Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lamb For Our Little Lamb-Lamb's Birthday

Our little Chachi turned three last month. As he was now of legal drinking age in dog years, we decided to give him his first taste of beer and his favourite meat - lamb. Chachi's version of lamb that night was quickly blanched in boiling water. Ours was going to be cumin lamb, Xinjiang style (新疆孜然羊肉). I adapted Fuschia Dunlop's cumin beef recipe for this dish. The prep is a lot of onions, scallions, Chinese red pepper, Sichuan pepper corn (about three heaping tablespoons full), chopped garlic. I seasoned the lamb slices (thin slices used for shabu shabu) with a bit of salt and a lot of cumin. It marinated with a dash of rice wine for about 15 minutes. I heated a dry wok on high until the wok was as hot as it was going to get. The April issue of Saveur talked about how American stoves don't get hot enough to properly stir fry. This is certainly true of my stove. Brian's is a bit better, although still lacking in true fire power, and the stove we tend to use for making Chinese. The Saveur article suggests turning the stove on high and getting the wok hot. You then add whatever you're cooking a bit at a time as to not lower the wok temperature too much. After you add the meat, the article advises to not move the meat for a good few minutes. I tossed in the lamb pieces and let it cook for a couple of minutes, gave a quick toss, and then removed it to a bowl. At this point, the lamb was very rare still.
I then sauteed the aromatics until slightly golden and fragrant. Then I added the lamb back in for a quick toss with all the ingredients.
The resulting dish was quite fiery and numbing. The meat was a perfect medium rare and the dish even had a bit of that elusive woky hay (breath of the wok) that I seem to have been unable to achieve in the past.
We paired the lamb with curry couscous and some cold cumber marinated with chili oil. Interesting sort of "Silk Road" meal.

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