Chinese lamb

I fancied cooking something new this evening and came across this recipe, which I’ve had for ages, torn out of a magazine (probably the BBC Good Food magazine) but I’ve never made it. Actually it was a toss up between this and a Spanish garlic chicken recipe but I chose this one in the end. It looked more unusual that the chicken recipe and I showed both to a colleague and he plumped for this one too! It’s unusual in that the lamb is both boiled and stir-fried. It turned out to be very tasty though, and Alberto loved it – I shall definitely be cooking this one again.

I present the amounts listed in the recipe – it’s supposed to serve 4 but I found that the amount of meat was just right for the two of us.

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons of light soy

1½ tablespoons of rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of sesame oil (the recipe doesn’t specify toasted sesame oil but that’s all I had so that’s what I used. I also accidentally added a tablespoon rather than a teaspoon. Ooops. I was able to soak some up with some kitchen roll and added extra soy to balance things up again but the sauce isn’t ruined by too much sesame.)

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tablespoon of chopped coriander

1 teaspoon of castor sugar

For the lamb:

Boneless lamb leg, approx 550g. (I used 500g and it was just enough for 2 – it certainly isn’t enough for 4 like the recipe claims)

8oz of red radishes, roughly chopped

1 large spring onion, chopped

1 large piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

1 cinnamon stick

3 star anise

2 teaspoons of Szechuan peppercorns (I didn’t have any Szechuan peppercorns, nor could I find any anywhere #middleclassproblems so I just used mixed peppercorns.)

1 tablespoon of caster sugar

2 tablespoons of Chinese cooking wine

Cornflour for dusting

Oil for frying.


Make the sauce first. This allows the flavours to mix well whilst the lamb is cooking.

Combine the soy, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, coriander and sugar in a small bowl. Mix well. It should be sweet and tangy. Set aside.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the lamb and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove the meat from the pan to a sieve and wash it under warm water.

Clean the saucepan and then return the meat (off the heat) to the pan and add the radishes, spring onion, ginger, cumin seeds, cinnamon, star anise, peppercorns, sugar and cooking wine.

Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the meat is tender. (45 minutes to an hour.)

Take the lamb out of the cooking liquid and leave to cool.

Carve into thick slices (1cm thick, approx).

Dust each slice with cornflour and then tap off any excess. (This is a lot more tricky than it sounds – the odd texture of cornflour makes it more difficult to sprinkle than ordinary flour.)

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok and stir-fry the lamb slices until golden. (3-5 minutes a each)

Arrange on a plate and spoon over the sauce that you made at the start.

I served this with steamed broccoli and asparagus and rice that I had, pretentiously, shaped into a stumpy tower using a ramekin as a mould. I even arranged the slices of lamb in a criss-coss pattern, like a meaty Jenga!

The whole thing is delicious. All the herbs and spices give it a lot of complex flavours and the lamb is crispy on the outside and juicy and flavoursome on the inside.



About neilche

Hi. My name's Neil. I live in Brighton with my flatmate (also Neil) and I work as a Librarian at a local college. I like cooking, eating and socialising with friends. Which is what prompted me to start this blog. I cycle everywhere around town - it helps to work off the calories!
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