Cumin Lamb Noodles


Taste the place where the Silk Road meets China with these Xi’an-inspired Cumin Lamb Noodles.


Noodles 4 servings wheat noodles (preferably wide and flat)

Velveting Marinade

  • 450g (1lb) fatty lamb shoulder or chuck, thinly sliced

  • 1 tsp tapioca starch

  • 2 tbsp cumin (either ground or seeds)

  • 1 tbsp ground coriander

  • 1 tsp white pepper

  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine


  • 8 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 scallion whites, chopped

  • 1 red chili pepper, thinly sliced (de-seed if you prefer less spice)

  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced

  • 1-2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns


  • Cabbage leaves, cut into pieces

  • Handful of bean sprouts

  • Thinly sliced carrots


  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar

  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup chili oil (optional)


  • Herbs: Cilantro, chives, or scallion greens

  • Sesame seeds

  • Additional chili oil (optional)

Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (regular or Greek)

  • 1-2 tbsp sugar or sprinkle of stevia

  • 2 tbsp cucumber, minced

  • 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves

  • Paprika

  • Sprig of mint (optional)


  1. Velvet the lamb: Mix salt, tapioca starch, cumin, coriander, white pepper, and Shaoxing wine in a small bowl. Add the lamb slices and mix well to distribute the marinade. This coating, followed by the quick fry in step 4, will ensure the lamb turns out tender and juicy.

  2. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Add a touch of oil and mix well with your hands to prevent sticking.

  3. Place the Sichuan peppercorns in a microwave-safe bowl or plate and microwave on high for 10-20 seconds, until toasty and aromatic.

  4. Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and set it next to your cooktop. Heat a wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates instantly. Swirl in 4 tbsp of oil, add the lamb, and stir-fry until browned. Transfer the lamb into the strainer, draining the oil into the bowl below.

  5. Quickly rinse out the wok in the sink, scraping off any residue. Wipe dry and return the wok to high heat, allowing it to dry completely.

  6. Once the wok is sizzling hot again, add 2 tbsp of oil back in, followed by the garlic, scallion whites, sliced onion, red chili, and Sichuan peppercorns. Add additional oil if needed to prevent sticking. Stir-fry for a few minutes, until fragrant, then add the chopped cabbage, bean sprouts, and carrots and continue frying until softened.

  7. Return the lamb to the wok. Add the drained noodles, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili oil, and mix until well combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.

  8. Transfer to bowls, scatter with herbs, sesame oil, and an additional drizzle of chili oil if desired. Dig in!

Yogurt Sauce

  1. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, 1 tbsp sugar, cucumber, and chopped mint with a spoon. Taste for sweetness and add additional sugar, if desired.

  2. Top with a sprinkle of paprika and the sprig of mint for garnish. Serve cold.

This recipe was featured in the weekly menu of Issue #3 of the Journey East Zine alongside:

Grace Kwan © 2020