CUMIN LAMB AND HAND-SMASHED NOODLE SOUP
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FOR THIS WEEKEND….
I’m quickly leaving you with this recipe today because I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. In fact, it is precisely because I’ve already said everything I wanted about them in my previous posts. This recipe is a good example of how I, and you as well, can utilize all the recipes on the site fluently in combination, to draw to a different conclusion. This particular dish is mainly a soup-version from my xi’an famous cumin lamb and hand-smashed noodles, but it draws from three different recipes that have somewhat became a staple of my own kitchen. Plus a little further processing and tweaks, it can become something that scratches an entirely different itch. So here, whether you are a dry noodle or soup noodle kinda person, or both, you can now travel between two worlds.
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- 1 tbsp whole mustard seeds
- Marinated sliced lamb from this recipe
- 5 cups (1250 grams/ml) rich and neutral chicken stock (without thyme, rosemary, etc), or make your own from this recipe
- 1/4 cup (60 grams/ml) clear Chinese rice wine or Japanese sake
- 1/2 onion or 1 jumbo scallion
- 2~3 dried bay leaves
- 1 star anise
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- Salt to season
- 218 grams (1 1/2 cup) Chinese dumpling flour, or any fine-ground wheat flour with 10~11% protein
- 2 grams (1/2 tsp) salt
- 120 grams (1/2 cup) water
- Xi'an style chilli oil from this recipe
- Chopped fresh cilantro and mint
- Ground white pepper and sichuan peppercorn to season
- PREPARE/MARINATE THE LAMB (or you can use beef if preferred): Marinate the lamb according to this recipe. Toast whole mustard seeds in a small pot over medium-low heat, until they start to pop enthusiastically. Transfer to a mortar and ground coarsely, or wrap them in parchment and smash with a hammer. Set aside. This can be prepared the day before.
- Before serving, add 2 tbsp of canola oil to the lamb and loosen it up with your hands. Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat without oil, then add the lamb-mixture. Scatter them evenly on the skillet then don't move them, trying to get as much caramelization on one side as you can, then stir and cook until the meats are no longer pink. Add 3 tsp of the ground mustard seeds and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and set aside until needed.
- TO PREPARE THE SOUP BASE: Thoroughly charr the onion or scallion over open flame, then combine it with chicken stock, rice wine, dried bay leaves and star anise in a pot. Bring to a gentle boil, covered (skim off any foam on top a few times in between), and cook for 30 min. Add the fish sauce and cook for another 5 min. Leave it as is until needed. Can be made the day before. Then before serving, remove the solids with a slotted spoon and reheat. Re-season with salt as needed.
- TO MAKE THE HAND-SMASHED NOODLE: Please note that this recipe uses slightly less water than the original recipe because we want the noodles to stay firmer in the soup. But the instructions stays the same as instructed in the original recipe.
- To cook the noodles, bring a large pot of water to boil, then lower the noodles into the water one by one to prevent them from sticking to each other. THEY WILL COOK FAST, like in about 30 sec (any longer the noodle will be too soft). Remove the noodle with a slotted spoon when they float and stay to the top of the water. Drain well and divide into serving bowls.
- Cover the noodles with the soup-base, then top with cumin lambs, chopped cilantro and mint, then season with a generous dusting of white pepper and ground sichuan peppercorns. Add a good dollop of xi'an style chilli oil and serve immediately.