Spicy Lobster With Chinese Chives and Kaffir Lime

I like spice. I like lime. I like lobster. This is an all-round winner. Being the cheap-arse that I am though I’d be inclined to go with mud crab. Not that crab is cheap by any stretch of the imagination. Sigh.

Either way, come on! Kaffir lime & cayenne is an intriguing combo. Would love to give it a go with piles and piles of szechuan pepper too. Did I mention I like spice? Fresh cayenne by the way, is not something I’ve seen around – so if you can’t find it (see pic below), apparently some good alternatives are: chile de arbol OR Thai pepper OR habanero OR jalapeno OR serrano OR cascabel OR pequin OR tepin OR Holland OR cherry pepper.

Chinese chives are garlic chives. Asian grocery stores usually stock them. Another good alternative could be Thai morning glory. Similar and equally as workable in this case.


  • 1 large fresh live lobster (about 4 – 5 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 cup roughly chopped Chinese chives
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 5 – 10 fresh cayenne pepper (see pic below)
  • 2 kaffir lime, juiced but do not discard the limes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • canola oil


Large pointy cooks knife or a sharp tough cleaver
food processor or very large mortar & pestle
extra large saucepan
large wok


Pop your lobster/crab into the freezer for about half an hour to send him off to sleep.
Once he’s all doze-a-licious position your guy with eyes facing you on his back on a chopping surface.
Now run your knife/cleaver straight down the middle starting between the eyes and split him in two. Kaputski! He’s off with the angels now.
If working with a crab, push up the six legs, press your two thumbs either side of the eyes and push away the ‘purse’ (that is the central body part). On the underside you will see a circle of grey feathery gills called dead men’s fingers, pull them off and discard. You can separate his legs now too.

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook for about 5-10 minutes. You want him just barely cooked.
Remove from the boiling water and allow it cool a little.
Separate the head, cut the tail in half (if we are in lobster zone). Remove the claws, smash a little bit (using the hammer), just enough to crack the shell in few places, this will help the sauce penetrate the meat.

In the food processor, chuck in shallots, tomatoes, and cayenne pepper and blitz til smooth (paste consistency).
Heat a large wok over high heat, add canola oil.
Add the paste, fry until fragrant, about a minute.
Add chopped chives, and the juice of kaffir lime, including the limes.
Stir for a few seconds, now add the lobster, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, cook, stirring from time to time about 5 – 10 minutes until fully cooked.
Remove from the heat. Serve immediately with hot steam rice.

Serves: 2 – 4
recipe: Elra

Fresh Cayenne Pepper


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