Excerpted from The Splendid Table's® How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories, and Opinions from Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Show by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2008). Copyright © 2008 by American Public Media.
Tender lamb, sweet and savory hoisin sauce, crunchy water chestnuts and fresh snow peas — all give you a fast supper that's far beyond the usual takeout. Lamb is one of the hallmarks of northern Chinese cooking, especially Mongolian. It is logical when you think of the vast steppes of the region where sheep and goats thrive where little else will.
This recipe speaks of the new China, where regions sometimes fuse. Here Mongolia's lamb and southern China's beloved hoisin sauce meet with the Cantonese stir-fry.
Cook to Cook: You can substitute chicken or beef for the lamb in this recipe.
20 minutes prep time; 6 minutes stove time
Serve and eat immediately
1. Measure out, cut, and group together each section's Main Ingredients In a bowl, toss the lamb with its seasonings, including the cornstarch and wine, so it is thoroughly coated. Have the ginger and garlic ready to go into the wok, and have the onion, water chestnuts, and snow peas piled on a piece of paper towel, ready to go. In a small bowl, blend the sauce ingredients together. With this lineup, the stir-fry will easily come together in a few minutes.
2. Set a 14- to 16-inch wok or straight-sided 12-inch sauté pan over high heat. When it is hot, swirl in 1-1/2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Add the lamb and stir-fry for 90 seconds. Spread the lamb out as you cook it, so all its sides sear. Immediately remove the lamb to a clean bowl. Wipe out the work with a thick wad of paper towels.
3. Heat the wok again over high heat. Swirl in the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons oil. Stir in the ginger and the garlic, and stir-fry until fragrant (maybe 5 seconds), sprinkling with the salt. Immediately add the vegetables. Stir-fry for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the sauce mixture, and continue stir-frying for another 90 seconds.
4. Turn the lamb into the wok, and stir-fry for about 10 seconds to heat it through. Stir in the cashews, and turn the mixture into a serving bowl. Serve immediately.
Andrea Reusing is the creator of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of the book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. In this installment of The Key 3, she shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper the techniques behind three of her favorite recipes: Turnip Soup, Overnight Braised Short Ribs and Tomato Salad.