Cumin Lamb

Serves 4

| Prep Time: 30 mins

| Cook Time: 10 mins

| Total Time: 40 mins

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

Discover The Recipe

Fragrant, powerful, and delicious. The aroma of Cumin Lamb transports you to China's largest province, Xinjiang. A land of extreme deserts and snow-capped mountains, it borders Central Asian countries including, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Russia.The most popular trade route of the ancient Silk Road traversed this region and it has a number of large ethnic groups that are reminders of tumultuous battles among neighbors over centuries to control the trade routes. This Cumin Lamb dish, while not traditionally Han Chinese, can be found in restaurants and food carts all over China. 

Cumin has a distinctive flavor with a nutty, spicy taste and a warm, penetrating aroma that will fill your kitchen when cooking. This recipe uses our whole and ground cumin seed blend with lamb for a perfect flavor combination. For those that like spicy heat, add fresh red chili peppers for an extra kick. Serve over white rice alongside your favorite vegetables.


  • Cumin Lamb Marinade:

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

  • 1 tsp canola (or another vegetable) oil

  • 2 Tbsp of Piquant Post Silk Road blend

  • 1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry (optional)

  • Cumin Lamb:

  • 1 pound lamb (shoulder preferred)

  • 2 Tbsp canola (or other vegetable) oil

  • handful (~1/4 cup) cilantro leaves and small stems, chopped

  • 2 green onions, sliced into 1 inch diagonals

  • 1-2 red chili peppers or jalapeños, sliced (optional, for heat)

  • 1/4 tsp sugar (optional)

  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)


Lamb shoulder is the preferred cut because it has a bit more marbling of fat to enhance the flavor of the dish. But you can use other cuts of lamb and/or trim fat as needed.

Cut the lamb into edible pieces. You'll want bite-sized pieces that you can eat in a mouthful (eat with some chopsticks?).

Smaller pieces also means more surface area to soak up the marinade.

Be sure to add the green onions and cilantro only after the meat has cooked. Otherwise they will wilt into oblivion and you will lose their flavor.

Serve over hot white rice. You can also pair with your favorite vegetables such as bok choy or spinach, and/or serve alongside steamed dumplings.

Canola oil is preferred since it has a higher smoke point than many oils. If you only have olive oil, instead heat the pan on med-high and watch it carefully so as not to smoke up your kitchen.

Optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don't sweat it if you don't have them.


Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Cut lamb into thumb-sized pieces (~1/2 inch by 2 inches) and add to bowl. Toss ingredients to coat and marinate for 20-60 mins. Put in fridge if marinating longer than 20 mins.

After meat has marinated, heat wok or pan on high with 2 tbsp of oil. When the oil just starts to smoke, add the meat to pan and cook until each side is nicely browned (or 3-4 minutes). The outside of the lamb should start to crisp, without burning.

Turn down the heat to Med. Add sugar, cilantro, and salt. Stir for 30 secs. Remove from heat and serve immediately with fresh rice and garnish with green onions.

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • Lamb is taste that we're very fond of, but not everyone shares our sentiment. If you're looking for a meat substitute for lamb, we recommend subbing beef in for the job. Try to pick a piece of beef that has some marbling of fat to fully capture the flavor of this dish.

  • Looking for plant-based recipes? Try the Silk Road blend to make: Spicy Tofu Steaks or Scallion and Corn Pancakes.

  • We recognize that Chinese rice wine is not sitting on everyone's shelf at home or even in most major supermarkets. Try ordering it online. We don't recommend substituting Japanese rice wine (Mirin) as it is very sweet and can overpower the other flavors. If you don't want to bother getting a dry sherry, leave out this ingredient entirely - the meal will still taste great!

  • For more delicious alternatives to use the Silk Road spice blend, try our Spicy Beef Lo Mein or Cumin Shrimp with Garlic Rice recipes.

  • Be sure to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.

  • Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!

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