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Essential Journal

  /  Food & Drink   /  Essential Pantry with John Javier: Lobster, Whey, Kabsa Spice & Roses

Essential Pantry with John Javier: Lobster, Whey, Kabsa Spice & Roses

Words: John Javier

Imagery: The Tent (At The End Of The Universe)

This recipe comes from one of my favourite dishes that we serve at The Tent (at the End of the Universe). We make our own labneh at the restaurant for our tzatziki and every time we make it, we are left with an excessive amount of whey. I felt like I needed to incorporate it into our menu somehow and this dish was the end result. We emulsify the whey with butter and cream and then season it with a spice mix called kabsa. Traditionally, kabsa spice mix is used in an Arabic rice dish but in this instance, we season the whey emulsion with it. We serve the lobster with a pink radicchio salad and roasted sunchokes but in a more casual setting, it would feel just as right with a big bowl of fries.



3kg yogurt


1. Place the yogurt into a large wire strainer and leave it in the fridge over a metal bowl overnight. The yellow liquid that will have collected in the bottom of the bowl the next day is called whey. Reserve the yogurt solids in the strainer for another use and set aside the whey.



2 live lobsters

2kg ice


1. Submerge the lobsters in ice water for 15 minutes to put them to sleep.

2. Bring a pot of water to the boil.

3. Place the lobsters into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes and 30 seconds and then shock them in ice water.

4. Remove the claws and knuckles from the body and take the meat out. Cut the lobster in half lengthways and stuff the claw and knuckle meat back into the head.

Kabsa Spice Mix


20g black peppercorns

40g coriander seeds

20g cumin seeds

20g fennel seeds

8g cloves

16 pods black cardamom

16 pods green cardamom

2 dried black limes

24g cinnamon powder

5g ground white pepper

8g paprika

2g ground ginger

2g turmeric powder


1. Preheat your oven to 200c then roast the dried black limes for 5 minutes.

2. Combine everything else that isn’t already a powder into a pan and toast.

3. Add all of the toasted spices, black limes and powders into a blender and blend until it all becomes a powder.

Kabsa Sauce


1 white onion – peeled and diced

6 cloves garlic – peeled and sliced

250g unsalted butter

500g whey

500g double cream

1 tablespoon kabsa spice mix



1. Cook the onions and garlic over low heat until caramelised. Add the butter, whey, double cream and kabsa spice mix. Heat the mixture until just warm.

2. Pour the warm mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Make sure to start the blender on low and increase the speed gradually so you don’t burn yourself, as starting immediately at a high velocity can cause the sauce to explode out of the blender. Season to taste with salt. Allow the sauce to cool in the fridge.

To Serve


2 prepared lobsters

500g kabsa sauce

1 pinch dried rose petals


1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Place the lobster halves on a metal tray with the meat exposed side up. Spoon the kabsa sauce over the meat and roast in the oven for 7 minutes.

2. Once cooked, remove lobsters from the oven and place onto plates. Sprinkle dried rose petals sparingly as they are extremely strong in flavour. Ideally, you want 1-2 petals with each bite. Place dressed lobsters onto plates and serve.

3. Eat it.