I visit Beijing often as I have family there – it’s a busy, bustling city, much of it new built around the splendours of the ancient city. The people here are are friendly and it’s opening up in a spectacular way to the outside world, although it’s ancient history is still very prevalent. I love exploring the heritage of my favourite cities and how the food has derived from this and Beijing has a rich culinary offering that I just love. There are many street stalls selling Muslim delicacies and snacks such as chuan rou (in Mandarin Chinese, ‘Chuan’ means ‘skewered’ and ‘Rou’ means ‘meat’) – in fact, they have become so popular they are found all over China, and not just in the north. In my Spiced Skewered Lamb recipe, the lamb is coated in spices, skewered and then cooked on a grill or barbecue, which gives it an irresistible smoky flavor. I like it served with a simple orange fennel salad, which complements the spiciness of the dish. Spiced Skewered Lamb Serves 2 INGREDIENTS 200g/7oz lamb fillet Olive oil SEASONING 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes ½ teaspoon paprika ½ teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon light soy sauce 1 teaspoon groundnut oil 1 teaspoon Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry ORANGE FENNEL SALAD 4 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons orange juice juice of ½ a lime 1 tablespoon light soy sauce 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil 200g/7oz mixed washed salad leaves 1 fennel, finely sliced, soaked in cold water for 30 seconds, then drained 2 oranges, peeled and segmented sea salt and ground black pepper Soak 8-10 wooden skewers in water for about 20 minutes Combine all the ingredients for the seasoning in a bowl. Add the meat and stir to coat in the spices, then thread the meat onto the skewers. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Place the skewers in a pan and cook until browned on one side, then turn them over and cook for 1 minute. Take off the heat. To make the dressing for the salad, put the olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix well. Put the salad leaves into another bowl and top with the fennel, then add the orange segments and drizzle the dressing over the salad. To serve, divide the salad between two plates and then place the skewers of lamb on top.
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