Poh uses pre-toasted belacan for her spicy sambal. She cooks lobster pieces directly in the fresh sambal for maximum flavour.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (7 votes)


  • 1 raw Western rock lobster
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 - 3 tbsp tamarind paste, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 2 red Asian shallots, thinly sliced


  • 10 large dried red chillies
  • 4 red Asian shallots
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 10 long red chillies, chopped
  • 20 g toasted belacan (shrimp paste)
  • Steamed rice, coriander sprigs and lime cheeks, to serve

Cook's notes

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.


Chilling/freezing time: 1 hour

  1. To dispatch the lobster humanely, place it into the freezer for 1 hour to put it to sleep.
  1. Meanwhile, for the rempah, place the dried chillies in a small bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover and stand for 30 minutes. Place all the ingredients including the chilli soaking water in a blender or small food processor and blitz into a smooth paste.
  1. Using a cleaver, cut the lobster in half lengthways, then cut the tail into small medallions and the head into large pieces.
  1. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat.  Add the rempah and stir continuously until it thickens, darkens in colour and the oil has separated.  Add a sprinkle of water if it starts to catch on the bottom. Stir in the tamarind, sugar and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed - the salt and sugar should be a touch over to account for the lobster once added and that the dish is eaten with rice.
  1. Add the lobster pieces and cook, tossing continuously until the lobster shells change colour and the meat is just cooked through. Add the shallots and toss to combine well, then transfer to a large serving plate. Garnish with fresh sprigs of coriander and serve with steamed jasmine rice or coconut rice with lime cheeks on the side.


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