On the Silk Road path, the Uyghur cuisine in north western China uses a lot of spices and features goat and lamb dominantly. It’s not what one would typically think of as Chinese foods. The Uyghurs also serve most of their dishes with a chewy flatbread that reminds me of bagel just holeless.
This Xinjiang Lamb Mini Pita Pockets dish takes its inspiration from the flatbread and the grilled leg of lamb that you find in many Xinjiang restaurants.
I think Marco Polo would approve.
Chef’s tip: If you are buying whole lamb loins, freeze it for 20 minutes before cutting. It will help you make really thin slices.
½ lb of lamb loin (or pre-sliced shabu-shabu lamb)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried mint
1½ teaspoons ground fennel
1 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne/chile powder, less depending on preference, optional
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup watercress, daikon sprouts or any peppery micro greens
4 mini pitas
Preparing the lamb:
1. Slice the lamb as thin as possible (alternatively buy the pre-sliced shabu-shabu lamb meat).
2. Mix all the dried spices, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
3. Marinate lamb with the garlic and spices, for at least 20 minutes, preferably overnight.
4. Cooking the lamb: Add ½ tablespoon of oil in wok or a cast iron pan over high heat till very hot, almost smoking. Sear the marinated meat in 2 batches, about 3 minutes or until meat is nicely brown and caramelized. Repeat with more oil for remaining meat.
Assembling the pockets:
5. Cut pitas into 2. Stuff pita with 2 tablespoons of spiced lamb and some micro greens.
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