Chinese Roast Lamb Ribs (烤羊排)

Today, we wanted to show you how to make roast
lamb ribs in the Northwest Chinese style. These’ve been heavily requested for a while
in the comments, and why not? They’re an absolute classic, complete with
a cumin laden rub that should be instantly familiar to anyone that’s ever had Chinese
barbecue. But what makes these ribs so interesting to
me is their texture – this kind of fall off the bone situation isn’t accomplished
by just roasting – at their core, these ribs are actually braised. But I’m getting ahead of myself – first,
let’s talk lamb. Here we’re using three ribs, but when I
say “rib”… I’m talking the whole thing, sliced in half
into the spare rib and the chop. If you’re in the West, I do kinda worry
that the standard frenched rack of chops might be a bit too lean, so unless you know a butcher
I’d probably opt for solely spare rib.. which’s got fat a plenty. So now to prep those, we’ll first give those
a soak those in ginger-Sichuan peppercorn water, which’ll get out some of that shanwei
or “lamby odor”. So yeah, lamby odor… usually the go to ingredient
in China to balance that mild funk is liaojiu or Shaoxing wine. Complication? A good chunk of China’s Northwest are Muslim
so wine is obviously a no go. So instead to a pot you can add in a couple
inches of crushed ginger, a half a tablespoon of whole Sichuan peppercorn, and a liter and
a half of hot boiled water. This liquid can serve much the same function
as Shaoxing wine, so if you’re cooking for people keeping Halal, there’s your Shaoxing
sub. Now just let that come down to room temperature,
then toss in the ribs. If you’re feeling a little lazy you can
also just opt for plain old drinking water instead, but either way let that soak for
one hour. An hour later, drain out the water and you’ll
see that it’s extracted a lot of the myoglobin from the meat. Now to trim those, know roast lamb ribs are
absolutely a pretty fatty cut but sometimes you’ll find a little excess handing off. Just cut that out and keep it – we’ll render
it into an oil later. So now toss your lamb in a pot… then add
in a half tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorn, two inches of smashed ginger, four thoroughly
deseeded dried chilis, and about one Dacong or welsh onion, and feel free to swap for
a bit of scallion if Dacong’s annoying to source. So then with enough water to submerge the
lamb, toss on a burner, cover, and over a medium high flame bring that all up to a light
boil. Then once its starting to get to a heavy simmer,
skip away some of the gunk. We won’t be using the liquid after this
so you don’t have to be too obsessive here, we just don’t want so much that it ends
up sticking to our lamb when we take it out. Then swap the flame to low, keep it simmering
for about five minutes, then shut off the heat. Keep covered, and we’ll come back to that
in about 90 minutes once it’s approaching room temperature. Now, recently we’ve been doing this cover-and-cool
down technique quite a bit. We quite like it because it’s easy and it
makes for really evenly cooked meat. Slowly dropping the temperature from 90ish
to 40ish means that this’s soaking somewhere between poaching temperature and a bag-less
sous vide. But feel free to crack this nut however you
want… you could do a straight braise… a lot of lamb restaurants in China actually
use pressure cookers for this, and a sous vide set to like 65C might be nice too. But either way, as that’s cooking, let’s
talk spice mix. So there’s a few different spice mixes used
in Chinese barbecue, but if you’ve ever had Yangrouchuanr lamb skewers you probably
ate something similar to this. This uses five parts cumin seed, so here we
used five teaspoons, half ground in a coffee or spice grinder… so only grind for about
ten seconds or so, we want something about this consistency. Then also grind up one part, or one teaspoon,
of fennel seed… this time getting it into a fine powder. We’ll also need one teaspoon each of salt
and chili powder… and for something like this cayenne pepper should work just fine. Then this also uses a half teaspoon of MSG…
crystals pounded into a fine powder, together with two and a half teaspoons of toasted sesame
seeds… lightly pounded in a mortar. The goal for the sesame’s to to break open
some of the seeds to get a bit of oil… but you’re not looking for a powder or anything. Something like this is perfect. So then just mix that together, and you’ve
got yourself some Chinese roast lamb seasoning. Now back to the ribs, remove, toss on a rack
and pat them with some paper towels. Any leftover moisture here’ll end up inhibit
browning when we roast, so this needs to get really dry. Let those sit for at least 30 minutes, and
here I did 90 because I am… paranoid. But then after that time, we can marinate. To help make these a bit juicier and get the
coating to stick, you’ll need oil. For this we used about a tablespoon of sunflower
oil and let that excess lamb fat render out in it… which is totally super delicious,
but basically any oil’ll do the job. So rub those lamb pieces liberally with that
oil, which’ll likely end up being two to three tablespoons worth, then sprinkle your
seasoning on, similarly massaging that in. Now before the marinade police swoop in and
tell me that this’s all just surface treatment… how it’ll only penetrate like an eighth
inch or so into the meat… next time you’re having a rare steak try cutting off and removing
the outermost eighth of an inch and tell me how much of a difference that would make to
the dish. Surface or not, the surface does matter, so
leave that to marinate for at least thirty minutes, but overnight is ideal if you can
swing it. So next day now, take out the lamb and toss
on a baking sheet. Now, the idea here’s to blast this for a
short time at high temperature, but unfortunately no matter how hard we try the very hottest
our crappy little halogen oven can get is 220 centigrade. So we tossed that in for 15 minutes, turning
halfway through, but feel free to play around with shorter times at higher temperatures. Then after that time, our lamb is done. Let that cool off a touch, serve it with a
bit of seasoned chili powder – recipe in the description – and… devour. Xibei style roast lamb ribs… done. So for many restaurants – especially down
here in the south south – they would use frozen lamb… and then they would opt for
the deep frying method, which would give the lamb a more like cleaner, less lamby taste. So right! Many of you may have the question of how we
conceptualize a full Chinese meal. So the other day we did a little collaboration
with the channel “Blondie in China” – and we went to our local market, picked up food,
and came back and cooked a full Cantonese homecooked meal. So if you’re curious to see how we make
our daily food, definite check out the video here. And, as always, check out the Reddit link
in the description box for a detailed recipe, a big thank you for everyone supporting us
on Patreon, and as always… subscribe for more Chinese cooking videos.

