My mouth waters just thinking about the pillowy soft steamed buns and doughy pancakes that are ubiquitous on menus throughout China and Beijing. But nothing gets my taste buds tingling like the spicy lamb buns, which are a must-try for any foodie visiting the region. Chinese cuisine is not just rice and noodles, and these buns are a perfect example of that.
These Spicy Lamb Buns with Honey Soy Drizzle were created in a mood of joyous carbohydrate consumption, with complete contempt for all diet trends. They feature succulent, spicy lamb, fresh, crisp herbs and vegetables, a delectable sauce, and buttery, soft bread. Do I even need to elaborate?
The roasted lamb is tender and succulent and tastes even better when served with crisp vegetables and a light honey soy sauce. With the addition of the fluffy flatbread, this lamb bun becomes the best you’ve ever had.
The flatbread and the roast lamb are not difficult to prepare.
For The Lamb:
- 12 oz. of lamb loin (leave fat on the lamb)
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon of Sichuan pepper powder (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
For The Buns:
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup of milk
- ½ cup of yogurt
- 2 tablespoons of butter (melted)
- 2 tablespoons of hot water
- 1 ½ teaspoons of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of active dry yeast
- ¾ teaspoon of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Sesame seeds
For The Toppings:
- 1 large julienned carrot
- 3 julienned scallions
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1/2 tablespoon of oil
- 1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- A handful of fresh mint leaves
- A handful of fresh cilantro
- The lamb should be marinated initially. Rub the lamb with the spice mixture, which should include cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and Sichuan pepper powder (if using). Place in the refrigerator to marinate while you put together the buns.
- First, in a medium bowl, dissolve the sugar in the boiling water for the buns. Once the water has cooled to a comfortable temperature (it should be warm but not hot), whisk in the yeast until dissolved and let rest for ten minutes. Mix the baking soda, flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
- When the yeast is frothy, add the milk and yogurt and stir to combine. Combine the dough’s dry ingredients with the liquids in a separate bowl. Form a ball by kneading the dough until it is cohesive. Let it rise in a warm spot for an hour while covered with a damp cloth.
- Reduce the thickness of the dough to about a quarter of an inch (it will puff up quite a bit while cooking). Form 4-inch diameter discs out of the dough. All we did was trace around a tiny rice dish and cut out the shapes. To use up all the dough, simply keep rolling and cutting it. Butter one side and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover the dough discs with a damp towel and leave them on a floured board.
- Then, bring a cast-iron skillet or pan to a nearly smoking temperature. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet and searing the lamb on all sides to create a good, brown crust. Cook for a further 7-12 minutes on medium heat, or until done. To rest, place the meat on a plate.
- While that is going on, heat a tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium heat to use for the drizzling. Stir in the honey, vinegar, and soy sauce, and bring to a boil. Put aside.
- Prepare your buns now (it will take little time). Put a pan on the stove at medium heat and use some of the melted butter to grease the bottom. Arrange the dough discs in the pan, toasted sesame side up. Toss after 1–2 minutes of cooking. Flip and cook for a further minute or two, then remove from heat.
- Grab a bun and top it with a few slices of lamb, some carrots, scallions, mint, cilantro, and a drizzle of sauce.