Lobster tempura is a crunchy dish that combines the delicate flavors of lobster with the light, crispy texture of tempura batter. This culinary delight is perfect for plenty of occasions, from family gatherings to sophisticated dinner parties. The recipe we’re about to explore not only includes the steps to prepare succulent lobster tempura but also introduces two delightful dips to enhance the overall dining experience.
The History of Tempura Cooking
Tempura is a celebrated cooking style, deeply rooted in both Japanese and Portuguese culinary traditions. It emerged around the mid-16th Century when Japanese settlers in Portugal adapted the traditional batter to their taste. Light and crispy batter is the hallmark of tempura-style cooking with its light and crispy batter, ideal for coating seafood or vegetables before deep frying. The batter should be thin enough to complement, not overwhelm, the lobster’s delicate texture.
What Is the Best Type of Lobster to Use for Tempura?
When creating the perfect lobster tempura, the choice of lobster plays a pivotal role in the overall quality and flavor of the dish. The ideal type of lobster for tempura is the Maine lobster, renowned for its sweet, tender meat and rich flavor. Maine lobsters, particularly the cold-water variety, offer firm and succulent flesh that contrasts beautifully with the light, crispy texture of the tempura batter.
The size of the lobster tail is also important. Medium to large lobster tails, ranging from 16 to 20 ounces, are preferred as they provide ample meat and are easier to work with when cutting into tempura-sized pieces. These larger tails ensure each bite is generously filled with lobster, creating a satisfying balance between the seafood and the batter.
Furthermore, Maine lobster tails are convenient for tempura as they are typically sold pre-processed — cleaned, de-veined, and, in our case, delivered live or fresh-frozen, which simplifies preparation. Whether serving special guests or eating dinner for two, using Maine lobsters for your lobster tempura will make it a dish to remember.
Easy Japanese-Style Lobster Tempura
For this recipe, we focus on lobster tail tempura, a choice that is both elegant and satisfying. Using large lobster tails (16-20oz) is perfect for this recipe, as they can be cut into nice chunks before battering. This dish is ideal for feeding a group of guests or for a special family celebration.
We are including two delicious dips to pair with lobster tempura: one spicy dip and one delicious garlic aioli to spoil everyone with!Print
- 2 lobster tails
- Sunflower oil for frying
For the batter:
- 2 eggs yolks
- 12 fl. oz ice cold soda water or seltzer (you can also use a lite beer)
- 7 oz self-raising flour
- 7 oz self-raising flour
- 1 tsp cornflour
For the spicy Japanese dipping sauce:
- 6 fl. oz (approx.12 tbsp) rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (preferably low salt)
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 red chilli, finely sliced
For the aioli:
- 3 free-range egg yolks
- 4 garlic cloves
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 5 fl. oz extra virgin olive oil
- Mustard (optional)
- Prepare all your ingredients first so that they are all laid out and ready to use.
- Remove the delicious flesh from the lobster tails, cut them into ‘bite-sized’ pieces and place them on kitchen paper or a towel to remove any excess juices or water.
- Make the batter by mixing the flour first, then the eggs and finally the ice-cold liquid that you are using. Do not worry too much about lumps, this does not make any difference to the final dish. Set aside.
- Make your dips, creating the aioli first, as this takes longer. Use a blender to blend all ingredients together except the olive oil. Once the ingredients are blended, add the oil in a steady stream through the blender funnel, reasonably slowly, until thoroughly mixed and a beautiful golden yellow. Add the mustard and blend again quickly (optional).
- To make the Japanese dipping sauce, simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and leave to one side. You can whisk this up again when ready to serve.
- Heat the sunflower oil until it reaches 325°F. Dip each piece of lobster into the batter, shake off any excess and drop the morsels into the oil. It is better to do the tempura in batches than altogether, as they will stick together! If you want to test the heat of the oil, simply drop a tiny bit off of a spoon, and if it sizzles, it’s ready!
- Cook until a light golden colour, then using a slotted spoon, drain them off onto kitchen paper. Season with a bit of salt and ground black pepper. The tempura is now ready to serve with a coriander salad or simply on its own with the dips.
- Serve the tempura lobster tail with the two dips, either as part of a coriander salad or as a standalone dish.
Ensure the batter is thin; if it’s too thick, add a little water.
- Fry the lobster until it’s uniformly crispy.
- For a varied feast, include tempura-style vegetables like chilli peppers, scallions, zucchini, or pepper slices.
- The recipe can be doubled for larger gatherings.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Pan-fry
- Cuisine: Japanese
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 600-700 kcal
- Sugar: <2g
- Sodium: 300-500 mg
- Fat: 35-45g
- Saturated Fat: 5-7g
- Unsaturated Fat: 25-35g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 45-55g
- Fiber: 2-3g
- Protein: 25-30g
- Cholesterol: 150-200 mg
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What Is the Best Way to Serve Lobster Tempura?
