4 large lobsters, 1 3/4 pounds each
Ice, for cooling
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated fresh ginger
3 lemongrass stalks, 1 stalk minced, 2 stalks chopped into 2-inch batons
3 sprigs fresh basil, stems and leaves separated
2 bulbs fennel, 1 trimmed and roughly chopped, 1 trimmed and cut into 8 wedges
2 heads garlic, cloves peeled and germs removed
1 bay leaf 1 leek, white and light green parts roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 sprig fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup tomato puree
2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon salt, plus more for seasoning
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon crushed white peppercorns
2 star anise
4 fingerling potatoes, sliced into quarters
2 lotus roots, boiled for 2 minutes and thinly sliced
12 caps shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch fresh Thai basil, leaves picked
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound water spinach, quickly sauteed with garlic, for serving, optional
1 bunch scallions, cleaned and grilled, for serving, optional
Baguette slices, brushed with olive oil and toasted, for serving, optional
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