Lobster Tempura And Ahi On A Hot Rock

On this week’s show we welcome Fairmont Kea Lani Maui executive chef Tylun Pang, who prepares two dishes from the cookbook What Maui Likes to Eat.


Sweet, cold-water lobster tails make this lobster tempura dish special. The lobster tails that I like to use are Tristan lobster tails. Their shells are thin, and the meat is exceptionally sweet. You can find these tails at The Seafood Connection.

* 8 (3-4 ounce) frozen Tristann lobster tailss
* oil, for deep frying

For Batter:

* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup cornstarch
* 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup ice-coldd water (adjust water if thinner batter desired)

For Grapefruitt Soy Sauce:

* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon grape-fruitt juice

For Chilii Aiolii Sauce:

* 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
* 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek

For Pineapple e Sweet Chilii Sauce:

* 2 tablespoons sweet Thaii chilii sauce
* 1 tablespoon minced fresh pineapple

Mix up all the dipping sauces. They are all very easy. All you need to do is measure the ingredients into three small bowls and mix.

If you think your family or guests might want more sauce, you can double or triple the quantities.

Defrost the lobster tails in the refrigerator for best results.

Split the lobster tails in half lengthwise. Gently pull lobster meat from shell, leaving the meat attached to the tail end of the shell.

Put all the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt) for the batter in a bowl and whisk them together. Gradually add the ice water, whisking the batter as you pour.

Don’t feel that you need to add all the water; if the batter looks fine to you, stop pouring.

Try not to overmix the batter. That would release the gluten in the flour and make the tempura coating tough and chewy.

Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepot to 350 degrees (a frying thermometer is a big help). Hold a lobster tail by the shell and dip the dangling tail meat into the batter and then into the hot oil.

Fry the lobster until it is crisp, or about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the lobster tails are cooked.

We like to leave the tails on as they turn red when cooked and make a great presentation.

Serve the lobster with the three dipping sauces on the side.

Makes four servings.


This recipe was developed for the Fairmont Kea Lani’s plantation-inspired restaurant Ko. We serve seasoned cubes of fresh island ahi with a luscious orange-miso sauce. The food comes to the table with a piping-hot ishiyaki stone (Japanese cooking stone) on a bed of Hawaiian rock salt in a bamboo bowl.

Customers can sear the ahi cubes on the heated stone until the fish is just to their taste – lightly seared or completely cooked.

Cooking with hot stones is an old Japanese tradition. There are restaurants in Japan that specialize in ishiyaki cooking. Japanese immigrants brought this delicious tradition to Hawaii.

Ishiyaki stones aren’t expensive. However, if you don’t want to invest in a stone, you can use a tabletop grill or even an electric frying pan.

If you don’t have any of those items, sear the fish in a hot cast-iron skillet and bring it out to your family or guests.

Ask them how they want their ahi and do your best to serve the right mix of lightly seared and fully cooked.

If you do buy and use an ishiyaki stone, be careful washing it. Let it cool completely, do not wash it with detergent and do not soak the stone. All it needs is a quick scrub and rinse.

When heating the stone, use tongs and a spatula to remove it from the oven broiler or burner to a heat-proof plate or a large heat-proof bowl filled with Hawaiian rock salt.

* 12 ounces sashimi-grade ahi
* 2 teaspoons macadamia nut oil
* 1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt
* 1 teaspoon shichimi pepper, or to taste
* 1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds
* 12 bamboo or stainless steel skewers

For Orange Miso Sauce:

* 1 teaspoon grated ginger
* 1 tablespoon aka miso
* 1 tablespoon tahini
* 1/4 cup orange juice
* 1 tablespoon sesame oil
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon honey

For Garnish:

* 4 whole shiso leaves
* 2 tablespoons pickled ginger
* 1/4 cup daikon, cut julienne and rinse in cold water

If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

To make the sauce, peel and grate the ginger. Put all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator until it is time to serve.

To prepare the garnish, wash the shisho leaves. Drain the pickled ginger and julienne daikon, rinse in cold water, drain and set aside.

Cut the ahi approximately 2-inches-wide-by-1-inch-high-by-3/4-inch thick.

Brush the ahi cubes with macadamia nut oil and season with Hawaiian salt and shichimi pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

If you are using an ishiyaki stone, thread each ahi cube on a skewer. Heat the ishiyaki stone in the oven, under the broiler or over a burner. It can take high heat, so feel free to heat it over an open gas flame. Use tongs and a spatula to move the stone to a heat-proof plate or a heat-proof ceramic bowl filled with Hawaiian rock salt.

If using a cast-iron frying pan, heat the pan over high heat and quickly sear the cubes on all sides. Tongs or cooking chop-sticks will help you manage the cubes.

Fill four small sauce dishes with orange-miso sauce.

Divide the garnish among four plates. Put one dish of sauce and one plate of garnish with pickled ginger, shiso and daikon at each setting.

If using an ishiyaki stone, bring the heated stone and the chunks of raw fish to the table.

Let your family or guests sear the fish to their taste.

If using a cast-iron skillet in the kitchen, bring the seared cubes to the table on a serving platter.

Makes four servings.

Watch “Sam Choy’s Kitchen” Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on KHNL.

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