What is good for the cold and never end winter? Definitely, will be the lamb dishes.

The special taste of lamb gives a best ever richness and sweat, less fatty texture than other red meat. More importantly, what else would be better than a warm home-made lamb dish, while outside is freezing?

In my home town, due to the geographic reason, we did not have sheep but goat meat, when I was small. However, to manage its gamey flavor is not easy. My mum does not like such wild and uncontrollable smell. Therefore, this dish was neither in our home or go-out menu. Seldom, friends of my farther would invite us together to explore some hidden and traditional restaurants which cook goat meat perfectly. I have memory for the soup with such big chunks of skin-on goat meat, spring onion, a bit ginger, a bit coriander, and a bit chili. Besides, toasted Uyghur kebab was a popular street food for after school student at that time. Interestingly, it was introduced by traveled around Uyghur peddlers from the north-west part, at the later 1980’s. With a small movable barbecue grill, goat meat kebab, season with salt some dried herbs, and the key is cumin. Back to the history, this way of cooking will not surprise you. “Kebab, kebab, tasty kebab, come quickly”, the peddler hawked his wares/kebab – I still remember.

In Chinese medicine, goat meat belongs to “Yang”, which brings heat and energy. The tradition of eating such soup has always been during the winter. Later, I had moved to the north, where still kept such way of tradition, instead it was sheep meat. The most unforgettable was winter hotpot – instant-boiled mutton, giving such tenderness and freshness of meat. I think it should be one of the best ways which restores the nature of mutton flavor, and brings the best part of it. It is still my must-eat dish every time, when I pass by the north until right now.

Probably, I am not confident about my traditional Chinese way of cooking. For such long and endless winter in NL, I just find some alternative receipts. As we say “ignorant fears nothing”. No matter where it should or should not come from, they taste good and I am enjoying.

1)      Lamb curry with pumpkin/potatoes, served with saffron-coriander basmati rice

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Best part: fresh coriander and mint, soft pumpkin, soaked in rich curry flavor in meat…

My twisty part: use Greek yogurt marinating lamb.

2)      Braised lamb shanks with herbs, served with crushed potatoes.

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Best part: complete cooked meat, little sweetness from wine and balsamic vinegar, aroma from rosemary and thyme…

My twisty part: add dried chili, because I love a little bite of chili.

Especially for the endless cold, and looking forward for the spring.

(all photos and food are made by Leee)

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