Lobster Tails Stir Fry with Snow Peas & Ginger Sauce
Easy - You got this
In this recipe, local Australian crustaceans such as lobster, Queensland or Northern Territory mud crabs, or Fraser Isle spanner crabs transform this humble stir fry into a sumptuous dish rich in natural umami.
Stir frying is a culinary technique used throughout Vietnamese and Chinese home cooking. Although distinct in style, there are certain regions in Vietnam where you will find Cantonese-style stir fries. A little known fact is that Cantonese influence in Southern Vietnam is quite prominent and can be traced to a minority group from South China. Often referred to as ‘nguoi Hoa’, (Vietnamese-Chinese) this ethnic group settled in South Vietnam during the country’s formation period, after the fall of the Ming dynasty. Because of this, certain products or dishes that originated from China have since been adapted and hallmarked by Vietnamese people. To this day, there are areas in Saigon that are recognised as the Vietnamese-Chinese quarter. Here you will find Cantonese or Cantonese-inspired cuisine such as wonton dumplings, roasted duck, crispy roast pork and stir fries similar to this one.
My parents were born in Vietnam but their ancestors were nguoi Hoa. Because of this, both Cantonese and Vietnamese style stir-fries were common in our household. One similarity between a Vietnamese and Cantonese stir fry is the fine balance of textures achieved through carefully selected ingredients and cooking technique. For this stir fry, expect a meaty chew from the lobster (or crab), a crispy and fresh snap from the snow peas, and a velvety ginger sauce that gels everything together.
Usually served with freshly steamed rice, stir fried lobster often appears at special occasions such as birthdays or for Lunar New Year celebrations. It’s a meal I cook frequently for my family as a reminder of our upbringing and heritage; something I now realise my parents and their siblings have long been doing in the diaspora.
If you love stir fries and one of Australia’s most heralded crustacean, do yourself a favour and give this recipe a whirl to experience that Vietnamese-Cantonese flavour.
3 small lobster tails, thawed or 1 large (1.2kg+) fresh lobster tail
200g snow peas, strings removed
1 bunch spring onions cut into 3-4cm batons, separate white stalk from green parts.
30g ginger, julienned
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
200ml chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons shaoxing wine (optional)
2 teaspoons corn flour (or potato starch)
4 teaspoons water
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
½ bunch coriander (optional)
In a medium pot of hot boiling water, blanch lobster tails with 1 tablespoon salt for 30 sec, then remove and place in a bowl of cold water. This step makes the lobster meat easy to remove from the shell.
De-shell lobster meat and cut into 3-4 cm pieces, then set aside.
In a medium bowl, add snow peas and a teaspoon of salt. Blanch with hot boiling water for 30 sec, then strain immediately and place in a medium bowl of cold water for 5 mins to stop the cooking process. Strain well.
In a small bowl, mix corn flour with 4 teaspoons of water to make cornflour slurry and set aside.
In a large cast iron pot or fry pan, add cooking oil, ginger and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 2-3 mins or until fragrant. Add lobster, oyster sauce, soy sauce, a pinch of pepper and stir fry on high for 2 mins or until almost cooked through.
Add snow peas, white part of spring onions and shaoxing wine, and mix well on high heat for 15 sec then add chicken stock/water and sugar and bring to the boil. Taste the sauce and at this point if it’s not salty enough, add a pinch of salt.
Once boiling, thicken the sauce, by evenly mixing in the cornflour slurry. Immediately stir well to avoid lumps. Keep on high heat for 1 min or until sauce thickens, then remove from heat and toss through green spring onion batons
Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper, coriander, a drizzle of sesame oil and serve with steamed rice.