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Have you seen the Lucky Peach cookbook, 101 Easy Asian Recipes? I checked it out from the library and started marking pages with post-it notes. After a dozen or so, I 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.
More Lamb Recipes
And if you love lamb, be sure to try these Roasted Lamb Chops, Grilled Lamb Chops, Lamb Burgers, Lamb Meatballs, this Gyro meat recipe and Lamb Ragu.
Easy Cumin Lamb
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ 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.
Amazing! Thank you so much! I was blown away by the cumin tingle on my tongue, I never experienced it before. So good! Definitely making it again and again. Served it with rice and sautéed spinach. So glad to have leftovers!
Marissa Stevens says
My pleasure, Jola! I'm so glad you enjoyed this and thanks so much for coming back to let me know!
This is a really good recipe! I've been looking for one to replicate the version they do a local hole in the wall take out place where I live. I've used it a few times now but add celery, and instead of chili flakes add a good tablespoon or two of a Sichuan style chili crisp. It get its really close to what I've been trying to mimic!
Marissa Stevens says
So glad you're enjoying this, Abe! And that you made it your own.
Beeta @ Mon Petit Four says
This looks delicious, Marissa! I've been meaning to make more Asian dishes but just lack the inspiration beyond noodles/fried rice, etc. Thank you for sharing this!! <3
Thanks, Beeta! Those are the typical dishes I make too, but this is really worth trying and it cooks SO fast...
This looks delicious, Marissa! Love cumin lamb!!
Faith (An Edible Mosaic) says
Toasting spices is such a simple step that brings such unparalleled flavor to a dish! I love the spices and aromatics here, sounds like a perfect balance. And my hubby is a HUGE fan of lamb, I know he'd go crazy for this!
It's so true - toasting spices makes all the difference. Sometimes I toast grains too, I love the nuttiness it brings out. I hope you're make this for you hubby...if you do, I'd love to hear how it goes. xoxo
Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom says
I follow the magazine, but didn't realize Lucky Peach came out with a book - that's immediately on my purchase list! Especially after seeing this recipe! This looks so ridiculously flavorful and I just love anything that uses Sichuan peppercorns!
Me too, Kathleen! I love that little tongue buzz... 🙂
Sonali- The Foodie Physician says
Great review and mouthwatering photo! This dish looks super tasty! And the book sounds really entertaining, reminds me of Thug Kitchen.
Yes, a little like Thug Kitchen minus the F-bombs. 🙂 I was so excited to get your cookbook today! My neighbor has a newborn and she's going to bring her over and we're going to get cooking...post coming in the next couple of weeks. xo
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says
Never heard of that cookbook, but I'll have to check it out! I adore lamb, but don't eat it often enough, so thank you for posting this!! This looks seriously delicious and I love the toasted spices! Cheers and thanks for sharing the YUM!
P.s. love that quote from Kevin!
Thanks, Cheyanne! It's definitely worth checking out...
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
This recipe looks like a winner! That cover looks almost retro too! I say that because I was given some retro cookbooks and they remind me of it! 😀
You're exactly right, Lorraine! It has the feel of a 60s or 70s cookbook but with more sass!
Kimberly Labar says
Great post Marissa! Thanks for doing all the Leg work (haha) on which cookbooks are worthy of a purchase. 🙂
Thanks, Kimberly! I Chew what I can.. 😉
Dorothy Dunton says
Hi Marissa! Lamb is one of my favorite meats! This sounds divine! And Kevin is correct, life is too short to be bland! I always appreciate your use of spices and herbs and all of your recipes are very well thought out, which so many are not! I talked to Kevin and Nagi last week! They called me when she was in San Diego - WOW! Did you get an email from me with a couple of pictures attached? Actually I sent them from Gary's email because that is where the pictures were and he knew how to attach them to an email. Let me know. 🙂
Hi Dorothy! You and Gary should come on over and I'll make you a batch!! 🙂 I love it that Kevin and Nagi called you! I didn't get the photos though...maybe try again?
Kevin | Keviniscooking says
Now this is right up my alley and not just because you quoted me! I for one am a huge lamb lover and the spice mix sounds intoxicating indeed. Thanks Marissa, off to check out the book on Amazon!
Kevin, you're my big flavor guy - I always leave you site wanting to go straight into the kitchen and get cooking!