gowans curry

LNL Recipes: Quick and Easy Lobster Curry, by Tom Gowans

In Angolan, Recipes by The New YorkerLeave a Comment

Tom Gowans, also known as “Hippo” from his popular blog Hippo On the Lawn, is a British expat that has been living in Angola for over 18 years. He is also a fine writer, full of wit, character, and the underrated ability to properly tell a story. In his own words:

I first came to Africa in the early 90’s, supposedly for one year. Six months in Mozambique followed by six months in Angola and then home again. 18 years later, I am still here. I have gone where the jobs were, in mine clearance, security, the oil industry, anything that would put bread on the table. I have a farm in southern Angola and am building a lovely restaurant and hotel on the banks of the Rio Kwanza where the river spills into the Atlantic ocean. I am 53 years old, have two sons aged 13 and 4, a longtime girlfriend half my age, two dogs and a fine goose which we keep meaning to eat at Christmas but somehow never do.

Luanda Nightlife (LNL) is a keen reader of his blog and checked in on his recent post, a recipe for “Quick and Easy” Lobster curry, Angola-style. Read on:

I have no idea how much lobster costs in UK but like everything there, I guess it is pretty expensive and not everyone has the opportunity save a few pennies by going out and catching a pot full every time they need some. In Luanda, whole lobster sells for about $15 a kilo which strikes me as pretty bloody eye-watering if all you’re going to eat is the tail, which is all most people seem to want. Our lobsters here are crayfish really, as they do not have claws but everyone calls them lobster.

I do like lobster; simply done in boiling water then chopped up into a salad or butterflied and then grilled with plenty of butter. I especially like it, however, when made as a curry.

This curry is relatively quick and easy to make and uses easy to find ingredients, many of them (shock, horror!) in tins.

First, get yourself a few lobsters…


That should be enough to start with…

Fill a big pan up with very slightly salted water, add chopped fresh coriander stems and bring it up to the boil.

Some people are squeamish about giving lobster a final very hot bath so if you are one of them, buy frozen lobster and leave the guilt to someone else. If you have live ones, you can always pop them in the freezer for a while which numbs them. The trick is not to overload the pot, if you do the temperature of the water falls rapidly and this not only spoils the flesh, it could lead to the appetite busting sight of a lobster thrashing about screaming for Radox bath salts.

While you are busy dropping lobsters in a pot and fishing them out once they are pink (five minutes or so) finely chop up a few onions (one small one per lobster) and fry them off in some oil in a heavy based pan until they are translucent, not brown.

Add a generous table spoon of Garam Masala and stir that in before adding a couple of tins of skinned tomatoes and mash them around to pulp them up a bit. By now the lobsters should all have been boiled so take a couple of cups of the water and pour that into the onion/tomato mix and give it a stir. Keep an eye on it so it does not burn adding a little more lobster water as required. At this stage I usually add chopped fresh pineapple but this is entirely optional. If you want your curry spicy though, this is the time to add fresh or dried chilli. I have a four year old who shouldn’t really eat spicy food so even though I like my curries with a heat rating of ‘Burning Bum By Morning’, I have to make do with mild for the time being.

This is what the sauce should look like with the addition of a little of the water in which the lobsters were boiled Rip the tails off the lobsters and split them open straight down the back. Peel out the flesh and remove the vein. Throw the heads back into the boiling water. Chop up the lobster tails into bite sized chunks and put them to one side.

Read the rest of the recipe over on Tom’s blog.

Enjoy your weekend!