Saturday, 16 February 2013

Lobster Masala with Scented Rice

The supermarket was selling frozen lobster tails for a terrific price, so I stocked up.  Tonight we are babysitting, and I wanted to make something special. 

Knowing that Beautiful Granddaughter takes after her lobster loving grammie, four lobsters would be needed for the three of us. 

I’m always looking for ways to get some vegetables into the child, so I hit upon a simple sauce for poaching the lobster, and I snuck a few extra nutrients into the rice. 
I jumped between these two recipes so they’d both be done at the same time. 
First, I assembled the masala for the lobster:

1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
3 cloves
2 green cardamoms, bashed
½ teaspoon fennel seed
1 stick cinnamon
1 Indian bay leaf
In a medium sized pot, dry roast the spices on medium heat.  When they’re fragrant and emitting a light smoke, (about three minutes) remove from heat, take out the bay leaf, and brush into a spice grinder.  Grind to a fine powder, and set aside. 

Then I prepared the rice

1 tablespoon ghee
½ teaspoon cumin seed
1 small onion, sliced and quartered
5 mushrooms, diced
2 prunes finely diced
1 ½ cups basmati rice
3 cups cold water
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon salt
Use a pot with a close fitting lid.  Put it on high heat, add the ghee and when that’s hot, add the cumin seed.  Quickly add the onion, turn the heat to medium and let cook till translucent and somewhat browned, about eight minutes.  Add the mushroom, and continue to cook, browing the mushrooms, another five minutes.  Add the prunes and rice, and carmelise slightly for two minutes, stirring.  Add turmeric, salt and water, and stir well, put heat back on high and cover.  When it’s boiling, turn the heat to low and leave it alone.

While the rice is cooking, start the sauce for the lobster.
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 teaspoon ghee
1 small red onion, diced
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 Thai chilli, seeded and chopped (or use more and use the seeds!)
5 thin slices small ginger piece

1 can coconut milk
1 teaspoon white poppy seed
¼ cup boiling water
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

4 lobster tails (frozen)

Heat the oil and ghee on medium heat, and put the bay leaf back into the pot. Add the onion, cooking till translucent.  Meanwhile, pour boiling water over poppy seed and set aside to soak. Get back to the onion, and add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for about three minutes.  (I used very little chilli as BG objects, but you go ahead and use as much as you like.)  Add the masala, and cook another two or three minutes, stirring often.  By now the onion should be quite soft.  Pour in the coconut milk, then the poppy seed mixture.  At this point, you can pour this mix into a blender or use an immersion blender to liquefy.  I found that I wanted my sauce especially smooth, so I poured mine through a strainer, and poured that back into the pot.  You probably don't need to do this, but if you're finding it too lumpy, go ahead.  Turn the heat to medium high, and boil to thicken.
Once the sauce was a bit thickened, I added the lobster tails, and covered the pot.  Because I used frozen lobsters, they took about twenty minutes to cook.  Part way through the cooking, I used kitchen scissors to cut them down the middle, to help them cook faster, and to make them easier to eat.  I moved them around the pot occasionally, to make sure they were getting equal time in the heat and the sauce.  

The rice went longer than the usual twenty minutes, but this kind of rice is supposed to develop a bit of a crunchy layer at the bottom, which is considered the best part.  After fluffing the rice up a bit, I plated it, wincing a little as I topped the platter with the crunchy stuff, but it was actually delicious.  I set the lobster into a serving bowl with the sauce, and the three of us dug in.  Of course, GB got the lion’s share.
Next time I think I'll add actual peas to this rice!

This was a fairly quick Saturday night dinner, eaten messily with our hands and napkins were definitely needed!  I’ve saved all the shells, and will use the left over sauce to make a lobster bisque—but that’s for tomorrow.  
What fabulous sales have you come across lately?

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