• For the lamb
    • 1 lb lamb leg, trimmed of gristle and sliced into 1/4" thick slices
    • ½ tsp baking soda
  • For the marinade
    • 3 tbsps cumin seeds
    • 2 tsps sichuan peppercorns
    • 12 dried Chinese chiles
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • For the stir fry
    • 5 tbsps neutral oil
    • 1 medium onion, cut pole-to-pole into 1/2" slices
    • 3 stalks celery, sliced lengthwise into thirds and crosswise into 2" segments
    • kosher (coarse) salt
    • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only


1. For the lamb: Place the lamb in a medium bowl, cover with cold water, and vigorously agitate it. Drain through a fine-mesh strainer set in the sink and press on the lamb with your hands to remove excess water. Return the lamb to the bowl, add the baking soda, and vigorously massage the baking soda into the meat, lifting the meat, throwing it down, and squeezing it for 30 to 60 seconds.
2. For the marinade: Heat the cumin seeds, peppercorns, and chiles in a large skillet over medium-high heat, tossing constantly until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle. Pick out the chiles and set them aside. Grind the cumin and peppercorns until roughly crushed but large pieces still remain. Add the garlic and smash until a rough paste is formed. Stir in the soy sauce and scrape the mixture into the bowl with the lamb. Roughly work the marinade into the meat for at least 30 seconds.
3. For the stir-fry: Heat a wok over high heat until lightly smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until lightly charred and tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
4. Wipe out the wok and return it to high heat until lightly smoking. Add 2 more tablespoons of the oil and swirl to coat. Add half of the lamb and cook without moving for 1 minute. Continue cooking while stirring and tossing until lightly cooked but still pink in spots, about 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl with the onions and celery. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the remaining lamb, adding the cooked lamb to the same bowl.
5. Return the wok to high heat until lightly smoking. Add the chiles and immediately return the cooked lamb and vegetables. Cook, stirring and tossing occasionally until the lamb develops a mild crust, about 2 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt. Add the cilantro and give it one final toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately with steamed rice.


Kenji Lopez-Alt


4 servings




Asian : East Asian : Szechuan



preparation times

• Active: 20 Minutes
• Total Time: 20 Minutes


- Wok