The final meat main dish at my Year of the Dragon Chinese Banquet was Beijing Braised Lamb taken from Ken Hom’s Complete Chinese Cookery. This dish tasted wonderful….there was some left over which we had the next day and was even more delicious! Compared with all the other dishes that I cooked, this one took the longest – sitting on the hob for nearly 2 hours, but this made the meat lovely and tender and filled it with so much flavour. With all the other last minute recipes that I had to cook this was a welcome relief to know that it was bubbling away and I didn’t have to worry.
The braised lamb goes well with plain rice or wrapped up inside pancakes with cucumbers and spring onions like you would with crispy duck. I will definitely make this again and urge you to try it too! The original recipe serves 4, but there was enough for 8 of us as there were several other dishes that we could all choose from.
I made the braising sauce first using chicken stock, sugar, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, peanut butter and hoisin sauce. I mixed everything in bowl, added 2 star anise and a cinnamon stick and set to one side.
I bought cubed lamb from the supermarket and that was blanched in boiling water for five minutes. I put the lamb pieces into a metal bowl, poured over boiling water from the kettle and when time was up drained the meat off, discarding the water.
I then sliced spring onions into diagonal pieces.
I needed ginger slices and the recipe wasn’t too clear on how much – it just said 2 slices. So I cut two from the knob of ginger that I bought.
For the sauce, in addition to the spring onions and ginger I also needed a chopped onion.
Starting with a smoking hot wok, I stir fried the lamb pieces until browned off, then added the spring onion, ginger slices and chopped onion. and fried that off for 5 minutes.
Then I transferred the mixture of meat, ginger and onions to a large lidded heavy based saucepan (or you could use a flame-proof casserole dish) and added the braising sauce that I made earlier. I then brought the mixture to the boil, skimming off any fat that formed on the surface, before turning down as low as possible and leaving to braise for 2 hours. The recipe says 1½ hours, but the extra half hour owing to time between me starting and us all eating didn’t harm it at all! Any fat that rose to the surface was skimmed off before I dished it up.
Served wrapped up in pancakes with lots of delicious gravy to mop up! Delicious!
Beijing Braised Lamb
Serves 4 – 8 people
- 450g boned shoulder of lamb, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 2 spring onions
- 2 slices of fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp groundnut (peanut) oil or vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
For the braising sauce
- 900ml chicken stock
- 50g Chinese rock sugar or granulated sugar
- 3 tbsps dark soy sauce
- 3 tbsps Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 piece of Chinese cinnamon bark or 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 whole star anise
- 2 tbsps sesame paste or peanut butter
- 2 tbsps hoisin sauce
- plain boiled rice
- Chinese pancakes
- batons of cucumber
- thin strips spring onions
- Make the braising sauce with the chicken stock, sugar, dark soy sauce, rice wine, cinnamon, peanut butter (or sesame paste), hoisin sauce and star anise and set to one side.
- Blanch the lamb by plunging it in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove the meat and discard the water.
- Slice the spring onions at a slight diagonal into 3 inch pieces
- Heat a wok over a high heat until it is hot, then add the oil and when slightly smoking, add the pieces of lamb and stir fry until they are browned.
- Add the spring onions, ginger and onion to the wok and continue to stir fry for a further 5 minutes.
- Transfer this mixture to a large saucepan with a lid, or a flame-proof casserole.
- Bring to the boil and skim off any fat that rises.
- Turn down to the lowest setting you can and leave to braise for 1½ hours or until the lamb is very tender, skimming off any fat that rises to the surface.
- Pour into a serving dish and serve with plain rice, or with Chinese pancakes, cucumber and spring onions