Xinjiang Lamb and Chile Barbecue

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Xinjiang Lamb KebabsIn 1987, Robert Spiegel, Nancy Gerlach and I launched Chile Pepper magazine and began my lengthy quest to assemble the world's hot and spicy recipes.  In our third issue, we published an article that Nancy and I wrote, "Asia Heats Up."  The recipe is from Xinjiang Uygur Automomous Region, which is, after Sichuan and Hunan, the spiciest region in China. There, the ubiquitous kebabs are called 烤肉 (kăo ròu).


Lamb is rarely eaten in other parts of China, and in fact, the Mongolian tribes were the ones who introduced lamb to the rest of China. This simple barbecue goes well with a flat bread or sesame seed biscuits and a tossed salad. This recipe is adapted from one by Lynn Joiner, a PBS journalist who published it in Wok Talk, a newsletter for Asian food enthusiasts that was published in the 1980s. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.

1/4 cup hot chile oil
10 cherry tomatoes
1 small onion, cut in half and sectioned
6 large jalapeño chiles, seeds and stems removed, cut into large chunks
2 pounds lamb, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch sugar

 Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and marinate the lamb overnight in the refrigerator or for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature.

Thread the lamb on skewers, alternating with the jalapenos, tomatoes, and onions and grill them over gas or charcoall, basting frequently with the reserved marinade until done.

Serve the lamb and chiles over rice, garnished with carved chile pepper flowers

Yield: 4 servings

Heat Scale: Hot, if you eat all the jalapeños

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