How to make Chinese Roast Lamb Ribs?
we wanted to show you how to make roast lamb ribs in the Northwest Chinese style.
These’ve been heavily requested for a while in the comments, and why not?
They’re an absolute classic, complete with a cumin laden rub that should be instantly familiar to anyone that’s ever had Chinese
How To Make Chinese Roast Lamb Ribs?
But what makes these ribs so interesting to me is their texture – this kind of fall off the bone situation isn’t accomplished by just roasting – at their core, these ribs are actually braised.
But I’m getting ahead of myself – first, let’s talk lamb.
Here we’re using three ribs, but when I say “rib”.
I’m talking the whole thing, sliced in half into the spare rib and the chop.
If you’re in the West, I do kinda worry that the standard frenched rack of chops might be a bit too lean, so unless you know a butcher I’d probably opt for solely spare rib. which’s got fat a plenty.
So now to prep those, we’ll first give those a soak those in ginger-Sichuan peppercorn water, which’ll get out some of that shanwei
or “lamby odor”.
So yeah, lamby odor usually the go-to ingredient in China to balance that mild funk is liaojiu or Shaoxing wine.
A good chunk of China’s Northwest are Muslim so wine is obviously a no-go.
So instead of a pot, you can add in a couple of inches of crushed ginger, half a tablespoon of whole Sichuan peppercorn, and a liter and a half of hot boiled water.
This liquid can serve much the same function as Shaoxing wine, so if you’re cooking for people keeping Halal, there’s your Shaoxing sub.
Now just let that come down to room temperature, then toss in the ribs.
If you’re feeling a little lazy you can also just opt for plain old drinking water instead, but either way, let that soak for one hour.
An hour later, drain out the water and you’ll see that it’s extracted a lot of the myoglobin from the meat.
Now to trim those, know roast lamb ribs are absolutely a pretty fatty cut but sometimes you’ll find a little excess handing off.
Just cut that out and keep it – we’ll render it into an oil later.
So now toss your lamb in a pot then add in a half tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorn, two inches of smashed ginger, four thoroughly
deseeded dried chilis, and about one Dacong or welsh onion, and feel free to swap for a bit of scallion if Dacong’s annoying to the source.
So then with enough water to submerge the lamb, toss on a burner, cover, and over a medium-high flame bring that all up to a light boil.
Then once it’s starting to get to a heavy simmer, skip away some of the gunk.
We won’t be using the liquid after this so you don’t have to be too obsessive here, we just don’t want so much that it ends
up sticking to our lamb when we take it out.
Then swap the flame to low, keep it simmering for about five minutes, then shut off the heat.
Keep covered, and we’ll come back to that in about 90 minutes once it’s approaching room temperature.
Now, recently we’ve been doing this cover-and-cool down technique quite a bit.
We quite like it because it’s easy and it makes for really evenly cooked meat.
Slowly dropping the temperature from 90ish to 40ish means that this’s soaking somewhere between poaching temperature and bag-less sous vide.
But feel free to crack this nut however you want you could do a straight braise a lot of lamb restaurants in China actually use pressure cookers for this, and sous vide set to like 65C might be nice too.
But either way, as that’s cooking, let’s talk spice mix.
So there’s a few different spice mixes used in Chinese barbecue, but if you’ve ever had Yangrouchuanr lamb skewers you probably
ate something similar to this.
This uses five parts cumin seed, so here we used five teaspoons, half ground in a coffee or spice grinder so only grind for about
ten seconds or so, we want something about this consistency.
Then also grind up one part, or one teaspoon, of fennel seed this time getting it into a fine powder.
We’ll also need one teaspoon each of salt and chili powder and for something like this cayenne pepper should work just fine.
Then this also uses a half teaspoon of MSG crystals pounded into a fine powder, together with two and a half teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds lightly pounded in a mortar.
The goal for the sesame’s to break open some of the seeds to get a bit of oil but you’re not looking for a powder or anything.
Something like this is perfect.
So then just mix that together, and you’ve got yourself some Chinese roast lamb seasoning.
Now back to the ribs, remove, toss on a rack and pat them with some paper towels.
Any leftover moisture there’ll end up inhibit browning when we roast, so this needs to get really dry.
Let those sit for at least 30 minutes, and here I did 90 because I am paranoid.
But then after that time, we can marinate.
To help make these a bit juicier and get the coating to stick, you’ll need oil.
For this, we used about a tablespoon of sunflower oil and let that excess lamb fat render out in it which is totally super delicious,
but basically any oil does the job.
So rub those lamb pieces liberally with that oil, which likely end up being two to three tablespoons worth, then sprinkle your
the seasoning on, similarly massaging that in.
Now before the marinade police swoop in and tell me that this’s all just surface treatment, how it’ll only penetrate like an eighth
an inch or so into the meat, next time you’re having a rare steak try cutting off and removing the outermost eighth of an inch and tell me how much of a difference that would make to the dish.
Surface or not, the surface does matter, so leave that to marinate for at least thirty minutes, but overnight is ideal if you can
So next day now, take out the lamb and toss it on a baking sheet.
Now, the idea here’s to blast this for a short time at high temperature, but unfortunately no matter how hard we try the very hottest our crappy little halogen oven can get is 220 centigrade.
So we tossed that in for 15 minutes, turning halfway through, but feel free to play around with shorter times at higher temperatures.
Then after that time, our lamb is done.
Let that cool off a touch, serve it with a bit of seasoned chili powder – recipe in the description – and devour.
Xibei style roast lamb ribs done.
So for many restaurants – especially down here in the south – they would use frozen lamb and then they would opt for
the deep frying method, which would give the lamb a more like cleaner, less lamby taste.
Many of you may have the question of how we conceptualize a full Chinese meal.
So the other day we did a little collaboration with the channel “Blondie in China” – and we went to our local market, picked up food,
and came back and cooked a full Cantonese homecooked meal.
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