How to poach a lobster or crayfish

Kylie Kwong's poached lobster.
Kylie Kwong's poached lobster. Photo: William Meppem

Lobster poached this way is delicious simply sliced and served chilled or at room temperature as a starter, torn up and tossed through a green papaya salad, added to XO fried rice or turned into a delectable lobster omelette. If you don't have the wherewithal to poach your own lobster, then of course, you can always buy a cooked lobster from your fishmonger, or substitute king prawns or yabbies.


1 x 700-800g live lobster


1. Place lobster in a plastic bag and leave in the freezer for one hour, where it will "go to sleep".

2. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to the boil and carefully lower in the whole lobster, ensuring it is completely submerged. Poach for seven minutes, making sure the water does not boil again. Remove the lobster with tongs and drain on a tray or large plate and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

3. Grab the lobster tail in one hand and the head in the other. Give the tail a good twist to pull the tail from the head. Break off the legs and smash the shells with the flat side of a large knife blade. Set aside for garnish.

4. Using kitchen scissors, cut along either side of the soft under-shell of the tail and remove under-shell. Carefully remove the meat in the tail in one piece.

5. Slice lobster tail into medallions, arrange on a serving platter and place reserved legs alongside. Serve with Chinese-style coleslaw with Asian herbs, your favourite dipping sauce, or simply drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, salt flakes and fresh finger limes or lemon.

I cook lobster for special occasions, such as the Kwong clan's Australian-Chinese New Year dinner. Not only is the flesh sweet and succulent but with its stunning bright red shell, it's also quite a spectacle when served on a platter.

Tip: My dear friend Maggie Beer taught me to add the delectable lobster head "roe" or "coral" to aioli or mayonnaise. "Honestly Kylie, this is the best part of the lobster!" Freeze the rest of the head to make a seafood stock later.