|Chinese shao yang rou|
Hey! Say something cheerful — I had my first ever Christmas turkey last night! I never had Christmas turkey before, as I said that when my friend Zhenya used to cook me Christmas dinner, she knew that I was never a fan of turkey, or any kinds of meat, she always cooked alternatives for me. But last time, our neighbours invited us for Christmas dinner, (we normally do it as neighbours’ celebration before we all go away for holidays), and my friend decided to make traditional English Christmas dinner, so he cooked turkey along with all of the other traditional roasted vegetables. I didn’t want to say no — he had been passionately cooking for hours, and proudly presenting his national food, so I finished the piece of turkey in my plate, guess what — it turned out really good!
We had a such good time, and laughed too much. :)
However, the sad thing is, soon, probably in a few months time, all of our neighbour friends will be moving away, and this might be the last Christmas dinner we celebrated together. :( … I know, you are going to say this is life, but I really don’t like this sad moment, since I came to UK, I made friends, and had to say good-bye to friends too many times…
Anyway, today I hope you enjoy the weekend, and this ‘weekend’ dish. :))
Again, this is a ‘weekend’ dish because it takes longer time to cook — with three different steps. It is very presentable for if you have guests.
You probably know I am not a patient person already, cooking a dish like this really takes some determination. If not because we had friends coming, I probably would never cook it, and share the recipe here. :) But, there is no question that that it is a really really tasty dish.
Dry cooked crispy lamb is the name I gave to it in English, it is just called “Shao yang rou” in Chinese, “yang rou” as lamb. “Shao” is a cooking method quite similar to the one I used in a previous beef recipe. This lamb dish is originally a “hui” ethnic group / islamic dish. In China, many people do not like cooking lamb, thinking it is not easy to get ride the ‘lamby’ smell, so if they want to have lamb, “hui” or islamic restaurants are always an easy option. However, for “Hui” people, lamb dishes are the “signature” home cooking dishes. (See the post “Culture Note:lamb tradition in China”.)
I used to have this dry cooked crispy lamb dish cooked by my uncle, but this time when I cooked this dish, I used a few recipes — kind of combined them together, turn it into my own ‘creation’.:)) After seeing our guests’ reaction when eating it, I just could not wait to share it here. :)) — I got lots of praise for it. So hope you like it too.
The dish takes three steps: first, boiling the lamb with seasonings, it is said that cooking wine at this stage is very good to get rid of the ‘lamb’ smell; then fry the lamb pieces; at the last, cook fried lamb pieces with final seasonings.
Here it goes.
Lean lamb steak (I used two good size pieces leg steaks),
Oil, anise star, spring onions, ginger, cooking wine, sugar, light soy sauce, salt, corn flour, egg, sesame seeds, cumin seeds
1) Chop 1 spring onion into big pieces, and slice a good size of ginger.
2) Mix 1 whisked egg with corn flour into a thin paste with 1/2 teaspoon of salt (so that the lamb pieces are going to be wrapped with thin coating).
1) Use boiling hot water rinse the lamb steaks first.
2) In a deep sauce pan, place the lamb steaks in, and add in water to cover the steaks, then add in a small handful of anise star, 1 1/2 tablespoon of cooking wine, 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, chopped spring onion and ginger, 1/2 tablespoon of salt, 2/3 teaspoon of sugar. Boiling it in low fire for around 40 minutes – 1 hours.
3) After the lamb is well cooked, turn off the fire, and let the lamb cool down.
4) Chop the boiled lamb into thin slices.
5) Wrap the sliced lamb pieces with a thin coat of the egg and corn flour mix. (To be thin is very important, this is different to the crispy beef recipe.)
6) In heated wok, pour in oil to fry coated lamb pieces.
7) Until the surface of the lamb is crispy, take the lamb pieces out into a plate, and remove the oil from the wok.
8) Put the wok back to strong fire, no need to add more oil at this point, (here is why I say it is “dry cooked” ), just put fired lamb pieces back to the wok, quickly add in 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds, and 2/3 tablespoon of cumin seed, and give a quick mix. — Then turn off the fire, remove the lamb to the plate, don’t keep it in the wok too long.
|The finished dish|
I would think the whole thing would take just less than 2 hours, but you don’t have stand by the cooker all the time, and it is totally worth it once you have the first bite. :))