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Lobster in coconut broth with Indian aromatics

You'll need

2 tbsp coriander seeds 1 tsp black peppercorns ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds 60 ml (¼ cup) coconut oil 10 fresh curry leaves 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 4 large golden shallots, sliced 3 small green chillies, or to taste, finely chopped 1½ tsp finely grated ginger ½ tsp ground turmeric 700 ml homemade coconut milk (see note) Juice of 1 lime 1.5 kg uncooked lobster tails, peeled, thickly sliced ½ cup finely grated mature coconut flesh, to serve (see note) To serve: coriander sprigs, lime wedges, julienned spring onion (optional) and steamed rice


  • 01
  • Dry-roast coriander, peppercorns and fenugreek until fragrant (1 minute), then finely grind in a mortar and pestle.
  • 02
  • Heat coconut oil in a wok, add curry leaves, garlic and shallot and stir until just golden (5-10 minutes). Add chilli, ginger, turmeric and ground spices and stir until fragrant (20-30 seconds), add 200ml coconut milk and lime juice and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer until well flavoured (5 minutes). Add lobster and cook until opaque (3-5 minutes), then add remaining coconut milk and cook until lobster is just cooked through (3-5 minutes). Serve scattered with coconut flesh, coriander and spring onion, with steamed rice, lime wedges and extra coconut flesh to the side.

Note To make coconut milk, Thai food authority David Thompson suggests processing the flesh in a food processor or blender until finely chopped. Gradually add 350ml hot (not boiling) water for every coconut and process to combine, then transfer to a bowl and work with your hands to extract as much flavour as possible (3-5 minutes). Strain the liquid through a muslin-lined sieve into a bowl and squeeze to extract all liquid (discard solids). One coconut processed with 350ml water yields about 350ml coconut milk. If a recipe calls for slightly more coconut milk than you've made, you can top it up with water. It can be used as full-fat milk or the coconut cream can be separated from it.

Mature coconuts are sold with the outer shell and outer husk removed; the inner husk is brown and hairy. They contain a small amount of liquid and a crunchy white flesh used for making coconut milk and cream. Mature coconuts are available from supermarkets and Asian grocers. To open a mature coconut, pierce two of the eyes (we used a screwdriver) and drain the liquid. Tap firmly around the circumference with the back of a large knife, rotating the coconut with each tap until the shell cracks open. If the coconut smells fermented or the flesh isn't pure white, it's a bad nut.

This lovely creamy, aromatic soup also goes happily with prawns or chicken. You will need 2 mature coconuts to make the coconut milk for this recipe.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Exotically perfumed,full-bodied viognier.

Featured in

Jan 2011

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