Coconut Milk Soup With Lobster 3.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Jul 12, 2016

This soup has several things going for it, not the least of which is a reminder that even small amounts of well-chosen spices can yield big, aromatic flavor. Here, a combination of toasted ground cloves and poppy seeds, cinnamon and turmeric marries with ginger root, lemon grass, cilantro and shallot. After a few minutes of heat, they are ready to season a cost-conscious amount of fresh lobster tail meat and then infuse a mixture of coconut milk and half-and-half.

Serve warm or chilled, with toasted naan.

Where to Buy: Aroy-D coconut milk has the creamy consistency and natural flavor needed for this soup. It is available at some Safeway stores, at Asian supermarkets and via

3 - 4

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 3-4 servings

  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium or 1/2 large shallot
  • Leaves from 4 to 6 stems cilantro
  • One two-inch piece fresh ginger root
  • 1 lemon grass stalk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • About 12 ounces fresh lobster meat (from 2 good-size lobster tails)
  • One 14-ounce can Aroy-D coconut milk (see headnote)
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • Flaked or coarse sea salt, for serving


Toast the poppy seeds in a nonstick saute pan over medium heat for a few minutes, just until fragrant and lightly browned. Transfer to a small plate to cool. Add the ground cloves to the same pan; toast for a minute or two, just until fragrant. Add to the small plate.

Add the oil to the same saute pan (over medium heat). Mince the shallot (to yield 2 tablespoons). Once the oil shimmers, stir in the shallot; cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, finely chop the cilantro. Peel the ginger, then mince the peeled root (to yield 1 tablespoon). Use the flat side of a chef’s knife to smash the lemon grass and discard its tough outer layers. Cut the stalk in half.

Add the cilantro (to taste), ginger, lemon grass, poppy seeds, cloves, cinnamon and turmeric to the saute pan, stirring to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes, reducing the heat to medium-low as needed to keep the mixture from scorching.

While the mixture is cooking, remove the lobster tails from their shells; discard the shells or reserve for stock. Cut the lobster meat into large chunks, then add them to the saute pan. Cook for about 2 minutes or until almost or partially opaque.

Stir in the coconut milk; increase the heat to medium (if needed) and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times.

Stir in the half-and-half; briefly increase the heat to medium-high; as soon as bubbles form at the edges, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the lemon grass.

Ladle into individual bowls; sprinkle each portion lightly with the salt. Serve hot.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by the late Raji Jallepalli, who was chef-owner of Restaurant Raji in Memphis, in “The New American Chefs: Cooking With the Best of Flavors and Techniques From Around the World,” by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page (Wiley, 2003).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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