Lobster with beetroot and laksa

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This striking lobster starter recipe by Colin McGurran pairs the meaty shellfish with fragrant laksa broth, pickled beetroot and a tangy orange juice gel. There are several tricky elements to this dish, but if you plan your time carefully the results will be more than worth the effort. When searing the lobster It is important that the pan is very hot so that the lobsters do not cook during this process.

First published in 2015





Laksa sauce

Pickled beetroot

Orange gel

To plate


  • Chamber sealer
  • Water bath
  • Vacuum bags


Preheat a water bath to 90°C
To prepare the beetroots for the pickle, place them in a vacuum bag with a little salt and seal. Cook for 40 minutes then leave to cool in the bag
Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients together in a pan to form a pickling mixture and bring to the boil, simmering for 4 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool, then pass through a fine sieve. Slice the beetroot thinly on a mandoline and transfer to a jar or container, pouring over the pickle mixture to cover. Seal and store for at least 1 hour at room temperature
Preheat a water bath to 50°C
Kill the lobsters by driving a large knife through the cross in the centre of the head. Carefully remove the claws and twist off the tail, blanching both in boiling salted water for 12 seconds. Refresh immediately in iced water and separate the claws from the tails, refrigerating the tails until required
Seal the lobster claws in a vacuum bag, first wrapping the claws in baking paper to prevent the sharp edges tearing the bag. Place in the water bath and cook for 1 hour
Meanwhile, make the laksa. Peel and thinly chop the shallots, garlic, ginger and fennel, and gently sweat in a saucepan with a little oil for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt, then add the tomatoes to the pan and mix well
Add the spices and macadamia nuts to the pan and cook them out for around 5 minutes, then add the coconut milk and shellfish stock and stir well to combine. Bring the laksa to a simmer, then transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into a clean pan and add the coriander and kaffir, leaving for 30 minutes to infuse.
Remove the lobster claws from the water bath and, using a large knife, crack the claws to remove the meat from the shell in one piece. Reserve the claw meat until required
For the orange gel, peel the zest from the oranges, being careful not to get any pith, then cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Carefully blanch the orange peel in boiling water for two minutes and refresh in iced water, repeating this process 4 times
Add the blanched orange peeling to the juice and blitz in a blender until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve and weigh out 500g of juice. Whisking continuously, combine the juice with the agar agar in a pan and bring to the boil, allowing to simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and transfer to a tray to set
  • 6g of agar agar
Once the orange juice has set, transfer to a blender and blitz until the mixture forms a smooth gel. Pass through a fine sieve and reserve in a piping bag or squeezy bottle ready to serve
Preheat a water bath to 55°C
Use scissors to cut down the back of the lobster tails to remove from the shell and place the lobster on a kitchen towel to dry, removing the lobsters’ intestinal tracts
Place a frying pan over a high heat with a little oil. Once hot, season the lobsters with salt and place upside down into the pan. Sear until caramelised, then turn over and add the butter and a squeeze of lemon juice
Leave to cool then place the lobsters in a vacuum bag with the juices from the pan. Seal and place into the water bath to cook for 12 minutes
Pass the infused laksa through a fine sieve and gently reheat in the pan. Meanwhile, thinly slice the kohlrabi on a mandoline and cut out even discs using a 3cm cutter
To serve, slice the lobster tail and claws into pieces and divide amongst the plates. Pipe dots of the orange gel onto each piece of lobster and arrange the pickled beetroot and kohlrabi discs around the plate. Pour over the warm laksa and garnish with coriander cress

Colin McGurran began his career with a burning ambition to own a red Mercedes. Almost 20 years on and he has fulfilled that ambition and much more besides.

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