I was flicking through one of my favorite Asian cookbooks the other day and came across a recipe I hadn’t tried before – Hong Kong Lamb with Green Onions Cong Bao Yang Roll. It is a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Far Eastern Cookery. Seeing that I wrote a recent blog about why Americans should eat more lamb, I decided to try it this evening and it was so good that I wanted to share.
Hong Kong’s residents often order simple, uncomplicated dishes when they dine at northern style restaurants. This stir fry dish is easy to make and the only labor required is in thinly slicing the meat with masses of fragrant green onions or young leeks. The cooking itself takes only a few minutes.
- 3/4 lb lean tender lamb
- 2 tsp light soy sauce and sesame oil each
- 2 tsp rice wine or dry sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon roasted, ground Szechuan peppercorns
- 1 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
- 4 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves
- 7 green onions
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
Chef’s Note: Preparing Your Wok (Courtesy of Woks of Life)
To prevent food from sticking to your wok or pan:
- Always start with a clean pan or wok.
- Use a well seasoned wok or cast iron pan. See how to season a wok.
- Preheat your pan/wok to the point at which it starts to smoke before adding a high smoke point oil. If using a stainless steel pan (which won’t have much visible smoke), add a couple drops of water. The drops should dance around like pearls when it’s hot enough.
- Spread the oil evenly to completely coat the cooking surface.
- Let food, especially meats, come up to room temperature for best results.
- When frying fish, steak, or any other large piece of protein, be sure to pat it dry with a paper towel before placing it in the pan.
Cut the lamb against the grain into very thin slices. Then cut the slices into thin slivers about 3 inches long. Put them in a bowl and add all the other marinade ingredients. Mix well and set aside for 20 minutes. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce, mix and set aside.
Peel the garlic and chop finely. Then, cut the green onions, including their green sections, crosswise into 3 inch segments. Next cut each piece lengthwise into very thin strips. Wash the cilantro and pat dry.
Put the oil into the wok or large frying pan and set over a high eat. When it is smoking hot, put in the garlic. Stir once or twice and add the lamb. Stir-fry for about a minute or until the lamb is no longer pink on the outside. Pour in the sauce and stir briefly. Add the cilantro and green onions. Stir for about 20-30 seconds or until the green onions just wilt. Serve immediately.
Why Cut Against The Grain?
Whenever you slice raw or cooked meat, you’ll get the tenderest results if you cut across the grain. Look closely at a piece of meat and you’ll see that the long muscle fibers run parallel to one another. Cutting across the grain means to slice perpendicular to the fibers, so the fibers in the cut pieces of meat become much shorter, making it easier to chew them. Certain cuts of meat that contain more than one muscle may have areas where the fibers run in different directions; watch out for these changes as you slice and adjust the direction in which you’re cutting if necessary.
Side Dish: “Mantou” – Steamed Buns
The perfect accompaniment to lamb with green onions is steamed buns called Mantou, the Chinese equivalent to Western bread. Steamed rather than baked, these buns are simple to make and can be frozen after cooking, just re-steam and use. They can also be bought already prepared from the freezer section of Asian grocers
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tsp dry yeast
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 500 gm plain flour
For mantou, combine sugar, yeast and 300ml lukewarm water (28C-32C) in a large bowl, stirring to dissolve. Stand in a warm place until foamy (10-15 minutes), then add oil and stir to combine.
Process flour and 1 tsp salt in a food processor, then add yeast mixture in a steady stream. A ball of dough will form in about 10 seconds, if it doesn’t, add 1 tbsp more of water. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes). Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and stand in a warm place until double in size (1¼-1½ hours).
Gently knock back dough, turn onto a floured surface and knead until dough is very smooth and firm (5-10 minutes). Form a 40cm x 7cm log. Cut widthways into 24 even pieces and place each roll in the centre of a 5cm square piece of baking paper.
Place rolls in large steamer baskets, leaving a gap between each, cover and stand until double in size (15-20 minutes). Steam, in batches, until cooked through and a bamboo skewer inserted withdraws clean (12-15 minutes). Keep warm.
Do you enjoy Asian food? Try Flavorly’s Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli or maybe our street-style Pad Thai. Or how about our General Tso Chicken? Feeling more adventurous? Venture into ‘forbidden territory’ with our Black Rice Stir Fry…