Imperial-Style Fried Lamb with Bean Paste

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

New Beijing Cuisine

New Beijing Cuisine

By Jereme Leung

Published 2010

  • About

This is a dish reputed to have been named by the Empress Dowager Cixi. She was a very corrupt figure who ushered in the end of the Qing Dynasty, and the end of the dynastic system—but she threw great dinner parties. This dish created by her court chefs features shredded lamb coated with crispy fried batter and sautéed with sugar and soy. To add some colour to the dish, the lamb is served on a bed of fruit and topped with light-as-air sugar threads that slowly melt in your mouth.

Ingredients

  • Watermelon 10 g ( oz)
  • Rock melon 10 g ( oz)
  • Kiwi fruit 15 g ( oz)
  • Dragon fruit 15 g ( oz)
  • Lamb loin 150 g (5⅓ oz), cut into thin strips
  • Potato flour 2 Tbsp
  • Cooking oil 2 Tbsp
  • Butter 1 tsp
  • Garlic 1 clove, peeled and chopped
  • Roasted white sesame seeds a pinch

    Method

    1. Peel and cut fruit into evenly-sized cubes. Set aside.
    2. Make sugar threads. Prepare an ice bath that is big enough to fit a heavy-based saucepan in. On a work surface, position two tall tumblers 30-cm (12-in) apart to serve as lateral supports for the sugar threading.
    3. In a heavy-based saucepan, cook sugar, water and corn syrup over low heat until mixture reaches 120°C (250°F) or the hard ball stage. Quickly transfer pan to ice bath, soaking just the base. Working quickly, grease two forks with a little vegetable oil and hold them together in one hand so that they look like a single eight-pronged fork. Dip forks into syrup, remove, and swing forks swiftly from left to right repeatedly between supports to form the sugar threads. The threads should be suspended between the two lateral supports. Repeat until you have enough threads for the dish decoration. If syrup cools, reheat it in a bain marie. The syrup is delicate and can crystallise easily during cooking or during the process of preparing sugar threads. To avoid this, refrain from stirring or reusing sugar that has already hardened. Sugar threads can be prepared a few days ahead and can be stored in an airtight container.
    4. Wash and clean lamb loin, then place in the freezer for about 2 hours. Cut into thin slices, then lightly coat with potato flour. Place fruit in a mould and turn onto a prepared serving plate. Set aside.
    5. Heat a little oil in a wok over low heat. Sear lamb slices until golden brown. Remove from heat and drain oil. Using the same wok, add butter and garlic and sauté over low heat. Add sauce ingredients and simmer until rock sugar is dissolved. Add seared lamb slices and sauté over high heat until sauce is evenly absorbed by lamb.
    6. Arrange fruit cubes on a serving plate, followed by lamb slices. Sprinkle sesame seeds, garnish with sugar threads and serve immediately.