Xiao Long Yan Rou

Lamb Steamed with Spice-Flavoured Cornmeal

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as Part of a Chinese Meal, or 2 as a Single Dish.

Appears in

This is one of the most unusual dishes I’ve ever encountered in China and delicious as well. A northern Chinese inspired recipe, the tender goat meat was coated with spiced cornmeal and gently steamed, then served in a bamboo steamer lined with linen cloth. On my return home I was surprised at its ease of preparation. I have, used lamb in place of the rather more robust goat meat, although I wish everyone could also taste it made with goat.


  • 60 g/ oz yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons five-spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground roasted Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 450 g/1 lb lean lamb (fillet or leg)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil


In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cornmeal, five-spice powder, ground Sichuan peppercorns, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

Cut the lamb into thin strips, about 6 mm/¼ in thick by 7.5 cm/3 in long. In a large bowl, combine the lamb with the onions, garlic, ginger, rice wine or sherry, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

Lay the lamb in a large baking tray and toss with the cornmeal mixture to coat evenly. Arrange the lamb on a plate.

Set up a steamer or put a rack into a wok or deep pan. Fill the steamer with about 5 cm/2 in of hot water. Bring the water to a simmer. Put the plate with the lamb into the steamer or onto the rack. Cover the steamer tightly and gently steam over medium heat for 30 minutes. Replenish the water in the steamer from time to time as needed.

Serve at once.