Thursday, February 07, 2008

crab (lobster) noodles

I have very fond memories of being brought out by my dad to eat lobster noodles at royal china or mandarin kitchen at Bayswater. Those days of being a cash strapped student, invariably homesick and desperately missing decent Chinese food. Dad on one of his flying visits to London would take me out to dinner, and we'd always head for those lovely crustaceans. They were always good - wok fried chunks of sweet lobster, served on a bed of thin egg noodles which had been braised in lobster stock, sweetened by strips of ginger and spring onion. It was a messy dish, involving ones fingers, special lobster spoons and a nutcracker, leaving a trail of lobster shells as one picked through the claws. We always ordered our lobster with double portion of noodles. There was also always too much food - a table set for two, with food ordered for about four. We sometimes got the yam duck too - pieces of duck coated in yam and deep fried.

I haven’t had lobster noodles in ages. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I'm too lazy to trek all the way to Bayswater. Maybe it's because I've been busy eating my way through the other excellent restaurants London has to offer. I had a taste of them again on Saturday when Y fed me some which had been doggie bagged from lunch. It was fabulous (well considering that we had determined only to eat chips and garlic bread for dinner (which we both adore), doggie bagged lobster noodles was relatively posh). I couldn't stop thinking about lobster noodles after that.
Still too lazy to trek to Bayswater, I decided to attempt to make these myself. Or at least some sort of potted version thereof. I couldn't find any lobster either, so I settled for crab.

One portion of thin egg noodles
Fish stock (in an ideal world, use homemade crab, lobster or prawn stock)
Spring onions (finely slice the white bits, and cut the green bits into strips)
Large handful of crab meat chunks
Handful of watercress
Minced chilli
Sesame oil

1. sauté the white bits of the spring onion in a splash of oil till softened, the green bits and the minced chilli and stir briefly. Add about a cup of hot fish stock and bring to a boil.
2. cook egg noodles in stock till noodles are cooked and have absorbed the stock. The stock should now be reduced to a thick, syrupy consistency.
3. just before the noodles are done, tip in the crab meat and the watercress. Cook till the crab is cooked through and watercress wilted.
4. season with just a splash of mirin, sesame oil and soya sauce. The mirin should bring out the sweetness of the crab.
5. eat with a nice dollop of xo sauce or teochew chilli oil

Not quite the lobster noodles from bayswater. but enough to tide the cravings over till I next make the journey west.