I am definitely a fan of cumin lamb, but I can’t say with certainty that I’ve had it so many times or that I am a cumin lamb connoisseur. I do know, however, that it has 1) cumin and 2) lamb and 3) those two make for a great combination.

That being said, I want to share how I made cumin lamb for us at home the other day. I can assure you that it’s not like what you’d find in the restaurants, because I just made it up based on what we’ve had that we like, and based on what was in the fridge at the time. It has different textures of the crisp celery, tender jalapenos, pungent onion, and tender lamb with just the right amount of chew.

It only has some lamb and lots of vegetables (the way we eat at home), and does not sit in a puddle of reddish orange oil when you are done. Of course, feel free to increase the lamb and adjust the seasonings proportionally, but somehow, we always manage to have lamb leftover, no matter how many vegetables are in the dish. I attest it to the vegetables picking up the tasty juices..

This version of cumin lamb doesn’t have dried red peppers, but it does have fresh jalapenos, and it doesn’t have garlic, but it does have red onions, which add a pretty purple color!

I hope you’ll try this out!


Cumin Lamb (My Way)


Zi Ran Yang Rou


6 ounces lamb a fattier cut, like leg or shoulder, thinly sliced

2 tsp Shaoxing wine

1/4 tsp granulated sugar

1 Tbsp soy sauce divided

3/4 tsp cornstarch

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 Tbsp oil canola, vegetable, peanut (neutral), divided

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 slice ginger

1 small red onion

2-3 jalapeños

5 stalks celery

1/4 tsp salt


1) Marinate the lamb with the Shaoxing wine, sugar, 2 tsp soy sauce, cornstarch, and ground cumin.

2) Slice your vegetables- try to cut them the same thickness, so that they all cook evenly and in the same amount of time. I always slice my celery on the diagonal. Julienne the ginger.

3) Heat a pan, add oil, then cook the lamb until 80% of it has changed color from reddish to brownish. Remove from the heat.

4) Heat the remaining oil in a pan, then add the cumin seeds and ginger.

5) When the cumin seeds start to smell, add the red onion, jalapenos, celery, and salt. Cook until the celery is crisp-tender, then add the remaining 1 tsp soy sauce, then the reserved lamb.

6) Cook until the lamb is just done. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt if needed!


-You can also use hot pot sliced lamb for the meat, but just make sure you only cook it very, very briefly for the first part. The texture/mouth feel will also be very different than if you slice your own lamb.

-Not a spicy fan, or don’t have jalapeños? Use green bell peppers or long hots (spicy too!) instead.