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SteveW

Lobster w/braised E-Fu Noodles recipes??

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SteveW   

My brother who now lives in HK, is looking for a recipe for Lobster w/braised E-Fu Noodles. According to him, it's a classic Chinese dish popular in Hong Kong. And can also be ordered in Chinese restaurants in parts of North America. He's cooking 2 live lobsters on Saturday, & would like to make this recipe.

I've checked all the Chinese cookbooks that I can find, but no luck in finding a recipe for this. Can anybody here help me. The major ingredients for this dish are lobster, chicken consomme/stock, E-Fu noodles(Chinese egg noodles), and ginger & onions. Thanks for any help.

____

Steve

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Fat Guy   

SteveW, what level of specificity are you and your brother looking for in this recipe? In other words, is he trying to figure out how to make E-Fu noodles from scratch? Or is he planning to buy them pre-made and pre-fried, such that all he's looking for are instructions for combining the remaining ingredients?

For those of you who aren't familiar with E-Fu (a/k/a "long life") noodles, they're flat egg-noodles (wheat flour) that are first deep-fried, and then cooked briefly in simmering liquid. If you buy them in an Asian market, they've typically been fried and bagged, and you just have to do the last step (the simmering, and not for very long). Actually, as I recall, it was explained to me by one E-Fu aficionado that some prefer to dip the E-Fu noodles in boiling liquid twice in order first to remove the excess oil and second to soften them. E-Fu noodles are highly absorbent, so when you add them to wet ingredients they soak up a lot of the moisture and take on that flavor. Whatever the trick is, most restaurants just don't get it. If you're going to fry something and then get it wet, you're walking right on the fence -- you're very close to doing something that is guaranteed to result in a soggy unappetizing mess. I've only had a couple of examples of E-Fu noodles that made me sit up and take notice of the possibilities of the technique, once in Vancouver and once in Singapore. Never in New York, though the Chou Zhou (Flushing, Queens) rendition wasn't bad (at least they got the texture right) nor was the one at Joe's Shanghai (but that was noteworthy mostly for the abundance of seafood and not the underlying noodles).

The term "braised" when applied to E-Fu noodles (which seems to be a common usage on Chinese menus) is probably not accurate. If anything, it's not the noodles that are braised, or at least my understanding is that the noodles are cooked briefly and added at the last minute to whatever the dish is. The underlying dish may be braised, though I wouldn't recommend braising lobster -- shellfish just doesn't take well to that technique.

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cabrales   
I've checked all the Chinese cookbooks that I can find, but no luck in finding a recipe for this.

When pursuing your investigations, consider also checking recipes for braised E-Fu noodles with crab (with which such noodles are more frequently combined).   :wink:

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SteveW   

From checking my brother's e-mail message again, all he wants are instructions for combining the ingredients. Thanks fat guy, for the background about the E-Fu Noodles. From asking a good friend in HK for help with this recipe, she told me about another interesting way they do it there. It's lobster with noodles & cheese sauce(might be considered a fusion thing).

Thanks cabrales, for suggesting to check recipes for E-Fu noodles with crab. All I did, was look for lobster recipes.

-------

Steve

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Fat Guy   

Here's what I'd do, as a Western cook, to make this dish. I'm not talking about the authentic method, but rather my French/Nouveau-American take on it.

In the morning, I'd take the two lobsters and, while they're still alive, I'd remove their claws and tails. I'd clean out the bodies and heads and separate them into the two pieces they naturally separate into. I'd roast those heads and bodies in the oven at 375 degrees for about an hour. While that's happening, I'd cook the claws and tails in a pot of boiling water: Assuming 1.5 pound lobsters, first the tails for about 3 minutes, then the claws for about 6 minutes (I want them to be somewhat rare), immediately dropping them into ice water when the cooking time is up. I'd remove the meat from the shells and put it in the refrigerator for later.

If these are spiny lobsters, as are more prevalent in Asia, I'd do the same thing but of course only with the tails.

Then I'd skip the chicken stock altogether because I'd make a stock out of the roasted lobster heads and bodies, with leeks, carrots, celery, and fennel (or any combination of seafood-stock-acceptable aromatic vegetables). I'd let it go for a couple of hours with the shells in it, then I'd strain it and put it back on the stovetop to reduce for a couple more hours until it's extremely rich. At this point I'd salt it to taste, or perhaps fortify it with a little bit of a salty Chinese condiment like soy or XO or oyster sauce.

I'd cook the E-Fu noodles in two changes of salted water, or, if I had extra lobster stock, I'd add some of it to the second pot in order to begin imparting the lobster taste to the noodles. Then I'd stir-fry ginger, garlic, and scallions and then I'd add to the wok or saute pan the noodles and enough lobster stock to make them pretty wet. Once that stock came up to the boil, I'd cut the heat to low and add chunks of lobster meat, stir everything around until the lobster meat is heated through, and serve with sparkling wine from Oregon.

Does anybody know the real way to make this dish?

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SteveW   

My brother will be using 2 live Australian lobsters(Spiny lobsters), for the lobster recipe.

Steve

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Fat Guy   

Steve, did your brother make this dish over the weekend? Have you received feedback yet? If so, how did it come out and what recipe did he use.

I was trying to think of American foods that are deep fried and then cooked in some other way. The only ones I could come up with were sausages. There's a frankfurter place in Connecticut, Rawley's, that fries and then grills. And in Wisconsin I've seen Bratwurst techniques that call for frying followed by boiling in beer. Still, I just don't fully comprehend the method. To me, the whole point of frying to to create a crispy exterior, and pretty much anything you do to fried food after that ruins it. So I guess I'm having trouble with the whole E-Fu concept as a sound theoretical culinary proposition.

