葱爆羊肉 （Cong bao yang rou)
Having said I am not a big fan of meat, this lamb dish is one of the very few I really like. – Confused by my statements of what kind of food I like? — I am confused by myself as well. When I try to put down my food preference, for example, when I am taking a long haul flight, it is really difficult, like my husband says, ‘difficult to generalize the food for her – meat is ok, but no chicken or pork, vegetarian is good, but if there are cheese and cream, then no.’
- It is confusing, I know, my picky Chinese food upbringing. :)
Lamb in Chinese Ethnic Cuisine
Lamb, as I mentioned in anther post, is very important in my ethnic group’s traditional cuisine. Growing up with lamb, I can take lamb dishes cooked in many different ways, even if they have strong ‘lamb’ smell. But this dish is really ideal for me, tender – does not even have to feel the texture of ‘meat’; flavored (with spring onion, chilli and cumin) can just mask all the ‘lamb’ smell. It takes little time to cook (apart from the preparation), and is a very presentable dish for weekday dinner as well as a treat for guests. :)
This dish is called ‘Cong bao yang rou’ in Chinese – as spring onion stir fry lamb. Well, not totally exact, ‘Bao’ is one of the ways of cooking when stir frying. It is to cook quickly on very strong fire with very hot wok.
The way spring onion is used in this recipe is quite unusual; spring onion acts as part of the ‘main’ ingredients, (I prefer to use ‘Chinese big spring onion’ (Pic below left) or even leeks). So the lamb is heavily influenced by its taste. Last weekend, we bought some ‘long’ spring onion, which is very rare to find in the normal supermarkets, so I thought it was good to cook this dish. The meat from the back legs of lamb is the most suitable one.
The recipe: Stir fried spring onion with lamb slice
There are actually many ways of making this dish. One could mix the meat with seasonings first, or stir fry directly. One could stir fry the spring onion first, then add in lamb or stir fry lamb first then spring onion.
In this case, I decided to stir fry the lamb first, because the spring onion is not good to be stir fried for too long, it will loose the freshness which is quite essential in this recipe. But if I use leeks, I would normally stir fry the leeks first, then the lamb.)
Here you go.
Lamb (from the leg), spring onion or leeks
Crushed chilli, salt, oil, cumin seeds, vinegar, sugar, cooking wine, light soy sauce, garlic and ginger.
1)Slice the lamb meat as thin as possible.
2) In a mix bowl, mix sliced meat with a teaspoon of cumin seeds, a few drops of vinegar and light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/3 teaspoon of crushed chilli. Leave the mixture for around 1 hour.
|Adding seasonings to the lamb|
3)Chop around 3 gloves garlic, and a piece of ginger into strips.
4)Chop around 2 or 3 spring onions diagonally into long strips possible.
|Chopping spring onions|
1) In a heated wok, (the fire is very strong), pour in around 3 tablespoons of oil, and add in chopped garlic and ginger strips, then 1 teaspoon of cooking wine.
|Stir frying the garlic|
2) The smell of the garlic, ginger and wine comes out, add in the lamb slice, stir fry quickly.
3) When the colour of the lamb slice turns into ‘white’, add in chopped spring onion.
4) Add in a bit more salt and cumin seed ONLY IF it is needed (if you think the taste is not strong enough).
|Chinese stir fried lamb with spring onion|
It does need to be eaten while it is still hot, so you don’t get much of ‘lamb’ smell, and the meat is still very tender. Oh, don’t fry too long, otherwise, the meat might be harder, so chopping it thin is very important.
I think it is good to go with plain boiled rice, so you can have a better taste of lamb. :)