Rock Lobster Pasta

by Justina Harjono, Ling Ling Dim Sum & Tea House

The Indonesian archipelago is blessed with an abundance of seafood. Chef Justina Harjono uses whole tropical ‘Mutiara’ rock lobster, cream and bonito dashi to create this wonderfully rich seafood pasta.


To serve six

2 fresh mutiara lobster, around 600g each

3 tbsp sea salt

1 medium onion

2 celery stalks

3 garlic cloves

3 sprigs tarragon

1 litre cooking cream

1 tsp chili flakes

15g bonito dashi stock powder


500g spaghetti or linguine

60g unsalted butter

3 tbsp chives
freshly ground black pepper to season

Bring a large pot of water to an intense boil. Generously season with sea salt. Add the lobster and boil for 8 minutes, remove from the pot and let them cool down.

Remove the tail meat from the shell, cut it in half lengthwise and slice into bite sized pieces, extract the meat from the knuckles and claws, transfer to a bowl, cover and store in the fridge.

Using a sturdy knife, break down the lobster shells into 2-3 cm sized pieces, transfer into a large solid pot. Add chopped onion, celery and tarragon together with peeled and smashed garlic, cream, red pepper flakes and the dashi stock powder. Mix well.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and let it gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cream is reduced to half. This should take around 45 minutes. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the lobster cream. Press the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Set aside. Discard the solids. 

Boil water in a large pot, season with sea salt, then add the pasta. Bring the lobster cream to a simmer over medium heat. Add the butter, and gradually stir in around 1 cup of the pasta water. The starchy pasta water will do wonders to your sauce, keep on adding until you reached a good consistency. The sauce shouldn’t be too thick. 

Drain the al dente pasta, add it to the sauce together with the lobster meat. Thoroughly mix for 2-3 mins, add more pasta water if needed. Serve with chopped chives and freshly ground black pepper. 


If you feel extra indulgent, serve with a little ikura or sturgeon caviar.

Justina Harjono is the owner of Ling Ling Dim Sum and Tea House in Jakarta and the chef behind Umami Issues. She has a thing for fresh local produce, likes to experiment and breaking rules ✌️

@jsharjono   @linglingjakarta   @umamissues