This Singapore Chilli Lobster recipe is a play on the iconic Singapore Chilli Crab. I thought I’d add a twist to an old favourite, because I’m cool like that! 😉
You’ll pleased to hear that, unlike in the Chilli Crab recipe, I will not insist on live lobsters. If you can get, and are not terrified of, live crustacea, then go get some fresh lobsters. However, for practicality, a freshly cooked, halved lobster is probably the best option. After all, we will quickly cook the lobster in boiling water before immersing it in the chilli sauce.
But just in case, if you do fancy grappling with a live lobster, I’ll give you a quick step by step guide to cooking and preparing one. If you’ve got a cooked one as mentioned above, go straight to step 2 in the instructions.
Handy Hints on Cooking The Singapore Chilli Lobster
How to Cook a Live Lobster
Raw lobsters are usually dark with various specks of colour. Once cooked, the shells turn a deep red. When buying a live lobster, make sure that its claws are bound together, for obvious reasons.
You should kill the lobster just before cooking it. It’s generally agreed that the most humane way to do this is:
- Place the lobster in the freezer for about 2 hours to render it unconscious.
- At this point, the lobster shouldn’t be moving. Take a sharp knife, find the little cross over its head and plunge the knife straight through, very quickly; this ought to kill it instantly.
- Bring a large stockpot of water to boil and plunge the lobsters (one at a time if need be) and simmer for 15 minutes. The size of the lobsters will determine the length of cooking time. The first 500g (roughly 1lb) needs 15 minutes. Thereafter, it’s an additional 10 minutes for very extra 500g/about 1lb.
Preparing a Cooked Lobster
Twist off the claws and crack them with a pair of lobster crackers, if you have them, or use a hammer.
Remove the meat with a small fork or spoon.
Twist them off, flatten with the back of a knife and remove the meat with a lobster pick or some thin double ended metal skewers. If you happen to knit, a knitting needle will do nicely too!
Or, erm, just suck them out, like the locals do!
We need to split the body in half. Insert a sharp knife at the same point earlier, when you were killing the lobster, and press and cut down firmly along the body.
Do the same in the other direction to the head.
Separate the two halves and remove the gills, the stomach sac and the intestinal vein.
Leave the lobster in its shells and proceed with the recipes at step 2. One lobster will serve 2 people.
The green thing you see in the lobster is called tomalley and serves as the lobster’s liver and pancreas. Considered a delicacy, it can be eaten as is and is also used to flavour bisques and sauces.
However, there are health concerns, with reports of high levels of PCBs and toxins that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning in lobsters from certain areas. Find out of you have got a lobster from a reputable source and if you fancy eating that green thing!
Specialist Ingredients for making the Singapore Chilli Lobster
This is salted, fermented soy beans. Click here to read more and for substitutes.
A souring agent, used in so many cuisines around the world. Click here to read more and for substitutes.
Singapore Chilli Lobster
- 2 medium lobsters
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp tomato ketchup
- 2 Tbsp tamarind (mashed with 4 Tbsp water)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- salt to taste
- 125 ml (½ cup) water
- 1 egg beaten lightly
- small handful chopped coriander leaves cilantro
- very small handful chives chopped
Grind to a paste
- 1 medium onion
- 1 fresh red chilli
- 3 cloves garlic
- 5 cm (2½") fresh ginger
- 2 Tbsp taucheo or use same amount of hoisin sauce or dark miso paste
You’ll need a large wok.
To prepare the tamarind:
- Soak the pulp in the water for 10-20 minutes. The hotter the water, the less time you need.
- After the soaking time, give it all good mix with, squeezing the pulp with your fingers, then strain through a medium or large mesh sieve. Discard the seeds and pulp.
Prepare the Lobsters
- Look above on how to prepare the lobsters.
Let's cook the Chilli Lobster!
- Heat oil in a large wok and fry the ingredients until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes, water, ketchup, tamarind and lobsters, and give it a good stir. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, scooping up the sauce and covering the lobsters with it. You could also turn the lobster over for a couple of minutes.
- Check the seasoning, add the egg and gently mix it in for 20 seconds, and turn the heat off and take the wok off the heat. The egg doesn’t want very long as you want wisps of it, not scrambled bits.
- Garnish with the herbs and serve with some rice or crusty bread.