"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Marthe Troly-Curtin

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Xinjiang Lamb and Chile Barbecue

The region located next to Mongolia, called Xinjiang, is noted for its barbecue lamb, or mutton, even though lamb is rarely eaten in other parts of China. In fact, the Mongolian tribes were the ones who introduced lamb to the rest of China. It's easy to visualize this simple barbecue being prepared by the nomads on the steppes of Xinjiang. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.

1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh preferred
2 tablespoons Asian red chile oil (available in Asian markets)
2 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons crushed Sichuan peppercorns
½ teaspoon minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 ½- pounds lamb, cut in 2-inch cubes
8 jalapeƱos, cut in half lengthwise
4 sesame seed buns
Chopped green onions, including some of the greens
Chopped fresh cilantro

In a non-reactive bowl, combine the lemon juice, chile oil, wine, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, peppercorns, ginger, and salt and blend well. Add the lamb and jalapenos and marinate them in the refrigerator overnight or for 2 hours at room temperature.

Drain the mixture and reserve the marinade. Thread the meat on skewers, alternating with the jalapeƱo halves. Place the skewers under a broiler or grill over a medium-hot fire until medium-rare, about 15 minutes. Baste occasionally with the marinade.

Serve the lamb and chiles in the buns topped with the chopped onions and cilantro.

Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Heat Scale: Medium Hot

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