If I were to count using my fingers the amount of times this dish was cooked in our home growing up, I’d have room left to count 10 other dishes. Curry lobster (or lobster curry as our Guyanese cousins say) never made it to our dinner table as far as I could remember. However curry crabs (simmered in freshly made coconut milk) served with flour dumplings was a regular thing. Let’s mimic that curry crab recipe, with the use of these succulent lobster pieces for what could only be described as the ultimate curry lobster.
Quick lobster note… lobsters found in the tropical waters of the Caribbean are different than the ones most North Americans are familiar with (like Maine lobsters). The Caribbean lobster tend to be a bit more boney (spiny), there’s a subtle difference in taste and they have no claws. I remember snorkeling in the pristine waters of Tobago (Buccoo Reef) a few years back and catching my first ever spiny lobster. With no means of sparking up a fire and cooking it.. let’s just say that was the last time a lobster got away from me!
2 lobsters (about 3lbs)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Caribbean green seasoning
1/4 teaspoon roasted geera (cumin)
1/4 teaspoon amchar massala (optional)
4 cloves garlic
1 small onion
2 sprigs thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
1 cup water
2 tablespoon veg oil
3 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 cup water to cook the curry
1/4 onion for cooking curry
Wash, clean and cut the lobster into pieces. I used a Maine lobster, so I had claws (crack then a few places for the marinade and curry to do it’s thing from the inside -out)… season with the salt, tomato, garlic , onion, garlic, green seasoning, amchar massala, black pepper, roasted geera, thyme and scotch bonnet pepper. Please allow this to marinate for at least 2 hrs in the fridge. Remember to take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before you’re ready to start the curry, so it comes back to room temp before cooking.
Heat the oil in a deep pot on medium heat and add the diced 1/4 onion. Lower the heat to low and let it cook for 2 minutes. Meanwhile in a small bowl, mix the curry powder and 1/4 cup of water to form a sort of thick paste. Pour in the curry mix and cook on low for about 3-5 minutes, until it starts to cook down, go grainy and start to clump. (see images below)
The goal here is to cook off the raw curry taste and to really intensify the overall curry flavors. Turn up your heat if you find that it’s not cooking down. You should have a thick paste, with signs of the vegetable oil you started off with. If you’ve not already done so, turn the heat up to medium high and start adding the marinated lobster pieces to the pot, stirring as you do to pick up all that great curry flavors from the bottom of the pot. Try to coat all the pieces of the lobster with the curry base we created. Place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil. It will release it’s own juices. Let that simmer for a couple minutes, then remove the lid and turn up the heat.
The goal now is to intensify the combined flavors of the curry, seasonings and lobster. Burn off any liquid. In the same bowl you marinated the lobster, pour in the 1 cup of water and stir to pick up all remaining marinade. Pour in the water (mixed with any remaining marinade) into the pot and bring to a boil.
The lobster will go a brilliant red/orange color as it cooks and stand out brilliantly against the rich greenish color of the curry sauce. With the pot uncovered, let that cook for another 4-6 minutes or until the lobster is cooked to your liking (try to not overcook). Personalize this curry lobster by tasting for salt and adjusting accordingly and the the gravy or sauce should be as thick as you like.
Since I had my mom’s help in cooking this tasty curry lobster, she usually finishes off her curry dishes with a topping of finely chopped shado beni (aka culantro, chadon beni or bandanya), if you can’t source shado beni, cilantro works great. Add when you turn off the stove.
You can get creative by using coconut milk instead of the 1 cup of water, but I personally find that it mellows the overall taste too much and takes away from the lovey flavors of the lobster itself.