The flavours of Uighur cooking in the Xinjiang region of north-west China are quite different from those found around the rest of the country. Xinjiang is home to a large Muslim population, so lamb or mutton is typical, and spices such as cumin and chilli flavour many dishes. This dish sees soupy noodles topped with a stir-fry; you could use any kind of stir-fried meat you like - minced pork with bamboo shoots and Sichuan pepper, for example, works well.
- 2 kg lamb bones
- 2 onions, 1½ halved, remainder cut into thin wedges
- 400 gm thinly sliced lamb fillet
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1½ tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp white peppercorns
- 4 dried long red chillies, broken into pieces
- 500 gm thick fresh wheat noodles (la mien)
- 20 gm ginger, cut into julienne (4cm piece)
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- To serve: blanched choy sum
- To serve: roasted chilli oil (optional)
Crisp garlic and garlic oil
- 250 ml vegetable oil (1 cup)
- 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1To make a lamb stock, preheat oven to 180C and roast lamb bones and onion halves on a roasting tray until browned (1-2 hours). Pour off fat, transfer lamb bones and onions to a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, skim scum, reduce heat to low and simmer very gently, topping up with more water if necessary, until stock is well flavoured (4-6 hours). Strain, cool, refrigerate until chilled, then remove fat from surface, if desired.
- 2For crisp garlic and garlic oil, heat oil in a wok over high heat until surface shimmers, add garlic and stir continuously until garlic is golden (1½-2 minutes). Transfer garlic to a bowl with a slotted spoon and cool oil separately.
- 3Combine lamb, soy sauces and cornflour in a bowl and set aside.
- 4Dry-roast cumin seeds, peppercorns and chilli (20-30 seconds), then finely crush using a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
- 5Bring 1.2 litres reserved lamb stock to a simmer, then keep warm.
- 6Cook noodles in a saucepan of boiling water until just cooked (3-5 minutes). Drain, keep warm.
- 7Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp garlic oil in a wok over medium-high heat until smoking, add dry-roasted spices, ginger, raw garlic and onion wedges and stir-fry until tender (1-2 minutes). Remove and set aside. Stir-fry lamb in 2 batches until golden (2-3 minutes). Return onion mixture and lamb to pan and stir-fry to combine (1-2 minutes).
- 8Season warm bowls with garlic oil to taste. Divide noodles among bowls, pour hot stock over, and top with lamb, crisp garlic and choy sum. Serve hot with roasted chilli oil.
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