27 comments on “Chinese Roast Lamb Ribs (烤羊排)”

  1. Sam Antley says:

    Here first?

  2. Jade Cummings says:

    Interesting recipe, I must try this! Thanks for sharing this recipe! 😊

  3. Aï Sonck says:

    third comment

  4. Alvin Koh says:

    If one no not appreciate the lamby or goaty taste, then do not eat mutton. It is such a waste to get ride of that taste! It akin to hate milk for its milky taste.

  5. Llyander says:

    These look lovely, but just to confirm, by welsh onions you mean leeks, yes?

  6. Roy Rottleb says:

    Can you combine the water, ginger, peppercorn mix with shaoxin cooking wine, or will it be too much? Thanks for the video!

  7. typhooonn says:

    If you see a thumb down, it’s me

  8. William Muradasilova says:

    I feel bad for lambs

  9. Aaron Sakulich says:

    Every time you guys post it's a delight! Wonderful!

  10. Dicecard says:

    What could you substitute the lamb ribs for? I'd love to try this spice profile, but lamb is pretty impossible to get in Poland, especially such specific cuts. Would beef or pork ribs work?

  11. Thomas M says:

    Hi Guys. When I heard on Oprah that lamb is the most eaten meat worldwide, I was surprised but then not !!! That wonderful taste is incredible. Hey if you need a higher surface temperature try a covered cast iron skillet without oil. The closed top will bring temps over 550 easily if not 700. That’s how infrared barbecue works. Perhaps use a rack to prevent charring surfaces and don’t burn down the house !!! Low flame to reheat pizza on a skillet is the best. And again use a cover to keep heat in.

  12. Chinese Cooking Demystified says:

    Hey guys, a few notes:

    1. So I just wanted to clarify the wet part of the cooking process here, and give some specific timing. For us, bringing this up to a light boil took about 10 minutes, I skimmed for ~5 minutes, simmered for another ~5 minutes, then covered and shut off the heat – waiting 90 minutes.

    2. Big thank you to our local Halal lamb/beef butcher, who gave a lot of advice and helped me nail down this recipe. There’s actually not a ton of great sources in Chinese for this one either! If you happen to live in Shenzhen, check out his shop “伊兴清真肉业” right next to the Futian wholesale market – it’s one of the few places in the city where you can actually buy fresh lamb.

    3. So for him, he does a straight simmer for ~60-90 minutes. Like, get the water hot, turn down the flame, toss it in and simmer. That method’s good too, and would probably be the more authentic way to go about the dish. That said… when we tried that in our tests, the lean part of the chop got that whole dry-yet-soft quality that you sometimes find if you simmer meats without much fat/collagen for a long time (e.g. the lean pork used to flavor Cantonese soups). The ribs were perfect though. So If you wanted to do that, I’d probably drop the chops in with ~20 minutes to go or so to make sure they don’t overcook.

