[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Note: This dish works well with beef. Use a tasty, loose-textured cut like wall mount, flap meat, or flank, sliced very finely versus the grain.

Learn More: The Food Lab: Mongolian Stir-Fried Lamb with Cumin

  • Yield: serves 4
  • Active time:
    30 minutes
  • Total time: 30 minutes
  • Rated:


Active Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons entire sichuan peppercorn
  • 12 dried Chinese red chilis
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb leg (or beef, see note), trimmed of gristle, sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces, approximately 1-inch by 2-inches
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut pole to pole into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 stalks celery, ends and tops trimmed, chopped lengthwise into thirds and crosswise into 2-inch segments
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bunch cliantro, leaves and tender stems only


  1. 1.

    Heat cumin seed, peppercorns, and chilis in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, tossing constantly up until aromatic, about 2 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Transfer cumin and peppercorns into a medium bowl and include garlic. Mix with fingers. Include lamb and soy sauce and combine with hands up until thoroughly coated. Reserve.

  3. 3.

    Include lamb and cook, stirring and tossing constantly up until lightly charred on edges, about 1 minute. Push lamb up sides of wok and include onions and celery. Cook, stirring and tossing continuously until celery and onions are tender and charred and lamb has developed a mild crust, about 2 minutes longer.
  4. 4.

    To Cook On A Burner: When all set to prepare, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Include onion and celery and cook, stirring and tossing periodically till lightly charred and tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Heat 2 more tablespoon oil up until cigarette smoking. Add half of lamb and cook without moving for 1 minute. Continue cooking while stirring and tossing until lightly prepared however still pink in areas, about 1 minute. Transfer to a big bowl. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon of oil and staying lamb, including prepared lamb to same bowl. Return wok to high heat up until smoking cigarettes. Return vegetables and lamb to wok and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally until lamb develops a moderate crust, about 2 minutes longer. Include chilis and cook, tossing continuously, for thirty seconds. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to a plate and top with cilantro. Serve immediately.

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