Today, we are going back to the tropical, exotic and wonderful flavors of southeast Asia. The cuisine and ingredients of that region are so unique and so rich in natural flavor, you can’t help but fall in love. You can’t help but go bamboo.
We love to think about the ancient spice routes that brought those lovely Asian and middle east spices and ingredients to Europe (and consequently the Americas), but we rarely think about those spice routes that transported ingredients throughout Asia. And oddly enough, it had a lot to do with Europe. Colonization, cultural diffusion, and so on managed to share culture and food among otherwise very isolated and indigenous cultures. India mixed with China, Indonesia mixed with Malaysia, Vietnam mixed with Thailand, and so on. And thus was born a mixture of some of the best food on the planet.
I chose this recipe because it takes some of the best things from each of these areas and brings them together. Ghee and coconut from India and Burma, shellfish from Thailand and Vietnam, spices and herbs from the rain forests, all brought together in a neat little bundle. This recipe is a cross of southeast Indian, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Thai and 100% southeast Asian. It is addictively delicious, balanced, and layered to perfection.
Southeast Asian Lobster Dumplings
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Yield: 4 portions
1 cup fresh chopped lobster meat, claws and knuckle
1 tablespoon ghee
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 bunch cilantro, fine chop
1 tbsp yuzu juice (or juice of 1 lime)
1 thai chile, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
1 small knob ginger, grated
zest of 1 lime
2 scallions, fine chop
1 package wonton wrappers
1/4 tsp ground corriander seed
1 tbsp egg white (reserved)
In a small sauce pot, cook the ghee and flour together until toasted and light golden in color. Slowly add the coconut milk while whisking until smooth (this is your binder). Season with salt and let cool to room temp. In a mixing bowl, Add all ingredients except wontons, binder and salt. Gently fold in the binder, adding a little bit at a time until mixture is well bound. You may not need to use it all. Season with salt and corriander. Let cool in the fridge.
Place 1 wonton on a cutting board, moisten the edges with the egg white and place a little lobster filling in the center. Fold the wonton over and press to seal. Keep working until the filling is gone. You can now either freeze the dumplings, or cook them right away.
To cook, drop them in boiling salted water and wait until they float. Transfer to a whatever finishing sauce you have prepared. Or, drop then in a deep fryer and fry until crisp.
I would suggest a coconut/lobster/lemongrass broth full of wonderful southeast Asian things, like pressed tofu, egg fritata, straw mushrooms, and so on. Or cook them in a little bit of reserved ghee, with scallions and garlic. If you fry them, serve with a soy based dipping sauce.
Whatever you do, you can’t go wrong. These are delicious.