Seared Lamb with Garlic and Black Pepper
The contrasting flavors, textures and temperatures in this recipe are definitely in the style of Vietnamese cuisine. The bite-sized cubes of lamb (or beef, if you prefer) are flavored with garlic, lime and black pepper and quickly seared to ensure that they stay tender and juicy. Served on a bed of crisp lettuce with sliced tomato, cucumber and steamed white rice, the dish makes a for a complete, quick and easy meal.
- 1 lb boneless lamb, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (or soy sauce)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (more or less to taste)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 scallions, sliced
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 2 medium tomatoes, cored and sliced
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced
- Romaine lettuce leaves
- Steamed white rice (we used jasmine)
Combine the lamb cubes, garlic and 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the fish (or soy) sauce, lime juice, chili garlic sauce and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture and pour the remainder over the meat. Season generously with black pepper and stir to coat the meat completely. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Arrange the romaine lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers on 4 serving plates and set them aside.
Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the lamb and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until browned on the outside but still pink in the middle. Add the scallions and red bell pepper, season with more black pepper and continue cooking for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat.
To serve, place a mound of steamed rice in the center of each plate and top with a portion of the lamb mixture. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice mixture over each plate and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings
We used boneless lamb shoulder chops (Saratoga chops), but any tender cut of lamb will do. If you're not a fan of lamb, a tender cut of beef would work equally well with the other flavors and the cooking method would remain the same.