Lobster Yee Mein is a classic Cantonese noodle dish often served at celebratory banquets and special occasions. Its tender noodles and succulent lobster coated in a flavorful ginger sauce make it easy to see why this dish is so beloved.
Making restaurant-quality Lobster Yee Mein at home is easier than you think. You can recreate this iconic dish in your kitchen with the right ingredients and techniques.
What is Yee Mein?
Yee Mein noodles, or E-Fu noodles, are golden eggs fried to give them a chewy texture. They are wider and flatter than typical noodles.
Yee Mein is made from a dough of wheat flour, egg, alkaline water, and sometimes kansui water. The alkaline helps give the noodles their signature yellow color and springy bite.
When shopping for Yee Mein, look for fresh or dried noodles in Asian grocery stores. The noodles are often sold in folded circular bundles.
To make a stellar plate of Lobster Yee Mein at home, you’ll need:
- 1 whole lobster (about 2 pounds) or 6-8 lobster tails
- Cornstarch for dredging
- Neutral oil for frying (vegetable, canola, etc.)
- 8-12 oz fresh or dried Yee Mein noodles
- Chicken broth
- Oyster sauce
- Soy sauce
- Rice wine
- Sesame oil
- Chicken broth
- Cornstarch slurry
- Lime wedges
Follow these simple steps for restaurant-quality Lobster Yee Mein right in your kitchen:
Prepare the Lobster
- For whole lobsters, use kitchen shears to cut the body and tail into 2-inch pieces. For lobster tails, cut each tail in half lengthwise.
- Pat the lobster pieces dry thoroughly with paper towels. Moisture will cause splattering when frying.
- Place 1 cup cornstarch in a bowl. Dredge the lobster pieces in the cornstarch until fully coated.
- Shake off any excess cornstarch before frying.
Fry the Lobster
- Heat 1⁄2 inch of oil in a big pot or wok to 350°F.
- Working in batches, fry lobster pieces for 1-2 minutes until the shells turn bright red.
- Drain fried lobster on a wire rack or paper towels.
Cook the Noodles
- Bring a sizable saucepan of water to a boil. Cook Yee Mein noodles for 2-3 minutes for fresh noodles according to package directions.
- Drain noodles and rinse under cold water. To avoid sticking, toss with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
Make the Sauce
- 1 Tbsp of oil should be heated very quickly in a wok. Add minced garlic, ginger, and scallion whites. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add lobster and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
- Mix 2 Tbsp cornstarch with 2 Tbsp water in a bowl. Slowly stir into wok until sauce thickens.
- Add scallion greens. Remove from heat.
Finish the Dish
- Pile hot, drained noodles into a serving bowl.
- Ladle lobster and sauce over noodles.
- Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Serve immediately.
Tips for the Best Lobster Yee Mein
- Use the freshest lobster possible for sweet, tender meat.
- Cut lobster pieces evenly for even cooking.
- Dry lobster well so cornstarch adheres. Excess moisture causes oil splatter.
- Fry lobster in batches to maintain oil temperature.
- Cook noodles al dente so they don’t get mushy when coated in sauce.
- Make sure the cornstarch slurry is smooth before adding it to the wok.
- Add scallions at the end to preserve their green color.
- Serve immediately before noodles soak up too much sauce and get soggy.
Ideal Pairings and Serving Suggestions
Lobster Yee Mein is delicious on its own, but here are some tasty pairings to consider:
- Steamed rice or fried rice
- Stir-fried Chinese broccoli
- Pan-fried pork or chicken potstickers
- Wonton or egg drop soup
- Sesame chicken or orange chicken
- Tea-smoked duck
- Crab rangoon
- Steamed egg custard
Lobster Yee Mein is a lavish centerpiece for celebrations like the Lunar New Year, weddings, birthdays, and dinner parties.
For casual family dinners, serve it alongside a simple veggie stir-fry and rice for a quick yet impressive meal. Leftovers also reheat beautifully.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
You can prep components of Lobster Yee Mein ahead of time:
- Cook, drain, and rinse noodles up to 2 days in advance. Toss with oil to prevent sticking and refrigerate.
- Fry lobster up to 2 days in advance. Drain on the rack and refrigerate.
- Make sauce base (without cornstarch) up to 3 days before. Refrigerate.
When ready to serve, reheat lobster in sauce until piping hot. Boil noodles to reheat. Toss noodles in lobster sauce just before serving.
Leftovers will be kept refrigerated for 2-3 days. Reheat gently before serving.
Variations to Try
Lobster Yee Mein is delicious as is, but you can mix it up with these easy variations:
- Substitute chicken, shrimp, beef, or mixed seafood for a cheaper option.
- Use rice noodles or ramen noodles instead of Yee Mein.
- Add veggies like bok choy, mushrooms, cabbage, bean sprouts, or snap peas.
- Stir in spices like red pepper flakes, Sichuan peppercorn, or five-spice powder.
- Finish with crispy fried shallots, crushed peanuts, or pickled vegetables.
- Before serving, drizzle with toasted sesame oil or chile oil.
- Make it soupier by adding more chicken broth.
The Secret to Authentic Restaurant Flavor
Wok hei is the smoky, charred “breath of the wok” flavor that separates restaurant Chinese food. To achieve wok hei at home:
- Use a carbon steel wok or well-seasoned cast iron skillet.
- Heat wok until smoking before adding oil.
- Cook over high heat, stir-frying vigorously.
- Let ingredients “singe” slightly before stirring.
You can get that coveted wok hei flavor in your homemade Lobster Yee Mein with the right technique. It elevates this classic noodle dish to restaurant quality.
So feel free to make Lobster Yee Mein at home. With the simple tips above, you can impress your guests with this luxurious restaurant classic. The sweet lobster paired with the chewy noodles and aromatic ginger sauce will surely become a favorite recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of lobster is best for Lobster Yee Mein?
The best lobster to use is fresh live lobster for the sweetest flavor and tenderest texture. However, you can also use frozen lobster tails, which are easier to prepare. Avoid using pre-cooked lobster meat, which can be rubbery.
Can I make Lobster Yee Mein without wine?
The rice wine is added for flavor, but you can substitute it with chicken or vegetable broth. To assist the sauce become more vibrant, add a dash of vinegar or lemon juice.
Do the noodles need to be fresh Yee Mein noodles?
No, while traditional Yee Mein noodles are preferred, you can use dried Chinese egg noodles, ramen noodles, rice noodles, or even spaghetti in a pinch. The sauce will coat and cling nicely to any noodle.
How do I get the coveted wok hei flavor?
Use a well-seasoned carbon steel wok or cast iron skillet over the highest heat. Let it get smoking hot before adding oil. Then, stir fry ingredients vigorously, allowing them to char just slightly. This smoky flavor is prized in Chinese cooking.
Can I prep Lobster Yee Mein in advance?
You can prep the components in advance for easy weeknight meals. Cook and rinse the noodles up to 2 days ahead. Fry the lobster up to 2 days in advance. Make the sauce base 3 days in advance. When ready to serve, reheat the lobster in the sauce and boil the noodles briefly to serve.