    4. The thing was, I really wanted to mimic the roast lamb ribs that we get at the very best Xinjiang restaurant in the city. The cold water start method was much, much closer to the super soft texture that they’ve got going on at that restaurant there. But if we’re going to be honest, these aren’t quite as good at theirs are. I still wanted to tinker with different poaching methods but… in a couple weeks we’re moving to another city (Shunde) where lamb/NW stuff is much harder to come by. But the cold water start method got us 90% of the way there… which’s our own personal quality standard for the channel (i.e. at least 90% of a great restaurant here in China), so we figured that we should share the recipe while we’re still in Shenzhen. Will update this if I ever learn more though.

    5. Another pretty famous lamb restaurant in Shenzhen (爱家味, place was better back when it was family run/not a chain/before they renovated with all the kitschy ‘ethnic’ decorations… still quite tasty though) uses a pressure cooker for their stuff, I’m 97% sure. I remember a post on Baidu Zhidao (the Chinese equivalent of Quora) where cook from a restaurant that did roast lamb said they did 10-15 minutes in a pressure cooker? Can’t seem to find the post right now. If using a pressure cooker, try 10 minutes at first.

    6. In any event, when I ran this final recipe past my butcher from Gansu, I did end up getting the ok. “Sure, of course you can also do it like that”.

    7. I know in the video I made a quick comment about “Ginger-Sichuan Peppercorn water can be a Shaoxing wine substitute” – I wanted to explain what I meant there. In the Shaoxing wine video we put out (card for the video was about a minute in), we talked about three different ways that Shaoxing wine/Liaojiu were used. It’s specifically the first method – balancing the lamby and ducky ‘off odors’ – that the ginger-peppercorn water can be used (for the ‘fishy odor’ use just ginger water). To be clear, it’s not like you can make Drunken Chicken with that sort of spice water…

    8. So if you don’t want to bother with steeping that ginger/peppercorns, simply do the one hour soak in cool water – preferably adding in a couple tablespoons of Liaojiu/Shaoxing wine.

    9. Finally, regarding marinades. I know the thought process people are pushing back on – the idea that marinades can somehow penetrate and alter the flavor/texture of like a whole turkey or something. And sure – definitely read what Kenji and McGee say on the topic, it’s absolutely important stuff to keep in mind. But what I wanted to express is that I think as an internet-food-nerd community we’ve sort of gone too far in the other direction. Flavors seeping in a few millimeters into the meat can absolutely create the sensation of more flavorful meat – just try this recipe with a 30 minute marinade vs overnight and I think the difference is obvious.

  13. zyrtor1 says:

    Thanks for this recipe. I had my wife order me these ribs at least once a week in Guangzhou from a Xinjiang restaurant near our apartment. I was addicted to these. Now I can make them back home with my own stuff. Thanks again!!!

  14. Matt Hanselman says:

    I’m sure you get a ton of requests for vegan/vegetarian dishes already, but I’d really love to see a classic seitan recipe from you guys.

  15. Eric Ling says:

    Saw Roast Lamb n clicked.

  16. paretos law says:

    Outstanding! Thank you.

  17. druidboy76 says:

    I wish you guys would loop all your videos together into a big ass 10 hour long ASMR video.

  18. Nur La grande says:

    Never click any other video faster.

  19. David Young says:

    I tried to look but could not find one. Have y'all ever made a video about the very light and crispy Cantonese tempura-ish frying? In the states a dish like that might be called, 'Salt and pepper fish fillet?' Also popular with shrimp, squid, sometimes chicken wings. Thank you!

  20. eggplant says:

    always wanted to try making this!! thanks guys

  21. Tim Glenn says:

    Saw Cum, say no more fam

  22. landonbaytown says:

    hope to try this one day!

  23. Adil Hossain says:

    I loved the note helping out Muslims at the start, Chinese cuisine is my absolute favourite to cook often so simple but packed full of flavour

  24. 밥안사tv밥안사먹는남자 says:

    Looks very yami ~~~~ thanks for sharing your recipe. 👍👍👍👍👍🇰🇷🇰🇷🇰🇷

  25. Emma Forsythe says:

    OMG YES!!! Thank you!! I've been trying to figure out how to make these for years! You made my week!

  26. antonc81 says:

    Been looking for a recipe for this for ages!

  27. antonc81 says:

    Been looking for a recipe for this for ages!

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