Chinese char siu lamb cutlets recipe

CHINESE-style meats are delicious; marinated in a variety of ingredients, they are fabulous sliced thinly and added to fried rice, stirred through a noodle stir-fry, or, in the case of char siu lamb or pork, they are great as a main course.

I would hesitate to attempt something as exotic as the wonderfully glossy Peking ducks with their lacquered crunchy skin one sees hanging in the windows of food stores in Chinatowns, but some other recipes are easily achievable in the home kitchen.

This easy dish works well with lamb or pork. The days when pork needed to be well cooked are gone; it's safe to serve pink in the middle. 

Lamb should never be served any other way from the barbecue.

There is quite a bit of sugar in the marinade. You want the meat to be caramelised, not cremated.

Char siu lamb cutlets


3 tbs hoisin sauce  

2 tbs plum sauce  

2 tbs light soy sauce  

2 tbs sugar  

1 tbs rice wine or dry sherry  

1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder  

12 lamb cutlets, trimmed.


Combine all ingredients except the lamb in a non-reactive dish (glass or ceramic). Mix well until sugar dissolves.

Add the lamb cutlets and turn to coat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight, turning occasionally.

Heat grill or barbecue until hot. Grill for two-three minutes each side; the sugars in the marinade will caramelise a little, but do not allow to burn.

While meat is cooking, pour marinade into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook until reduced and syrupy.

Serve lamb with the cooked marinade as a dipping sauce. Serves 4.

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