Magazine article Sunset

Chopstick Barbecue: From Mongolia by Way of Beijing

Magazine article Sunset

Chopstick Barbecue: From Mongolia by Way of Beijing

Article excerpt

Chopstick barbecue: from Mongolia by way of Beijing When the Mongols invaded China, they brought with them their love of lamb. Today, this culinary legacy is still widely enjoyed in northern China. Thin slices of marinated lamb are stir-fried over a special cast-iron grill with broad, closely set slats. Then the meat is pushed into a sesame bun and eaten as a sandwich.

We sampled this dish at the Kaorouji Restaurant in Beijing. More than 130 years ago, Kaorouji started as an outdoor stall next to Shi Sha Hai Lake. Nobles of the court would cook lamb with 3-foot chopsticks on the special grill. Now the restaurant is enclosed and offers a more complex menu, but the original lamb dish still remains its specialty.

Mongolian barbecue

For our Mongolian grill, we use a griddle or frying pans on a barbecue. The meal goes together very easily, since guests do the cooking. As an appetizer, you might serve vegetables marinated in seasoned rice vinegar (or wine vinegar seasoned with sugar and salt to taste). Marinated Radishes and Cucumbers Mongolian Barbecued Lamb Sandwiches Asian Pears Chinese Beer Almond Cookies Iced Tea

Marinate the meat and prepare the onions and cilantro as early as the night before. The sesame buns can be made a day in advance and baked shortly before serving.

Mongolian Barbecued Lamb

Sandwiches 1-1/2 to 2 pounds boneless lamb leg or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut in thin strips (about 1 by 3 in.) 1/4 cup soy sauce 3 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced 2 tablespoons Oriental sesame oil 1-1/2 cups thin shreds green onions or leeks 1-1/2 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves 6 or 12 large eggs About 6 tablespoons salad oil Pickled garlic (recipe follows) Sesame buns (recipe follows)

Mix the lamb with soy, wine, ginger, pressed garlic, and oil. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to the next day. Place in 1 or 2 bowls. Arrange onions, cilantro, and eggs in separate containers. Pour salad oil into a small pitcher. Arrange the lamb, onion, cilantro, eggs, pickled garlic, and oil near the barbecue. Also set a pair of long cooking chopsticks or a spatula and potholders at the cooking station.

Set a griddle, 10- to 12-inch frying pan, paella pan, or wok on a grill 2 to 4 inches above a solid bed of hot coals (you should be able to hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds). If barbecue is wide enough, you can set 2 pans on the grill so 2 people can cook at the same time. When griddle or pan is hot, pour in about 1 tablespoon oil; spread over surface or tilt pan to coat bottom. …

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