CUMIN LAMB STIR-FRY (for four)
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
2 teaspoons Sichuan or regular black peppercorns
1 pound boneless lamb
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
4 to 8 dried red chiles (or substitute ½ teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes)
1 large white onion
1 bunch (about 8) scallions, trimmed
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons Chinese cooking sherry (Shaoxing rice wine) or dry sherry
2 cups fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
rice, for serving
- In a dry skillet over medium heat toast cumin seeds and peppercorns until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush lightly.
- Slice meat across the grain into ½ inch thick strips. Toss meat with crushed spices, ground cumin salt and dried chiles.
- Peel onion and halve it through the root end. Trim the ends and cut each half lengthwise into ½ inch thick slices. Cut white and light green parts of scallions into 2 inch lengths. Thinly slice scallion greens and keep separate.
- Heat a very large skillet or wok over high heat until screaming hot, about 5 minutes. Add oil. Toss in onions and the scallion bottoms. Cook, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are lightly charred but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add lamb and chiles to skillet. Cook, tossing quickly, until meat begins to brown. Add garlic, soy sauce and sherry. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and lamb is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Toss in onions and scallion bottoms. Remove from heat and mix in cilantro and scallion greens. Serve hot, over rice.
from Melissa Clark, the New York Times