Mutton to it

By Global Times – SWeekly Source:Global Times Published: 2016-2-5 5:03:03

Some of the best Xinjiang dishes for the holiday

Photo: IC

If one type of food had to be chosen to represent the cheerful Chinese New Year atmosphere in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, some might want to choose Xinjiang almonds, Xinjiang raisins or dried apricot, but mutton is at the top of my list.

For most people in Xinjiang, no matter how cold winter may get, as long as there is a bowl of steaming hot mutton being served the house will feel like spring.

Almost every Xinjiang wife can cook at least one mutton dish that will make guests applaud with admiration. They learned it from their mothers and will teach their daughters one day the secret of cooking these perfect mutton dishes.

Mutton is the perfect choice for winter as it's tasty and nutritious, yet contains less fat and cholesterol compared to pork. It helps people fight off the cold by raising your body temperature as well as helps relieve pain from rheumatism, arthritis and cold feet.

Getting it right

While many people have a hard time dealing with mutton, especially considering it's natural strong odor, it can be really tasty if you cook it right.

Here are few tips to tackling that mutton smell.

Method 1: Boil your mutton with a radish for half an hour and then remove the radish. Adding a few pieces of orange peels will help make it better.

Method 2: Boil some mung beans with the mutton - 5 grams of beans for every 1,000 grams of mutton. Boil for 10 minutes then pour the water and beans out.

Method 3: After bringing some water to a boil, add 100 grams of mutton and 50 milliliters of vinegar. After the water begins boiling again, remove the mutton, change the water and put the mutton and other ingredients in the pot. 

Radishes, carrots and tofu are ingredients that go perfect with mutton. These can add more nutrients to dishes and lessen the heat that mutton produces in the tummy.

It's best to avoid eating pumpkin, or drinking tea right after having mutton, as this may lead to digestive issues such as constipation.

Delicious dishes

As Chinese New Year is right around the corner, I'd like to list a few recipes you can spend the holiday's like the people of Xinjiang do.

Braised lamb chops

Main ingredients: Lamb chops, potatoes, carrots, peppers, scallion, garlic, ginger, onions.

Seasoning: chili sauce, Sichuan pepper, chicken powder, oil, starch, salt, sugar.

Step 1: Chop the lamb chops into small pieces, as well as all the vegetables.

Step 2: Pour oil into the pot, and if you prefer add a slight amount of sugar.

Step 3: Stir fry the lamb chops in the oil and add the seasonings. Cook until brown (around 5-8 minutes).

Step 4: Add the potato. Stir fry for 3 minutes and add the carrots, garlic, ginger and keep stir frying.

Step 5: Add water until it covers all the ingredients. Cover the pan with a lid and stew everything until the potatoes are fully cooked.

Step 6: Add pepper and scallion slices to the stew and your dish is done.

Lamb stew

Main Ingredient: Leg of lamb, radishes, carrots, onions, scallions.

Seasoning: Sichuan pepper, salt.

Step 1: Chop the leg of lamb into small cubes. Chop the vegetables and remove the white part of scallions, this is what we will be using.

Step 2: Put chopped lamb cubes into water and boil until the meat changes color. Add the carrots and other ingredients.

Step 3: Add the seasonings after the water boils again.

Step 4: Cover the pan with a lid and let it stew.

Step 5: Once the stew gets thick, pour everything into a giant bowl and sprinkle some onion slices on the top for some authentic Xinjiang mutton stew.

Mutton meatballs

Main ingredients: Lamb, onion, Chinese cabbage, coriander, white radish, scallion and ginger.

Seasoning: Sichuan pepper, black pepper, chicken powder, oil, starch and salt.

Step 1: Wash the lamb and mince it.

Step 2: Mixed minced onions into the lamb, as well as the prickly ash powder, pepper and all the other seasonings. Use chopsticks to mix everything. Stick to one clockwise or counterclockwise direction, this will make your meatballs tender and chewy.

Step 3: Roll the mixture into small meatballs and fry them in oil.

Step 4: You can stir fry the fried lamb meatballs with other vegetables or just make some meatball soup.

Roast lamb chops

Main ingredients: Lamb chops (500 grams), onions, eggs, wheat flour (25 grams).

Seasoning: Black pepper, cumin, Sichuan pepper, salt.

Step 1: After washing the lamb chops and chopping them into smaller pieces, soak them in a mixture of salt, eggs and other seasonings for 20 to 30 minutes. Make sure you flip the pieces from time to time to ensure they are completely covered with seasoning.

Step 2: Put the lamb in the oven, and brush the seasoning once again on the lamb chops. Toast for a while until the meat turns a dark brown color.

Step 3: Sprinkle salt, pepper and cumin on the meat. This crispy, golden brown treat is now ready.

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