Kylie Kwong's poached lobster and Chinese-style coleslaw

Kylie Kwong's poached lobster and Chinese-style coleslaw

When it comes to cooking seafood, simple techniques are always best, allowing the natural integrity of the product to shine through. I cook lobster for special occasions, such as the Kwong clan's Australian-Chinese New Year dinner. Not only is the flesh sweet and succulent but with its stunning bright red shell, it's also quite a spectacle when served on a platter alongside this refreshing Chinese-style coleslaw with Asian herbs.

Kylie Kwong's poached lobster.

Kylie Kwong's poached lobster.

Photo: William Meppem

Poached lobster

Lobster poached this way is delicious simply sliced and served chilled or at room temperature as a starter, torn up and tossed through a green papaya salad, added to XO fried rice or turned into a delectable lobster omelette. If you don't have the wherewithal to poach your own lobster, then of course, you can always buy a cooked lobster from your fishmonger, or substitute king prawns or yabbies.



1 x 700-800g live lobster


1. Place lobster in a plastic bag and leave in the freezer for one hour, where it will "go to sleep".

2. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to the boil and carefully lower in the whole lobster, ensuring it is completely submerged. Poach for seven minutes, making sure the water does not boil again. Remove the lobster with tongs and drain on a tray or large plate and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

3. Grab the lobster tail in one hand and the head in the other. Give the tail a good twist to pull the tail from the head. Break off the legs and smash the shells with the flat side of a large knife blade. Set aside for garnish.

4. Using kitchen scissors, cut along either side of the soft under-shell of the tail and remove under-shell. Carefully remove the meat in the tail in one piece.

5. Slice lobster tail into medallions, arrange on a serving platter and place reserved legs alongside. Serve with Chinese-style coleslaw with Asian herbs, your favourite dipping sauce, or simply drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, salt flakes and fresh finger limes or lemon.

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as part of a banquet

Tip: My dear friend Maggie Beer taught me to add the delectable lobster head "roe" or "coral" to aioli or mayonnaise. "Honestly Kylie, this is the best part of the lobster!" Freeze the rest of the head to make a seafood stock later.

Kylie Kwong's Chinese-style coleslaw with Asian herbs.

Kylie Kwong's Chinese-style coleslaw with Asian herbs.

Photo: William Meppem

Chinese-style coleslaw with Asian herbs

With its piquant dressing and masses of fresh herbs, this vibrant salad makes a refreshing side dish during hot weather. For a truly unique taste of Australia, add finger limes, native karkalla (pigface), Bower spinach or samphire to your coleslaw.


1 small cucumber

3 small carrots, peeled

1 tsp white sugar

1 tsp sea salt

2 sticks of celery, finely sliced on the diagonal

½ cup malt vinegar

2 tbsp white sugar, extra

2½ cups finely shredded Chinese white cabbage

⅔ cup julienned spring onions

1¼ cup fresh bean sprouts

¼ cup round leaf mint leaves

¼ cup Vietnamese mint leaves

¼ cup sweet Thai basil leaves

¼ cup coriander leaves

2 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp roasted sesame seeds

pinch Sichuan pepper and salt (see recipe below)


1. Using a vegetable peeler, finely slice cucumber and carrots lengthways into ribbons. Set cucumber aside and cut carrots into a fine julienne. Combine carrots in a bowl with sugar and salt, mix well and leave to stand for 15 minutes.

2. Add celery to a small saucepan of boiling salted water and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain, refresh under cold water and drain again. Set aside.

3. Combine vinegar and extra sugar in a small, heavy-based saucepan and stir over heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer, uncovered for about a minute or until slightly reduced. Set aside to cool before stirring through pickled carrot.

4. In a bowl, combine reserved cucumber, pickled carrot mixture, celery, cabbage, spring onion, bean sprouts and herbs. Pour over combined soy sauce and lemon juice and mix well. Arrange in a salad bowl, sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds, Sichuan pepper and salt and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a side dish to accompany a meal or as part of a banquet

Sichuan pepper and salt


1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns

3 tbsp sea salt


1. Dry-roast peppercorns and salt in a heavy-based pan. When the peppercorns begin to pop and become aromatic, take off the heat. Allow to cool, then grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.

Makes 4 tablespoons

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