Let’s start off this recipe by making up the bao dough. In a small jug add 200mls of warm water then add 5g of instant dried yeast,, 35g of white sugar and 35mls of neutral cooking oil. Mix well then allow the yeast to sit in the warm water for 5-10 minutes. Whilst we wait for the yeast to activate in a large mixing bowl add 370g of plain flour, 30g of skimmed milk powder and 5g of baking powder then mix the flour.
2. When the yeast mixture is ready we now want to gradually add to the flour whilst mixing constantly. When all of the liquid has been added to the flour begin to knead the dough together by hand until 1 cohesive ball of dough is formed.
3. When the dough becomes cohesive and much more manageable empty out onto a worktop and begin to knead the dough. Knead for 5 minutes until the dough becomes nice and elastic when you push into it. When ready roll into a smooth ball then place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Allow the dough to rest and prove in a humid are for 60-90 minutes. The best way I find to prove at home is by adding a pot of boiled water into the bottom of an oven then placing the bowl with the dough above.
4. Whilst we wait on the dough to prove we can now move onto preparing the lobsters. Prior to cooking them the most humane way to treat the lobsters is by storing in the fridge a few hours before. This will send the lobsters into a coma like state making the whole process of killing them far easier. To kill the lobsters, place them onto a cutting board and use a sharp knife to run straight through the cross section onto of the head shown in the image below. Next prepare a large pot of boiling water onto a high heat then add the lobsters when killed whole. Poach the lobsters for 8-10 minutes depending on size.
6. To extract the meat, start by twisting and removing the tail from the head, then pull off the claws and knuckles. Remove the the tail meat by cutting away the small leg section then use your thumb to slide out the flesh. Next, separate the claws from the knuckle then using the back of a knife brake the claws to make removing the claw meat easier. For the knuckle I again prefer to use scissors and a chop stick to cut away the shell then to push the meat out with the chopstick. When all of the meat is extracted, slice into bite sized pieces. When slicing the tail remove the tract by slicing lengthways first then removing. When ready store the lobster in the refrigerator for now.
7. Just before we move back onto the bao’s we can also make up the simplest of sauces to spread onto the bao’s. In a small bowl add 1 minced garlic clove, 2 tbsps of sriracha, 1-2 tsp of togarashi (optional), the juice and zest of 1 lemon and 4-5 tbsps of good preferable Japanese mayonnaise. Mix well then place the sauce to one side along with the lobster.
Back to the Bao’s:
8. After 60-90 minutes of proving the dough should have now doubled in side. Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto a worktop lightly dusted with flour. Knead the dough again for 5 minutes until smooth then shape into a ball. Next, cut and divide the dough into 10 equal sized pieces each one weighing approximately 55g each. When uniformed roll each small pice of dough into a neat ball then place a sheet of clingfilm over the top to prevent them from drying.
10. After the final prove the bao’s again should have doubled in size. To cook the bao’s load each bao into a steamer taking care to leave space in between each one. Place the steamer onto a high heat and steam for 6-8 minutes depending on the size. When cooked keep the bao’s warm in the steamer and all that’s left is to finish the lobster.
Finish the Lobster:
11. Just before we finish the lobster I decided to use clarified butter to really elevate the lobster when heated. To make this simply add butter to a pan and slowly simmer until completely melted and the weigh rises to the top. Remove the weigh then slowly pour the clarified butter into a small container. To cook, add approx 50g of clarified butter to a pan along with 1 tsp of white miso and 2 minced garlic cloves. Cook on a low heat until the butter begins to foam then add the lobster. Sauce the lobster on a high heat until caramelised taking care not to over cook. When ready remove from the heat and season with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice.
12. Now to serve, open up each bao and add a smear of the spicy mayo, add a generous or not so generous amount of lobster to each bao then drizzle with some of the clarified butter we cooked the lobster in. Finish with some toasted sesame, some chopped chives then try to forget how much you spent on lobsters and nourish…