For the past few days, waking up has been more difficult than usual with winter creeping up on us, and I think back about my most fond food memories. My ultimate favourite winter dish is my papa’s Sauteed sliced Lamb and Chinese Spinach in Chinese BBQ Sauce with rice dish. When my papa used to make it, this belly-warming BBQ lamb and Chinese spinach swallows the whole house in its heavenly fragrant scent of fried shallots (which comes from the Chinese BBQ sauce).
Bull Head Chinese BBQ sauce 沙茶酱 (sacha jiang), also known as Chinese Satay, is one of the top ingredients to have in your kitchen if you’re mad about cooking Chinese or Taiwanese cooking. This savoury and thick BBQ sauce contains ingredients like soybean oil, garlic, spice, shallots, sesame, coconuts powder, dried shrimp and chilli powder. This unique flavour is often mixed with soya sauce to make a marinade or sauce. Just the other night, I had oolong noodles with soya and Chinese BBQ sauce. There are a few options you can buy including original, spicy and vegetarian, and in South Africa I’ve seen the original and vegetarian.
For this dish, you’ll need this sauce and Chinese spinach or hollow stemmed vegetable – kong xin tsai (空心菜) (which you can buy from most Chinese supermarkets). You can also order this dish in most Chinese and Taiwanese restaurants.
Marinade and refrigerate for 2 hours
- 1/2 kg lamb (less fatty)
- 2.5 Tbsp soya sauce
- 3 tsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1/2 Cup oil (only add after refrigeration)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 chilli*
- 250g of Chinese/Water spinach
- 1 Tbsp sunflower/canola oil
- 125 ml Bull Head Chinese BBQ sauce
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 2 Tsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp Maizena (corn flour)
- 2 Cups water
- Slice the lamb into small thin slices and marinade in the fridge for 30 minutes. (my papa usually leaves it in for 2-3 hours, the longer the time, the more tender the meat)
- Prep the vegetable by washing and chopping it into thumb length pieces.
- Add 1/2 Cup of oil to the marinaded lamb after refrigeration (this helps separate the lamb slices once cooked)
- Heat the 1 Tbsp of oil in a large frying pan on high heat.
- Add and fry the garlic until lightly browned, then add the marinaded lamb and stir-fry for 2 minutes. *You can also add the chilli.
- Add the chopped vegetables and Bull Head Chinese BBQ sauce and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
- Mix cool water and Maizena together in a container, then pour the milky combination into the stew.
- Let it boil for a minute or two until it thickens.
Serve with rice, or in a Toasted Coffin Loaf.