Of all the cuisines of Asia, Uyghur food may be among the least known in the West. Spicy, hearty and delicious, it originated in China's Xingjian province (formerly East Turkistan) and is a fusion of East Asian techniques and ingredients with a significant Turkish influence. Core dishes include kebabs, naan-type breads and filled pastries. Uyghurs are moderate Sufi Muslims so they don't eat pork and the food is halal.
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Inspired by the fusion of flavours in Uyghur cooking, I have put together a multi-source Asian menu featuring a range of tastes and culinary techniques.
Essentially noodles with vegetables and lamb, lagman originates in Turkistan. Use a lamb sirloin chop cut off the leg for the best results; you can also use thinly sliced beef or chicken. To serve, either mix the noodles in with the meat and sauce or pour the dish over noodles. Add seasonal vegetables you prefer.
2 heaped tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup beef stock or water
1 star anise, broken up
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 ounces (375 grams) thinly sliced lamb
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 cup sliced onion
½ red pepper, sliced
1 mild green banana pepper, sliced
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
2 cups diced tomato
3 cups sliced Napa cabbage
12 ounces (375 grams) udon noodles
¼ cup coriander sprigs
Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl. Heat a wok over high heat until very hot. Add oil and gently swirl to coat. Season lamb with salt and pepper and add to pan along with garlic and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute or until beginning to brown. Add onion, red pepper, banana pepper and carrots and stir fry until vegetables soften (about 2 minutes). Add tomato and cabbage and stir fry for 2 minutes or until cabbage has wilted. Stir in sauce, bring to boil and boil for about 2 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add noodles and cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Drain and add to wok, stirring to combine with vegetables and sauce. Sprinkle with coriander sprigs.