XinJiang Style Lamb Chops

If there was one thing I didn’t do enough in 2010, it was trying my hand at new cuisines at home. It’s not that I didn’t do any home-cooking at all last year. But in the 2 or 3 times a week that I did cook something up, out of sheer convenience and laziness, it was always staple favourites that I had made time and time again. So here is one resolution I do intend on keeping for 2011: At least once a month, I will cook up something that I have never cooked up before.

And on that note, here’s a little something inspired by Gourmet San‘s XinJiang Lamb Skewers, adapted from this recipe I found online. As China’s North-Westernmost province (bordering Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and India amongst others), the food of XinJiang often has curious elements of both Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. I find the use of cumin in this dish particularly refreshing as its definitely not a spice associated with Chinese food. For ease, I used lamb-chops instead of the more traditional skewered Shoulder meat.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 4 Lamb Chops (or for the purists: ~600g of Chopped & Skewered Shoulder Meat instead)

For the Spice Rub:

  • 3 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Thumbnail of fresh Ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 table-spoon of Chilli flakes
  • 2 table-spoons of Szechuan Peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 table-spoons of Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of Ground Coriander
  • 2 table-spoons of Soya Sauce
  • 1 tea-spoon Freshly Ground Black pepper
  • 1 tea-spoon sugar
  • 2 table-spoons ground-nut or Mild Olive Oil
  • Juice of half a lemon

Put all the Spice Rub ingredients (except the Oil and lemon juice) into a pestle and mortar and pound into a dry paste for 2 -3 minutes, releasing the flavours from the Szechuan peppercorns, garlic and ginger into the rest of the ground spices. Add the oil and lemon juice towards the end, then mix for a further minute into a wet paste. Coat the lamb generously with the spice rub, and leave to marinate for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).

Pop into a pre-heated 200°C/180°C (fan assis.) oven for 30 minutes for Medium-rare (add a further 5-10 minutes if you like your meat more well done). If you are cooking skewers instead, 20-25 minutes should suffice.