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Course: Mains
Keyword: Chinese, Grill, Lamb, Meats

Chuan'r (Grilled Lamb Skewers)

Grilled lamb skewers rest on a grill grate over a live fire.
ACTIVE TIME: 1 hour
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours
Yield: 4 servings
Big with Beijingers, these cumin-spiced bits of lamb are strung onto skewers and roasted over coals a red as dragons' eyes. I realize cranking up a grill is a bit unusual around midnight, but in the summer, which it's hot as blazes well into the evening, it kinda makes sense...to me, at least.
Note: Make sure you soak your skewers for at least 30 minutes before grilling. A 12-ounce plastic water bottle makes the perfect vessel. Even full of water, when you open the lid of the bottle, the skewers pop right up.
This recipe first appeared in EveryDayCook.
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Software

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds lamb shoulder chops or boneless leg of lamb

Specialized Hardware

  • 16 bamboo skewers
  • Coffee/spice grinder
Grilled lamb skewers rest on a grill grate over a live fire.
ACTIVE TIME: 1 hour
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours
Yield: 4 servings

Procedure

  • Toast the cumin, fennel, and Sichuan peppercorns in a dry skilletYou can also use a popcorn popper for this. over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool. Once cool, grind the spices, the garlic powder, and the salt in a coffee/spice grinder.
  • Cut the lamb into 1/2-inch cubes, but don't trim away any of the fat. Sprinkle the cubed meat with half of the spice mixture and thread onto skewers, leaving just enough room at the end to safely handle. Line the skewers up on plastic wrap, roll into a cylinder, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking.
  • Prepare a grill by lighting 4 quarts of charcoal (1 starter chimney's worth) or turning a gas grill to medium-high. Make sure the grates of the grill are clean and debris free. Quickly wipe the hot grill grate with a towel dipped into a little canola oil, then grill the skewers to medium-rare, about 2 minutes per side. Sprinkle the skewers with more of the spice blend between turns.
  • It is absolutely imperative that you consume your chuan'r with several cold beers. After all, you're not going anywhere at this hour, right?
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