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Braised Lamb with Chinese Flavors

By Judith Hausman, Urban Farm contributor

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013


Photo by Judith Hausman

Pair some lamb with some seasonal turnips.

 My local lamb share won’t be here until just before Christmas, but cool weather and a stash of dense yet mild Japanese turnips put me in mind of braised meats and warm Asian flavors. The recipe I chose was originally for short ribs and daikon but worked perfectly with the turnips and a deboned, grass-fed, New Zealand leg of lamb I had.

If this seems a big undertaking, divide the dish into two steps. Braise the meat first and then refrigerate it, keeping the reserved marinade refrigerated separately. Then, a half hour or so before serving, reduce the marinade and cooking juices, add the cubed meat and simmer. While that happens, sauté the turnips (or daikon); they cook quickly. Even leftover roast lamb, beef or chicken can be gently re-heated in a reduction of this marinade.

The orange segments and green sprigs of cilantro (or parsley) and scallions brighten the look and the flavor of the dish, which I served with green salad and brown rice.

Servings: 4 to 6


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or other sweet wine
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • zest of 1/2 an orange, minced (reserve the orange slices for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 medium-sized, medium-hot dried chilies, cut into strips with seeds removed


  • 2 pounds lamb, cut from leg or shoulder into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 large Japanese white turnips, sliced (or substitute 1 pound daikon radish, sliced)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • scallions, chopped roughly, to garnish
  • cilantro, chopped roughly, to garnish


In a large bowl, mix the marinade ingredients and marinate the meat in the mix for 15 minutes to 1 hour. 

In a large sauté pan or wok, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil. Stir-fry and brown the marinated meat, reserving the marinade. Add 2 cups water, cover and simmer gently until the lamb is tender, about 40 minutes for leg meat and 1 hour or more for shoulder meat. Remove the meat, add the reserved marinade to any cooking liquids and reduce over high heat until thickened somewhat. Return the meat to the pan, and turn to coat. 

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of canola oil and sesame oil and gently stir-fry the daikon until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the daikon on a serving platter, top with the lamb and garnish with orange slices, chopped scallions and cilantro.


You might also enjoy these Locavore Recipes:

Caponata Siciliana

Awful Offal

Read more of Locavore Recipes »

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About the Blogger

Judith Hausman

Judith Hausman
As a long-time freelance food writer, Judith Hausman has written about every aspect of food, but local producers and artisanal traditions remain closest to her heart. Eating close to home takes this seasonal eater through a journey of delights and dilemmas, one tiny deck garden, farmers’ market discovery and easy-as-pie recipe at a time. She writes from a still-bucolic but ever-more-suburban town in the New York City 'burbs.

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