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Shaanxi-style lamb with rice

In the Muslim quarter of Xian, the capital of China's Shaanxi province, you find wonderful dishes fragrant with cinnamon and cumin, like this stir-fried minced lamb. Add as much chilli as you like, but err on the sparing side with the cinnamon.

You'll need

2 tsp each cumin seeds and fennel seeds 800 gm coarsely minced lean lamb 1 cinnamon quill, broken in half ½ large onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed Large pinch of chilli flakes, or to taste 60 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce 1 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar (see note) To serve: steamed rice, chilli oil (optional), pickled garlic (see note) and coriander


  • 01
  • Dry-roast cumin and fennel seeds in a small frying pan until fragrant (1-2 minutes), then crush with a mortar and pestle and set aside.
  • 02
  • Cook lamb with cinnamon in a frying pan until fat has rendered and lamb is starting to brown (8-10 minutes). Remove lamb with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove fat from pan and return 2 tbsp to pan, add onion and fry over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to caramelise (5-6 minutes). Stir in garlic, then add chilli flakes, soy sauce, vinegar and dry-roasted cumin and fennel seeds, stir to combine, then return lamb to pan and stir until well combined (1-2 minutes). Serve on rice topped with chilli oil, pickled garlic and coriander.
Note Chinkiang vinegar and pickled garlic are available from Asian grocers.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Nov 2014

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