces is the real treasure.

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