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Ainsley Harriott’s Coconut Tempura Lobster with Rum Pineapple Salsa & Piña Colada Sauce

Transport yourself to the Caribbean with Ainsley Harriott's recipe for tempura lobster served with boozy rum salsa and coconut piña colada sauce. As seen on ITV's Ainsley's Caribbean Kitchen.

From the book


This dish looks great on the plate and is a joy to eat. Sweet, savoury, spicy and fruity, all with a little kick of rum – what’s not to like? The sweet sauce and spicy salsa are a perfect match for the delicate and lightly crisp lobster tails. Tempura batter should be cold – remember, the colder the batter, the crispier the tempura. If it’s too warm, you can always add a handful of ice cubes to cool it down.

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sunflower oil, for deep-frying
125g plain flour
75g cornflour
1 egg, beaten
200ml soda water, chilled
4 x 175g lobster tails, cut in half lengthways and meat removed
200g desiccated coconut
For the Rum Pineapple Salsa:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
½ red Scotch bonnet chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
½ small pineapple, peeled and finely chopped
100ml golden rum
3 Thai basil sprigs, roughly shredded (or leave whole if leaves are small)
For the Piña Colada Sauce:
150ml coconut cream
150ml pineapple juice
1 small red chilli, halved
1 1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp double cream (optional)

Essential kit

You will need a large deep heavy-based saucepan.


First, make the salsa. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a high heat, add the red onion and sauté for 2–3 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the red pepper and chilli and continue to cook for 1–2 minutes. Add the pineapple, making sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom, and cook for a further 3–4 minutes, continuously stirring and tossing (if you’re brave enough), then remove from the heat. Deglaze the pan with the golden rum and flambé to burn off the alcohol. Place the pan back on the heat and reduce until slightly sticky, then remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the piña colada sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a small pan, bring to a simmer and continue to cook until slightly reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to serve.

Fill a large deep heavy-based saucepan with sunflower oil to a depth of 4cm and set over a medium–high heat. Test the oil is hot enough for deep-frying by dropping in a small piece of bread: it should sizzle and brown in 40–50 seconds.

To make the tempura batter, mix together the flour, cornflour, egg and chilled soda water in a large bowl. Place the lobster tails into the batter, making sure they are well coated, shake off any excess batter, then roll the lobster tails in the desiccated coconut. Carefully lower the lobster tails into the hot oil and fry for 3–4 minutes or until golden and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove to drain on kitchen paper.

To serve, spoon the pineapple salsa down the length of a long plate. Stir the Thai basil into the piña colada sauce, then drizzle the sauce over and around the pineapple and place the crispy lobster tails on top. For a more casual supper with friends, serve the lobster tails in a serving dish in the centre of the table with the salsa and the pina colada on the side for dipping – tuck in and enjoy!

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From the book: Ainsley’s Caribbean Kitchen: Delicious feelgood cooking from the sunshine islands

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