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SteveW   

Steven(Fat Guy), yes my brother did make the Lobster w/braised E-Fu Noodles dish over the weekend(Saturday). Besides posting here, I'd asked a friend or two, & food experts for a recipe of this dish. Eventually a Hong Kong foodie friend supplied me with a recipe(then I forwarded to my brother). Below I'll list the instructions. Instead of using Australian lobsters(his original intention), he got another live Asian spiny lobsters from the area. These were huge(my brother e-mailed me several pictures of the lobsters they purchased). He briefly told me after the meal, that he enjoyed the dish. Given a preference, he told me that he prefers slightly the Asian spiny lobsters(including Australian lobster) over American/Canadian lobsters, by saying the meat is a little sweeter. If anybody has another authentic recipe of this dish, they're welcome to add their input.

Recipe intructions(it's pretty simple):First clean the lobster and cut them into pieces. Blanch the E-Fu Noodles & drain. Fry the lobster in quite a bit of oil, until just slightly undercooked, then remove from pan and pour off most of the oil. In the remaining oil, add some garlic & slices of ginger & spring onions(optional). Add the lobster back in pan with some chicken stock & the noodles & some white pepper. Cook until everything is heated throughout. That's about it.

-------------

Steve

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Fat Guy   

I've never had the opportunity to do a serious point-by-point comparison of North American/Breton-style lobsters and spiny lobsters, because so many factors would need to be controlled for. I think the wisest move, though, is always to get what is fresh and local: It's probably hard to get a New England lobster in Asia that's as good as the Asian lobsters in Asia, and vice versa. The one thing I can say categorically is that spiny lobsters make for better sashimi. I think it should also come as no surprise that the local lobsters everywhere are probably best suited to the local cuisine. The sweet, almost shrimpy meat of a spiny lobster probably would not flatter a lobster and truffle risotto, and the subtler, more tender meat of the North Atlantic lobster probably wouldn't be as good in an Asian preparation. Just a guess.

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SteveW   

My brother grew up eating the North American lobsters(mostly Canadian), & never ate Asian spiny lobsters until moving to Hong Kong 2+ years ago. The Asian spiny lobsters from all reports are much more tastier than the Caribbeen spiny lobsters. One reason is that the Asian lobsters come from cold waters vs the warm waters of Caribbeen lobsters(hope I didn't get the facts screwed up). Are any live Asian spiny lobsters(including Australian spiny lobsters) available in the US? I suspect the Nobu restaurant in NYC, might get a regular supply.

----------

Steve

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Fat Guy   

I think Nobu gets its spiny lobsters from Florida. I imagine it's not so easy to ship live seafood 12,000 miles. Then again, if there's a good enough reason to, somebody is probably doing it.

I don't know if there are different species of spiny lobster, but it wouldn't surprise me: A lobster in Florida and a lobster in Asia wouldn't likely be the same. Atlantic and Pacific fish rarely are. Most lobsters, though, so long as they're the same species, taste pretty similar. Did we already discuss this on another thread, or was I dreaming?

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cabrales   
I don't know if there are different species of spiny lobster, but it wouldn't surprise me: A lobster in Florida and a lobster in Asia wouldn't likely be the same. Atlantic and Pacific fish rarely are. Most lobsters, though, so long as they're the same species, taste pretty similar. Did we already discuss this on another thread, or was I dreaming?

See A Balic thread (p. 15) on some Australian and South African spiny lobster observations. The South African langoustes I had tasted very different from those caught within French borders.  Dominique (sic) Bouchet's Les Ambassadeurs at the Crillon, Paris, had French langoustes about 3 months ago -- brilliantly prepared (please call before reliance), but mightily expensive. :wink:  Roellinger's Maison de Brincourt would probably be a good place to have langoustes.

There's some other thread with lobster in its thread name as well. Brittany lobsters are, for me, the most yummy.  :raz:  I think they may be included in the grand seafood platter called "Le Plateau" I have prebooked at Roellinger's bistro "Coquillage" in Cancale for this weekend (??).  (Note for members: this platter requires at least 1 days' advance notice.) :wink:  Note that Cancale is relatively easy to access from Paris -- take the TGV to Rennes (2-2.5 hours), and then drive for 30-45 minutes to Cancale.

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This is one of my very favorite dishes at Pings Restaurant. I love to get an extremely large lobster (4 lbs. or more -- we have had some 7 and 8 pounders) because it can be cut in unusually shaped large chunks that work particulalry well for this preparation. When Pings cooks it himself it is excellent, and also proof that large lobsters are not necessarily tough and can have great taste.

Large lobsters are quite expensive however, and old (1/8 lb. of growth per year -- yep the 8 lb. lobster is 64). Worth it for a splurge or a special occasion.

A more affordable (and almost as good) option is to get the twin lobster offering (2 lobsters any style for under $30) and ask them to make the e-fu noodle dish from them.

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cabrales   

Ed -- With respect to getting a gastronomic banquet at Ping's together, is that something in your plans? (There might be a range of preferences among members as to price per person, based on another thread)

Also, what wine would tend to go well with the type of lobster dish you described?

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Also, what wine would tend to go well with the type of lobster dish you described?

Any good white wine that has a little fruit is suitable for Chinese food. Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Rieslings, Gewurtztraminer, Prosecco are a few of the usual suspects that I would suggest. Since this is a dish with almost no sugar in the sauce you might even enjoy a White Burgundy or Cali Chard.

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=Mark   

I'm surprised tommy isn't in here with the expected comments on ordering "eff-you" noodles...

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anil   

IN HKG many places offer to do lobster any-style. Many places will make you lobster with black bean sauce, which is popular, My favourite is lobster braised green onions with ginger & wine sauce. I had this in Aberdeen.

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