This type of dish originates from the northern parts of China, cumin and lamb are the perfect match and the flavour profiles are quite similar to Middle Eastern braised lamb dishes. The soy umami bomb added on top of the cumin, chillies and sweet raisins really takes this braise to another level! This is one of those one pot dishes that is a must try and by cooking it in a dulcot pot or clay pot your in for an even bigger treat...Let's cook!!!
Cook Time 45 mins / Prep Time 15-20 mins
To serve 4-6
Lamb and vegetables:
400-500g Lamb shoulder (deboned)
4 garlic cloves
5-10 dry red chillies
4 spring onions
bunch of coriander
Spices and rice:
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp cumin seed
2 tbsp brown sugar
salt and black pepper
250g jasmine rice
40ml black rice vinegar (or white rice vinegar)
80ml light soy
30ml dark soy
2 tbsp brown sugar
600ml (approx water)
Let's begin by preparing the lamb, start by removing any excess fat then cut the lamb into large bite sized pieces. The lamb will slightly shrink whilst cooking, therefore, I always slice slightly larger. When ready place the lamb to one side.
Vegetables and rice:
2. Just before we move onto cooking, prepare a few vegetables by slicing 3 carrots into batons, slice 4 cloves of garlic, slice 1 red onion fairly chunkily and slice a handful of dried red chillies. To garnish the dish pick a bunch of coriander and finely slice some spring onions. For the rice add 250g of jasmine rice to a bowl and wash until the water runs clear. When ready drain from the water and we can now begin to cook.
3. Now to cook, before we begin to braise we want to get a good heavy sear all over the diced lamb. Place a pan onto a high heat and add a touch of cooking oil. When hot add the lamb in batches then sear on all sides until nice and caramelised. When ready remove from the pan and set to one side.
4. For the braise I used a claypot, however, an ordinary deep pan with a lid will also work just as well. Place the pot onto the heat then add a drizzle of sesame oil. Add the sliced onion, garlic and dried red chillies and fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant and the onion begins to caramelise. When ready add the seared lamb into the pot followed by 1 tsp coriander seed, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp fine chilli powder, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 80ml light soy, 30ml black rice vinegar, 30ml of dark soy and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix well then begin to reduce the liquid.
5. When reduced and the lamb is nicely coated add enough water to completely cover the lamb then bring the liquid up to a boil. When boiling turn the heat down to a simmer and place a lid over the pot. Allow the lamb to braise for 20 minutes adding additional water if needed.
6. After 20 minutes the lamb should have begun to tenderise, we now want to add the drained jasmine rice and mix into the braise and lamb. Top the water up slightly if needed then add the carrots over the top. Place the lid on one more time and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes to cook the lamb more so and the rice.
7. When the rice is cooked remove the lid again and add a generous handful of raisins over the rice and drizzle some additional sesame oil around the pot. The extra drizzle of sesame oil will allow the rice to slightly catch at the bottom and to be honest this is the best part to of the dish! Place a lid over again and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes allowing the rice to catch.
8. Now to serve, remove the lid then add a generous blanket of sliced spring onions and coriander over the rice. I personally like to add some sliced red chillies on top also, then when ready mix everything together and nourish! I like to serve a big pot of this braise in the middle of the table and serve family style!
For this style of dish you could also use beef or pork instead of lamb if you like, and as for the vegetables you can play around with what you have lying around really. I think adding crushed toasted cashew nuts over the top would also be another great addition. Have fun with this one and as always peace!