Cumin Lamb

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The Pasta Man is a young lawyer from Washington, DC. He cooks a lot of pasta and other things, too. He blogs at www.thepastamanblog.com.

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The lamb takes on the flavors of cumin so well in this Chinese food dish.

Recently I shared with you velveting, the Chinese method for keeping meat tender and delicious. Does it work with lamb?! Only one way to find out… Long story short: yes, it works! Tender, mildly chewy lamb, bursting with cumin flavor, smoky and spicy from poblano peppers, vegetable-y and vaguely healthy from lots of onion and green peppers, and tingly from Sichuan peppercorns. Puts new meaning into better-than-takeout: much healthier (more vegetables and less oil) and it’s fast and delicious!

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Cumin Lamb Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless lamb shoulder, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp. Chinese rice wine, separated (or mirin or omit)
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce, separated into 1 tbsp. and 2 tbsp.
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch, separated
  • 3 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. Sichuan peppercorns (available in Chinese groceries or online)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 very large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and sliced
  • ½ bunch cilantro, cleaned and chopped
  • Vegetable oil

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Instructions

  1. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and peppercorns and toast until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add to the Magic Bullet and blend. Remove spice mixture, add the garlic, and blend.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. In a bowl, mix the lamb, one tablespoon of rice wine, one tablespoon of soy sauce, egg white, and cornstarch.
  3. When the water is boiling, add the lamb and cook two minutes, until just beginning to change color. Remove lamb and rub with ground spices and a pinch of salt.
  4. Meanwhile, add the onions to the wok with a big glug of vegetable oil and a big pinch of salt. Cook until softened and just beginning to brown.
  5. Add both peppers and the lamb and cook, stirring, until lamb is just cooked through. Add remaining soy sauce, garlic, and rice wine, stir and cook until just fragrant, another 30 seconds.
  6. Add cilantro, stir, and serve.

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