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Lobster Tempura

Yield: 4 servings

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) Tristan lobster tails frozen
Oil for deep frying

For the batter:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
½ tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup ice cold water (adjust water if thinner batter desired)

For the grapefruit soy sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grapefruit juice

For the chili aioli sauce:
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon sambal oelek

For the pineapple sweet chili sauce:
2 tablespoons sweet Thai chili 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 iced 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 over-mix the batter. That would release the gluten in the flour and make the tempura coating tough and chewy.

Heat the oil in your deep-fryer or deep saucepot to 350 degrees (a frying thermometer would be 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 ½ 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.

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


Ahi on The Rock

This recipe was developed for The Fairmont Kea Lani’s plantation-inspired restaurant, Kō. 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 Hawai‘i.

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 the kitchen, 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 Spatula to move it from the oven broiler or the burner to a heat-proof plate or a large heat-proof bowl filled with Hawaiian Rock salt.


12 ounces sashimi-grade ‘ahi, cut into approximately 2” wide x 1” high and ¾ “ thick
2 teaspoons macadamia nut oil
1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt
1 teaspoon shichimi pepper or to taste
½ teaspoon black sesame seeds
12 bamboo or stainless steel skewers
For the orange-miso sauce:
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon aka miso
1 tablespoon tahini
¼ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
For the garnish:
4 shiso leaves, whole
2 tablespoons pickled ginger
¼ cup daikon Cut julienne and rinse in cold water

If you are going to skewer the ‘ahi cubes on bamboo skewers, you should soak the bamboo in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking. OR, you can use stainless steel skewers, which don’t need soaking.

  1. To make the sauce, peel and grate the ginger. Put all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Cover the bowl and chill the sauce in the refrigerator until it is time to serve the fish.
  2. To prepare the garnish, wash the shisho leaves. Drain the pickled ginger and Julienne the daikon and rinse in cold water then drain and set aside. 
  3. Cut the ahi into approximately 2” wide x 1” high and ¾ “ thick
  4. Brush the cut ‘ahi cubes with macadamia nut oil and season them with Hawaiian salt and shichimi pepper to taste. Sprinkle on the black sesame seeds.

If you are using an ishiyaki stone, thread each ‘ahi cube on a bamboo or metal skewer. Heat the ishiyaki stone in your 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 in the kitchen, heat the pan over high heat and quickly sear the cubes on all sides. Tongs or cooking chopsticks will help you manage the cubes.

Fill 4 small sauce dishes with orange-miso sauce. Divide the garnish between 4 plates. Put 1 dish of sauce and 1 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.