Have you seen the Lucky Peach cookbook, 101 Easy Asian Recipes? I checked it out from the library I started marking pages with post-it notes and after a dozen or so went straight to my computer and ordered the book. As you’ve guessed, this Cumin Lamb was one of the recipes I marked.
As the title promises, the recipes are approachable with easy-to-find ingredients. The photography isn’t what you’d expect from a glossy paged cookbook – more like photos taken with a phone in less than ideal light. But they’re oddly beguiling. And it’s fun to read. You may be told to start with a rotisserie chicken and “scavenge it for good meaty bits.” Or to add green beans “as soon as the oil is getting to the oh sh*t this oil means business level of heat.”
This cumin lamb is one of the first recipes I made from the book and it’s fabulous. You’ll toast and then grind your own spices filling your kitchen with an intoxicating aroma. And, like the oil in the green bean recipe, the flavors in this dish mean business. They’re spice forward but nicely balanced and perfect for making authentic Lamb Shawarma.
Easy Cumin Lamb
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 pound boneless lamb leg thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large white onion thinly sliced
- 1 bunch green onions chopped
- 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
- 1 cup cilantro coarsely chopped
- In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast cumin seeds and peppercorns for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Coarsely grind toasted spices in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Mix with salt and chili flakes.
- Add spice mixture to sliced lamb and toss to coat evenly.
- Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat until hot. Add oil and when it just starts to smoke, add onions. Cook and stir about 2 minutes until the edges are translucent. Transfer onions to a bowl.
- Add lamb with spices to the wok; cook and stir until meat starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Add green onions, garlic, soy sauce and wine; bring to simmer. Cook and stir 2 minutes more or until lamb is just cooked through. Add onions and stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Transfer to platter and serve.