Serving lobster tempura in a manner that highlights its exquisite taste and texture is crucial for an unforgettable dining experience. Ideally, lobster tempura should be served fresh and hot right after frying to preserve its signature crispy exterior and tender, juicy interior.
Arrange the lobster tempura on a warm plate in a way that showcases its golden-brown color. A garnish of fresh herbs, like parsley or cilantro, adds a touch of color and freshness to the dish.
Lobster tempura pairs wonderfully with light and refreshing sides. Consider serving it with a crisp, tangy salad, like a simple mix of greens dressed in a vinaigrette, or a cucumber and radish salad for a crunchy contrast.
The choice of dipping sauces can significantly enhance the flavor profile of lobster tempura. A spicy Japanese dipping sauce and a creamy aioli, as included in the recipe, offer a delightful combination of heat and richness. Additionally, a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice just before eating can bring a bright, acidic balance.
Complement lobster tempura with a beverage that can cut through the richness without overpowering the delicate lobster flavor. A crisp, dry white wine, such as a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, or a light, refreshing lager beer works beautifully.
For a more casual or interactive dining experience, consider serving lobster tempura as part of a seafood platter, allowing guests to sample various types of tempura seafood and vegetables. Alternatively, lobster tempura can be the star ingredient in a gourmet lobster tempura roll, combining the crisp texture with soft, fluffy brioche or similar bread.
How Long Does Lobster Tempura Last in the Fridge?
When storing lobster tempura, understanding its shelf life in the refrigerator is critical to maintaining its quality and safety. Generally, lobster tempura can last in the fridge for up to two days when stored properly.
To ensure optimal freshness, place the lobster tempura in an airtight container immediately after it cools down to room temperature. This reduces exposure to air and moisture, which can make the batter soggy and spoil the lobster meat.
Keep the lobster tempura in the coldest part of the refrigerator, typically at or below 40°F (4°C). This temperature range slows down bacterial growth, ensuring the tempura remains safe to eat for a short period.
While lobster tempura is best enjoyed fresh, if you need to reheat it, use an oven or toaster oven set to a moderate temperature. This method helps to restore some of the crispiness of the batter. Microwave reheating is not recommended as it can make the tempura soggy.
Be aware that the quality of lobster tempura will degrade over time in the fridge. The batter may lose its crispiness, and the lobster might not be as tender as when freshly made. It’s best to consume lobster tempura within a day for the best taste and texture.
Always check for any signs of spoilage, like an off smell or change in texture, before consuming leftover lobster tempura. If in doubt, it’s safer to discard the leftovers to avoid the risk of foodborne illness.
Best Ways to Reheat Leftover Lobster Tempura
Reheating leftover lobster tempura can be a bit tricky, as you want to revive its crispiness without overcooking the delicate lobster meat. Here are the best methods to reheat lobster tempura to ensure it retains as much of its original texture and flavor as possible:
- Method: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the lobster tempura on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. This setup allows air to circulate around the tempura, helping it crisp up evenly.
- Time: Heat for about 10-15 minutes. Check occasionally to ensure it doesn’t overcook.
- Result: This method is effective at restoring the tempura’s crispiness while keeping the lobster juicy.
- Method: Similar to the conventional oven, use a toaster oven preheated to 350°F. Place the tempura on the rack.
- Time: Heat for 8-10 minutes, keeping an eye on it to prevent burning.
- Result: The toaster oven is more compact, so it may reheat the tempura more quickly and evenly.
- Method: If you have an air fryer, preheat it to 350°F. Place the tempura in the basket in a single layer.
- Time: Cook for about 3-5 minutes.
- Result: An air fryer can effectively crisp up the tempura batter without additional oil.
- Method: Heat a skillet over medium heat. You may add a small amount of oil to prevent sticking, but it’s not necessary.
- Time: Gently place the tempura in the skillet, heating for about 2 minutes on each side.
- Result: This method can help recrisp the batter but requires careful monitoring to avoid burning.
Tips for Reheating Success
- Avoid the Microwave: Microwaves are not recommended for reheating tempura as they tend to make the batter soggy and rubbery.
- Don’t Overcrowd: Whether using an oven, toaster oven, or air fryer, avoid overcrowding the tempura. This ensures even reheating and crispiness.
- Monitor Closely: Lobster tempura can go from perfectly reheated to overdone quite quickly, so it’s important to keep a close eye during the reheating process.
- Serve Immediately: For the best experience, enjoy the reheated lobster tempura right away while it’s warm and crispy.
This recipe for lobster tempura, complete with two exquisite dips, is a true culinary adventure, elevating your dining experience with a touch of elegance. Whether you choose to serve the tempura lobster tail on its own as a main dish or tucked into a sumptuous lobster roll, this dish is guaranteed to impress your guests and leave them with lasting memories. The lobster roll, a beloved classic, gets an innovative twist here, blending the crisp, light batter of the tempura with the soft, pillowy roll for a contrast that’s simply irresistible.