10 Tasty Chinese Lamb Recipes to Spice up Your Dinner

The history of the Chinese eating lamb dishes can be traced back to more than 4,000 years ago. In the Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD), lamb became popular among folks. Up until the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 AD), lamb had “ruled” the Chinese dining tables. It was not until the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 AD) that pork replaced lamb to take over the overlord status of the Chinese diet. This, however, does not affect the Chinese people’s enthusiasm for lamb, especially during a cold winter, because they believe lamb dishes can warm them up. Here are the 10 famous Chinese lamb recipes that won’t let you down.

1. Instant-Boiled Mutton Hot Pot

Chinese Name: 涮羊肉 shuàn yáng ròu
Flavor: salty, tender, aromatic
Ingredients: mutton, cabbage and other side vegetables
Cooking Methods: boil

Instant-Boiled Mutton Hot Pot, which originated from Beijing, is one of the best dishes in Chinese lamb recipes. Mutton is cut into thin slices, 12-20 cm (5-9 inches) long, 3-6 cm (1-2.5 inches) wide and paper-thin. Before eating, the slices only need to be boiled in the boiling hot pot for a few seconds. Then, you can take out, dip in the sauce made of sesame paste, soy sauce, chili oil, oyster sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, chopped shallots, etc., and enjoy. Remember to boil only one slice each time and don’t boil multiple slices at the one time, for the later ones will be over cooked.

Instant-boiled Mutton
Instant-boiled Mutton
Mutton Kebab
Mutton Kebab

2. Mutton Kebab

Chinese Name: 烤羊肉串 kǎo yáng ròu chuàn
Flavor: aromatic, salty, spicy, tender and juicy
Ingredients: mutton, onion, oil, cumin powder, salt, chili powder
Cooking Methods: roast or barbecue

Mutton Kebab is one of famous Chinese mutton dishes from Xinjiang. Nowadays, it is frequently seen on food streets all over China, and Chinese often cook it in open-air parties with friends. The meat from the lamb’s hind legs is the best choice. Here is this Chinese mutton recipe. The mutton is first cut into small cubes, marinated with chopped onion for about half an hour, then threaded onto skewers, with about 5-6 cubes on a skewer. Next, sprinkle some salt, cumin powder and chili powder evenly on the mutton kebab, and roast. It needs to be turned and sprinkled with the condiments several times.

3. Stewed Mutton with Radishes

Chinese Name: 白萝卜炖羊肉 bái luó bo dùn yáng ròu
Flavor: salty and aromatic
Ingredients: mutton brisket, radishes, the root of straight ladybell, ginger...
Cooking Methods: stew

This Chinese lamb recipe is especially popular in winter. Quick-boil diced mutton to remove any blood residue, and then remove the meat and rinse with warm water. Next, peel the radishes and cut into cubes. Then, put the boiled diced mutton, radish cubes, the root of straight ladybell and ginger slices into a casserole,  and bring to boil with fresh water. When the water is boiling, turn down to low heat and stew for 2-3 hours. Finally, add salt and you can eat the dish with thick soup.

4. Stewed Lamb in Brown Sauce

Chinese Name: 红焖羊肉 hóng mèn yáng ròu
Flavor: salty and spicy
Ingredients: mutton, chili sauce, cooking wine, pepper powder...
Cooking Methods: stew

The best mutton for this dish is from rams. Soak the diced lamb in clear water for two or three hours, and then quick-boil. Next, stir-fry the diced lamb together with cooking wine, minced ginger and shallots. When the color of mutton changes, add chili sauce and stir well. Then, pour the mixture into a casserole, and add water, aniseed, cinnamon and other spices, and boil. After boiling, scoop out any foam and add additional cooking wine, salt, pepper powder, diced carrot, dates and lycium barbarum. Stew them for a further 40-50 minutes until the lamb is tender. After that, pick out the ginger, shallots and spices, and season with cumin powder. You can eat the dish with alcohol and side dishes like tofu or marinated cabbage.

5. Quick-Fried Mutton with Scallions

Quick-Fried Mutton with Scallions
Quick-Fried Mutton with Scallions

Chinese Name: 葱爆羊肉 cōng bào yáng ròu
Flavor: salty and aromatic, shallot flavor
Ingredients: mutton, shallot, onion, garlic...
Cooking Methods: fry

This is a Chinese lamb recipe popular in Beijing. To cook this dish, firstly marinate mutton slices in soy sauce and starch for 10 minutes. Next, drain the mutton slices and stir-fry them. Then, stir fry diced onion, shallots and garlic slices in another wok. Add the fried mutton and continue frying, with the addition of white vinegar, sesame oil, salt and white sugar. It is important that the shallots are fried well, to give out their aroma. The heat should be on high all the time and the cooking must be fast, otherwise the mutton will be tough.

