Fast Recipes

Shaanxi-style lamb with cumin and celery

This simple stir-fry might be quick to prepare, but it's full to bursting with flavour, thanks to a heady mix of ginger, cumin, cinnamon and star anise.

By Max Adey
  • 10 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
Avoid any temptation to use lean lamb mince in this dish, it needs the fat to melt down and become infused with the flavour of the spices to bring everything together. Lean mince just doesn't give the same result.


  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 600 gm coarsely minced lamb
  • 1 cinnamon quill, broken in half
  • 3 star anise
  • 30 gm ginger (about 6cm), finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, white part cut into 2cm lengths, green part thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 small celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) Shaoxing wine
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • Steamed rice, roasted sesame seeds and lemon wedges (optional), to serve


  • 1
    Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wok over high heat, add lamb, cinnamon and star anise, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lamb is well browned (8-10 minutes). Remove lamb from pan with a slotted spoon (there should be some lamb fat still in the pan), then add ginger, garlic, white part of spring onion and remaining spices, season to taste and stir-fry until aromatic (1-2 minutes). Add celery, stir-fry for 1 minute, then return lamb to pan with Shaoxing, soy sauce, vinegar and honey and stir until well combined (1 minute). Season to taste and serve on rice topped with sesame and spring onion greens, and with lemon on the side.