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Spiny Lobster Pho

Posted on February 09 2021

Spiny Lobster Pho

We’ve partnered with our friend Mike Le to bring you this authentic recipe for Spiny Lobster Pho. Mike is an incredible chef based here in San Diego, and we are so grateful to him for developing this amazing recipe featuring our Spiny Lobsters. You’ll notice the ingredients are measured first by weight and second by volume. A reliable kitchen scale is always a good tool to have on hand, and will make accurate measurements a cinch.  

Ready in 6 hours  Makes 4 servings 

FOR THE STOCK:

  • 1 large onion 
  • 125 grams unpeeled ginger (3-inch piece) 
  • 4½ pounds chicken wings 
  • 2 pounds chicken feet (or substitute wings) 
  • 2 whole California Spiny Lobsters 
  • 6 quarts room temperature filtered water
  • 7 grams star anise (about 7 stars)
  • 7 grams coriander seeds (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 15 grams cassia bark (Chinese cinnamon) (2 x 3-inch piece)
  • 7 cloves
  • 40 grams yellow rock sugar (2-inch cube) (or substitute 1 tablespoon granulated sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 

FOR THE STOCK SEASONING: 

  • 50 grams rock sugar (2½-inch cube)  
  • 7 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
  • Fish sauce to taste  (optional)

FOR THE SOUP:

  • 2 pounds pho noodles
  • 2 cooked California Spiny Lobster tails, divided 
  • ¾ cup thinly-sliced scallions 
  • ¾ cup cilantro 
  • 1 cup thinly-sliced onions 
  • ½ cup fried shallots (optional) 
  • 4 limes, quartered
  • ¼ cup Thai 
  • 2 Thai chilis or jalapeños, sliced 

1 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Set onion and ginger on a roasting sheet and roast for 1 hour. Once done, leave to cool before slicing ginger into ¼-inch thick coins. Slice the root off the onion and remove the skin. 

2 Split chicken wings into drumettes, flats, and tips. Here is a helpful guide for how to cut them. If you’re able to find chicken feet, clip off the nails before adding to the stock. Place wings and feet in a large pot. Add enough filtered water to just cover the chicken completely and bring to a boil. 

3 While the water comes to a boil, remove lobster heads from lobster tails. Reserve tails in the fridge. Use a large knife or kitchen shears to cut the lobster heads into 2-inch pieces. Set on the roasting pan and roast for 10 minutes at 375°F. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. 

4 As soon as the chicken comes to a boil let it boil for 3 minutes before dumping into a colander. Rinse the chicken wings and feet with cold water. Wash pot. Add the cleaned chicken parts back to the clean pot and top with 6 quarts of room temperature filtered water. Bring to a boil. 

5 While the liquid is coming to a boil, toast the spices in a dry pan until fragrant. Watch them closely as they can burn quickly. Let the spices cool completely before adding them to a spice sachet. You can make one by putting spices in a bit of cheesecloth tied with butcher string. 

6 Once the pot reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Add the spice sachet, rock sugar, kosher salt, onion, and ginger coins to the pot, and leave to simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, carefully add the roasted lobster pieces to the pot, adjusting the heat if necessary to maintain a slow simmer. Skim any foam or impurities that rise to the surface of the pot. Maintain this low simmer for 3 hours. You’ll want to keep the stock as clear as possible.

7 Strain the stock through a muslin cloth or very fine sieve. It is best to let the stock sit for at least an hour before straining, so all the flavors have time to come together and develop. If you’re making the stock ahead, leave it to cool completely, and transfer to the fridge in an airtight container. When you come back the next day, the fat will be very easy to remove. If you’re eating the same day then skim off any fat and bring the stock back to a simmer.

8 Season your strained stock by adding rock sugar, kosher salt, and optionally MSG and fish sauce. You want a balance of saltiness with a hint of sweetness. Remember to make the stock pack a bit more punch when seasoning it by itself. Once you add the noodles the flavor will become more balanced.

TO SERVE: 

1 Bring seasoned stock just to a boil and reduce down to a simmer. Keep pho stock on a low simmer over medium heat. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Divide your pho noodles into 4 servings, weighing about 200 grams per portion. Blanch them in boiling water for 15 seconds one serving at a time. Use a noodle strainer or tongs to remove noodles from the water without disrupting the water in the pot.  

2 Turn the heat off the water pot, place your lobster tails in the water, and cook just until the meat sets, checking every 20-30 seconds. Depending on the size of the tails, this can take anywhere from 2-4 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before splitting lobster tails in half.

3 Layer the cooked lobster tails in the bowl over the noodles, and add the stock. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, onion and fried shallots (optional). Taste the pho before adding in lime and Thai chili if you like.


About Mike Le: Mike credits his mother and grandmother for his love of cooking. Born and raised in Vietnam, his mother worked as a food vendor for many years. There was no shortage of amazing food made with history and love by his mother and grandmother.

After his migration to America, his love for cooking and food was fueled by a melting pot of different cultures. Being fortunate enough to travel the world only added new levels of appreciation and inspiration. Mike has hosted many intimate friend-and-family dinners, catered for events and participated in pop ups across the US. He started a cold brew coffee company and is currently involved in multiple food-related ventures. When he's not cooking or thinking about food, he's a film editor for the television industry and father. 
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