Friday, February 4, 2011

Stir Fried Lamb with Cumin

Mark Bittman, the popular author of The Minimalist column in the New York Times and various cookbooks (and one food manifesto, which seems to be de rigeur these days), recently said goodbye to the column.  As he was walking out the door, he took a moment to recap his 25 most favorite recipes.

A few of them appealed to me, including this recipe for Stir Fried Lamb with Cumin, Chili and Garlic.  Maybe it's because I've recently had lamb noodle dishes at X'ian Famous Foods, but I had a serious love at first sight moment with this recipe.

Adapted from Mark Bittman/New York Times
  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (pretty small)
  • 1 TBS cumin seeds
  • 1 TBS Szechuan peppercorns (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chili pepper
  • 1 TBS chopped garlic
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • peanut or high smoke point oil, like peanut or grapeseed or safflower or what have you
  • about 1 lb broccolini (or broccoli, or string beans, or snow peas, or whatever), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 slivered garlic clove
  • about 1/2 cup of chicken broth or water
  • 1 c roughly chopped scallions
Place the cumin seeds and Szechuan peppercorns (if using), into a small saucepan or saute pan (or skillet--whatever, use a cooking vessel) and toast over low heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. 

In a bowl, combine the lamb, toasted cumin, Szechuan peppercorns (if using), garlic, chili flakes, and soy sauce.  

Toss to coat well.  If you have time, let it marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Prep your broccolini.  

Cook in a similar fashion to this recipe, which is basically to heat about a TBS of oil in a skillet over medium high heat, add a slivered garlic clove, let the garlic lightly brown, throw in the broccolini, toss to coat, add the broth or water, cover and simmer for a few minutes until it becomes crisp tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove broccolini from skillet and wipe the skillet dry with a paper towel.

Heat about 2 to 3 TBS of oil over high heat in the skillet you just used (okay, I used a saute pan, you got me).  Place the lamb in the skillet, and cook for about a minute without disturbing. Take that minute to enjoy the aroma.

After you're done enjoying the aroma, stir the lamb a bit and then cook for another minute.  Add in the scallions.

Give another stir, and cook until scallions are wilted and lamb is about medium, which should only take 1 to 2 minutes top.

Serve over rice.



  1. I'm always impressed that you make pretty difficult recipes during the week. I save those for the weekends because I'm lazy. Or maybe scared. But that means that we eat a lot of the same stuff over and over. So, good for you for trying new stuff during the week!

  2. kelsey: (sheepish grin) i made it last sunday. i agree, weeknights are for easy food. although this one wasn't too hard, and i was thinking you could do it with shrimp if you want a non-meat option!

  3. marvelous! your pictures are turning out beautifully.

  4. YUM, not to mention this is def. doable for a cooking novice :) Your step by step visuals are a huge help, I hope you know that!! I have a question, I notice you use broccolini often - is its taste better than broccoli? Could you also do this recipe with green beans or sugar snap peas?

  5. sashacleo: thanks!
    hershyscorner: i'm so glad the pictures are helpful! you can definitely use whatever vegetable you want. i've been using broccolini because i find it a *tad* sweeter and easier to prepare than broccoli, but that's all. no biggie. hope it turns out well for you!

  6. You inspired me with your last stir fry recipe and I made beef and broccolini last night, which was AMAZING. Thanks to you. :)

    This sounds even better with the lamb in it, I'll have to try it next week. You're my weekly supper inspiration!

  7. Please come convince my husband that lamb is delicious, I desperately want to eat this. :D

  8. jessica: yay for stir-fries! i'm glad to have offered some ideas.
    notesfromthebench: you can totally make this with other proteins, like chicken, beef, pork or shrimp! those would be delicious!

  9. I just made this last night, and it was delicious. what a good quick way to cook lamb!