Spice-Crusted Xinjiang Lamb with Smacked Cucumber


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

My Asian Kitchen

My Asian Kitchen

By Jennifer Joyce

Published 2018

  • About

In the outer Chinese border provinces like Xinjiang, near Mongolia, the cuisine starts to mingle with Middle Eastern influences and lamb features prominently. These tasty spice-crusted cutlets originated in this far-flung outpost, but are popular street food all over China. You can also make this as skewers.

Prep 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes marinating
Cook 5 minutes


  • 2 racks lamb, French trimmed
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp red chilli flakes
  • 6 baby cucumbers, ends trimmed

Sesame Sauce

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely crushed
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp black or rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp roasted chilli flakes in oil, drained
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted


Remove any outer fat from the lamb racks and slice into individual cutlets. In a shallow baking dish, mix togther the garlic, soy, sesame oil and rice wine and massage into the lamb flesh. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes or up to overnight, covered and refrigerated.

Place all the spices, except for the chilli flakes, in a small saucepan. Toast for 1 minute over medium heat and then place in a mortar and pestle. Roughly grind the spices and mix the chilli flakes in. Pour the spices onto a large plate. Dip in each cutlet so that it’s covered on both sides. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to grill.

To make the sesame sauce, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Place the cucumbers on a chopping board. Smack the top of them lightly with a rolling pin. Place the chunky pieces in a bowl, spoon 1–2 tablespoons of the sesame sauce over and mix together. Set aside the remaining sauce to serve with the lamb.

Preheat an outdoor grill or chargrill pan and cook the cutlets for 1–2 minutes each side over direct heat. Serve with the smacked cucumber and the sesame sauce for dipping.