Ben’s dish of lobster makes use of Thai pumpkins and young galangal.
- 2 x 600 g lobsters
- ½ (about 1.3kg) pumpkin, peeled, halved
- 100 ml vegetable oil
- 100 g galangal (see Note), peeled, sliced
- 2 Asian red eschalots (see Note), sliced
- 2 red bird’s-eye chillies, sliced
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (see Note)
- 3 coriander roots, washed
- Thai basil (see Note) and coriander leaves, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Freezing time 2 hours
Drink match 2010 Ngeringa Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, SA ($35)
Place lobsters in the freezer for 2 hours to induce a stupor; this is the most humane way to cook crustaceans.
Cut half the pumpkin into 5 cm pieces. Heat 60 ml oil in a pan over medium–low heat. Add galangal, eschalots and chillies, and stir for 3 minutes or until softened. Add kaffir lime leaves, coriander roots and pumpkin pieces, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Cover with water, increase heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes or until pumpkin is soft.
Meanwhile, blanch lobsters in boiling salted water for 1 minute, then plunge into iced water. Drain, then remove meat (see Note).
Remove and discard lime leaves from pumpkin mixture, then transfer to a blender and process until smooth. Season. Set aside.
Cut remaining pumpkin into 1cm-thick wedges. Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add pumpkin wedges, season and cook for 5 minutes each side or until lightly browned and tender. Remove and set aside. Add lobster meat to pan and cook for 2 minutes or until lightly coloured. Cut each lobster tail into 8 pieces. Divide purée, pumpkin wedges and lobster among plates. Serve garnished with Thai basil and coriander leaves.
• Galangal, Asian red eschalots, kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil are available from Asian food shops and select greengrocers.
• Twist off head and cut off legs at joints. Using kitchen sdcissors, cut along the soft underside of the lobster tail, then carefullyr emove lobster meat from the tail in one piece.
Photography Brett Stevens