For those of you who have tried the famous cumin lamb at New York's Szechuan Gourmet, these lamb ribs will have some familiar flavors. While the recipe is comes from Sichuan's neighboring province of Hunan, the intensity of the cumin, richness of the lamb, and spice from the chiles all give these ribs a delicious resemblance to what is in my mind one of the best dishes in all of New York. If you do end up making these ribs, just remember that lamb ribs aren't quite as easy to handle as pork ribs, so do your guests a favor and cut the meat off the bone before serving it.
Hunan Lamb Ribs
Adapted from Fuschia Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook
- 2 slabs lamb ribs (about 2 lbs)
- 4 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 star anise
- 5 dried Chinese chiles
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sweet bean sauce
- 1/4 tsp five-spice powder
- 6 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Place the ribs in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine, 2 cinnamon sticks, the ginger, star anise, and dried chiles to the water and simmer the lamb for 5 minutes. Drain the ribs and set them aside on a plate.
- Mix the soy sauce, bean sauce, 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine, five-spice powder, and a pinch of in a small bowl.
- Massage the soy sauce mixture into the lamb ribs.
- Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat.
- Add the ribs to the skillet and cook until well-browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip the ribs and sprinkle the cumin and pepper flakes over the ribs. Continue cooking until the other side is well-browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the meat off of the bones and set the meat on a plate.
- Drizzle the sesame oil on top of lamb, garnish it with scallions, and serve immediately.