Chefs' Recipes

Victor Liong's Xinjiang-style lamb skewers

Time to spice things up.

By Victor Liong
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking plus marinating
  • Serves 4 - 6
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Xinjiang-style lamb skewers
"Growing up in Australia, I've developed a love for lamb and barbecues, but in the Chinese repertoire there aren't too many lamb dishes," says Liong.


  • 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 75 ml Shaoxing wine
  • 35 ml liquid seasoning, such as Knorr (see note)
  • 200 gm fermented tofu (see note)
  • 150 gm sweet bean paste (see note)
  • 1½ tsp (7gm) bicarbonate of soda
  • 500 gm piece of lamb shoulder, sliced across the grain
  • 20 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
Spice seasoning
  • 1¾ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ¾ tsp sumac
  • ¾ tsp shichimi togarashi (see note)
Vinegar seasoning
  • 50 ml Chinkiang vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce


  • 1
    Blend garlic, Shaoxing and liquid seasoning in a blender. Add fermented tofu and sweet bean paste, blend until smooth, then add bicarbonate of soda. Place lamb in a non-reactive bowl, pour in marinade, mix to coat, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour to marinate. Brush excess marinade from lamb, then thread lamb onto skewers and refrigerate.
  • 2
    For spice seasoning, coarsely grind cumin, Sichuan peppercorns and fennel seeds in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Add 1 tsp sea salt and pulse lightly or crush, then add sumac and shichimi togarashi. Store in an airtight container.
  • 3
    For vinegar seasoning, combine ingredients in a spray bottle.
  • 4
    Grill lamb skewers on a barbecue or char-grill pan over medium-high heat, turning and spraying occasionally with vinegar seasoning, until charred and just cooked (2-3 minutes each side), sprinkling with dry spice mix in the last minute of cooking. Serve scattered with extra spice seasoning.


Note Knorr liquid seasoning, fermented tofu, sweet bean paste, also known as tian mian jiang (Victor Liong prefers to use Fu Chi brand), and shichimi togarashi, a spice blend, are available from Asian supermarkets and Chinese grocers.
Drink Suggestion: A sparkling shiraz, such as the NV "The Black Chook" Sparkling Shiraz from McLaren Vale. Drink suggestion by Masa Nishimoto