6. Stir-Fried Lamb with Cumin

Chinese Name: 孜然羊肉 zī rán yáng ròu
Flavor: salty and spicy, aromatic
Ingredients: mutton, parsley leaves, cumin, shallots, ginger...
Cooking Methods: fry

This Chinese mutton dish is also from Xinjiang. Cut slices of the meat from the hind legs of lamb, and ground some fried cumin. Next, mix cooking wine, salt and a little water well, and marinate the lamb slices in the sauce together with shallots and ginger. After 20 minutes, stir-fry the lamb slices until the color changes. Then, sprinkle evenly with the cumin powder, chili powder and salt and stir well. When serving, garnish with minced parsley leaves.

7. Stewed Noodles with Mutton

Chinese Name: 羊肉烩面 yáng ròu huì miàn
Flavor: salty and
Ingredients: mutton, hand-made noodles, shallots, ginger, star anise...
Cooking Methods: boil, stew

Stewed Noodles with Mutton is popular in Chinese lamb recipes from Henan Province. Soak the mutton cubes in clear water for at least 4 hours to ensure all the blood drains. Next, boil the mutton, skim off the white foam, turn to low heat and stew with shallots, ginger slices, star anise, myrcia and cassia bark for a further 2 hours until the mixture turns white and thickens. Then pick out the lamb, and add vermicelli, black fungus, citron daylily and kelp shreds into the broth to boil for 5 more minutes. After that, add hand-made noodles into the broth and boil until the noodles are well done, then add salt. Lastly, ladle into a bowl, top with the sliced mutton and you can enjoy this delicious dish.

Yangrou Paomo
Yangrou Paomo

Chinese Name: 羊肉泡馍 yáng ròu pào mó
Flavor: salty with thick soup
Ingredients: mutton, crumbled flatbread, bean vermicelli, sweet garlic, chili sauce...
Cooking Methods: boil
Yangrou Paomo is famous in Chinese lamb recipes,  as it is a local must-eat in Xi’an. The mutton is marinated for 20 hours and then stewed for 8-12 hours. If you want to taste this delicious lamb dish, you need to work first, by breaking some flatbread into small pieces; the more pieces, the tastier the dish will be. Hand the crumbled flatbread to the chef who will add to the boiling broth used to cook the lamb, together with bean vermicelli, coriander, black fungus and citron daylily. Before serving, the broth is topped with the stewed mutton slices and is usually served with sweet garlics and chili sauce.

9. Hand-Grabbed Lamb

Chinese Name: 手抓羊肉 shǒu zhuā yáng ròu
Flavor: tender, umami
Ingredients: lamb chops, shallots, ginger, peppercorns, spiced salt...
Cooking Methods: boil

Hand-Grabbed Lamb is a traditional dish  in the northwestern China, popular among Mongol, Tibetan, Hui, Kazak, Uygur and other ethnic groups. To cook this dish, firstly, soak lamb chops in water for an hour and wash them to make sure there is no blood residue. Then, boil the lamb chops, and skim off the foam. Next, stew the chops with shallots, ginger slices and peppercorns for one and a half hours. Then, add some Chinese wolfberries and prickly ashes and keep stewing for a further hour. This dish is usually accompanied with a dipping sauce such as spiced salt, minced garlic and chives flower sauce.

10. Roast Whole Lamb

Roast Whole Lamb
Roast Whole Lamb

Chinese Name: 烤全羊 kǎo quán yáng
Flavor: a little salty, aromatic
Ingredients: lamb, salt, shallots, ginger...
Cooking Methods: roast

Roast Whole Lamb is an ethnic food in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang. The best lamb for this dish is 1-2 years old. After taking out the viscera, the lamb is stuffed with cut shallots, sliced ginger, pepper, aniseed, fennel powder and mashed salt, soy sauce and sesame oil, and roasted whole in a sealed oven. It takes 3-4 hours to roast the whole lamb. The finished Roast Whole Lamb, golden with a crispy skin and tender meat, is placed on a special wooden plate. When it is served to customers, the chef will peel the skin first and cut the lamb into thick slices with a knife. There are also shallots, mashed garlic, lotus-leaf-like pancakes and other side dishes to accompany.

- Last updated on May. 31, 2021 -
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