Sunday, 11 September 2011

Xinjiang Lamb Skewers

Yes, that's right; I've been skewering again. For what might be one of the last barbecues of the year, I brought along Northern Chinese lamb inspired by Silk Road, one of my favourite restaurants. Their skewers come out threaded on metal rods, each cube of lamb alternated by a chunk of lamb fat to moisten each mouthful and to make your arteries contract with fear. I couldn't find any pure lamb fat for sale so I used shoulder instead. It's quite a fatty cut anyway, so I thought I'd be safe.

After a few hours marinading in a lot of cumin, chilli and other bits and bobs, they were slapped onto a fiercely hot barbecue. I was worried that the lamb would be a bit tough, what with shoulder being traditionally a slow-cooking kind of cut, but my fears were unfounded and each mouthful was a juicy and tender spice bomb. Served with smacked cucumber salad to cool the mouth, I found them borderline too salty, though I am quite sensitive to salt and the rest of the diners thought it fine. In any case I've reduced the salt content to what I used (1 tsp of the white stuff), as you can always add but you can't take away.

Xinjiang Lamb Skewers

650gr lamb shoulder
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
4 fat cloves of garlic
2 inches of ginger
2 tbsp cumin seeds
3 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp chilli bean paste (you can buy this in Chinatown)
4 spring onions
A pinch of salt
Wooden or metal skewers - metal are better as even with ample soaking, the wooden ones still caught fire

Chop your shoulder up into cubes. Toast the cumin seeds and grind to a powder. Do the same with the Sichuan peppercorns, and add this to the lamb along with the salt and the ginger and garlic, minced. Add the chilli bean paste. Cut the spring onions into 1 inch long sections and add to the lamb. Leave this to marinade for a few hours or overnight.

Thread the lamb onto the skewers, alternating with spring onion. Cook over a hot barbecue for a few minutes each side so that they are charred and cooked through but not burnt. Serve with a cooling salad.


PDH said...

Barbecuing in the rain! That is dedication :^)

Greedy Diva said...

If I ever tried to turn vegetarian, it would be the smell of lamb on a barbecue that would break me.

Josh said...

Doesn't look too bad!I had my own experience trying to cook some Xinjiang kebabs. Pretty much one of the most memorable eating experiences of my time there!

Hollow Legs said...

Pavel - We're BRITISH!

GD - Any meat cooked on charcoal I'm a sucker for.

Josh - doesn't look too bad? ...Thanks!

Chris Pople said...

These were absolutely amazing - so moist and chunky, perfect barbecue food. I think I even prefer them to the ones from Silk Road.

Shu Han said...

you did that in the rain?? they look amazing, and I love barbequeues and grills, just posted grilled sambal stingray (:

Gin and Crumpets said...

Good work on barbecuing in the rain - that's the proper British barbecue spirit. The skewers look fab. Had some Silk Road ones last night and the prospect of being able to make them at home is beyond exciting.

Anonymous said...

brinkka2011 says: Another copy and paste blog post? Yours,

Hollow Legs said...

Anon: No, I made them and I wrote all the text all on my own.

Chris Pople said...

Also, that pic of the lovely kebabs sizzling on the BBQ, surrounded by rain-soaked balcony pretty much sums up the summer.

P.S. Don't worry about that brinkka2011 account, it's just spam - I got the same message.