Cumin lamb is a dish loved by many, but achieving great results isn’t always easy. Usually, the best method is to string lamb skewers and cook them on a charcoal fire, which easily provides the most delicious results. Unfortunately, this is also quite difficult and can be expensive for the average family, as charcoal barbecues aren’t the most accessible.
There’s no need to fret, however! A kitchen wok is an efficient and practical solution to the problem.
Frying lamb repetitively causes the meat to ooze a lot of water, and so moisture is often the biggest problem when cooking cumin lamb. This is because the liquid suppresses the mouth-watering aroma. Thankfully, there are generally three solutions to this problem:
- Use a high-powered stove which can continuously heat the wok and condense proteins on the outside of the lamb. However, this solution is expensive and might require a high-power gas meter.
- Use a thick-bottomed pan. They can store vast amounts of heat after preheating meaning that the temperature won’t drop after the lamb is added. By preventing the temperature from dropping, the lamb will cook quickly on the outside and seal its moistures inside.
- The easiest method: use less lamb. This is great if you’re cooking fresh cumin lamb for yourself, however it isn’t recommended if you’re cooking for many people at once (or someone in your family just can’t resist stealing yours!)
And this is where our two-step method comes in: “Shallow frying and stir fry”. This method ensures that no moisture oozes out during the cooking process, and that the lamb remains fresh and firm. This technique allows at least 400 grams of lamb to be cooked at one time, meaning that there will be an abundance of cumin lamb to share with family and friends!
Here’s what you need to know to cook the delicious dish yourself:
- 400 grams of lamb. (Use the rump of the lamb for the best outcome, though any cut is fine.)
- 2 tablespoons of cumin granules – not cumin powder. This is to ensure that the aroma stays strong throughout the cooking process.
- ½ tablespoon of salt
- 1-2 tablespoons of chili powder(varies depending on personal taste).
- Green vegetables to decorate your dish. (Optional)
- Peanut oil
Cut lamb into slices 2cm thick. Spread salt on the surface of the lamb, keeping in mind that some will be lost during the cooking process.
Pour peanut oil over the lamb and spread evenly.
Gently massage the salt into the lamb. The peanut oil is used to decrease cooking time whilst simultaneously reducing moisture from evaporating inside the lamb, ensuring and that the fried lamb remains juicy and tender!
Keep in mind that meat is often refrigerated or frozen before it is bought, so don’t make the common mistake of cooking it straight out of the refrigerator. Make sure that you allow the lamb to sit for half an hour so that it can reach room temperature.
This quickens the cooking process immensely and makes it much easier to achieve a tender finish on your cumin lamb. Although you might be thinking that this small temperature difference is irrelevant, think again! Lamb begins to cook and change color at only 65 degrees Celsius, so the difference between cooking the meat frozen (3-4 degrees Celsius), and allowing it to sit at room temperature beforehand, is in fact quite significant.
So please remember to never cook lamb frozen – wait for it to completely thaw and return to room temperature before you begin!
Now it’s time to prepare your other ingredients! Place the cumin granules in a small pan and bake them on the stove for about 1-2 minutes. When baking, shake the pan constantly and watch the granules closely to ensure they don’t overcook.
Place both the baked cumin granules and salt in a mortar and grind them moderately. There is no need to pulverize them completely – just make sure that all the granules are crushed.
If you wish to, it is now time to prepare your vegetable side dishes! These will add a little tasty flare to your dish and make them visually appealing for all. For this particular recipe, only use green vegetables that don’t secrete lots of fluids. For example, we’ve used baby broccoli here, and kale is also a great option! Just keep in mind that only a small amount of vegetables should be used, otherwise the cooking speed will be reduced and the extra effort will become fruitless.
Preheat a thick pan on the stove for two minutes, before placing the lamb directly onto its surface. You do not need to oil the pan, as the lamb is already coated in peanut oil and is doing its job just fine! Adding extra oil will only harm the cooking process and inhibit thermal conductivity.
Fry each side of the lamb for two minutes, making sure to move the lamb around as you cook to ensure it is consistent. This is because the bottom of the pan is always heated unevenly. You will also find, if you are using a stainless steel pot, that your meat might stick to the pan’s surface. Don’t fret if this happens! Simply wait until the surface of the lamb cooks over and hardens slightly before moving it again.
After two minutes, flip the lamb over. You will see that it has turned a beautiful golden yellow, and an enticing aroma will begin to be produced. This golden color is due to the caramelization of the sugar within the lamb muscle, and demonstrates just how charming barbecue meat can be!
In fact, I have an interesting theory that suggests that people are enticed by barbecue flavors due to our genetic make-up. These genetics were a great driving force for the evolution of human beings, as it allowed them to overcome the fear of fire. How fascinating!
After the lamb has been fried on both sides, press the lamb against the edge of the pan to fry any fat on the meat’s side (if there is any) and enhance the flavor further. Then transfer the lamb onto a clean plate/cutting board and allow it to cool for 2-3 minutes, before slicing the lamb into square centimeters. The inside of the lamb should be slightly pink, which makes it Medium Rare. Make sure you don’t wash your pan quite yet, as it will be coming in handy very soon!
After the lamb has been chopped, it is now time to fry it again, using the same pan as before! The residue in the pan can be used to make a delicious seasoning sauce, and is known as “deglazing”. Now, preheat the pan again for a minute before you begin to add your next ingredients.
First, place your crushed cumin and salt into the pan, add the chili powder (the amount depends on your tastes), and add in your prepared vegetables. Begin to stir them together so that the green vegetables are evenly spread among the cumin and chili powder.
Next, pour in the diced lamb. Gently mix the lamb with the other ingredients by gently shaking and shifting the pan – utensils are not recommended as they will potentially mar the lamb. Do this until the pink insides of the lamb are the same golden brown as the rest of the meat, before taking it off the stove and serving it! This final process is very quick and should only take tens of seconds.
And now, you’re all finished! Your mouth-watering cumin lamb is done, with a delicious scent and tender, firm squares of lamb which will be sure to tempt everyone.
This “two-step method” prevents excessive water during the cooking process and ensures that the fried lamb will be crisp on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. Hopefully our guide has helped you immensely and brings you delicious results!
It really is a must try for everyone who loves some cumin lamb!