Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chinese Style Slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder

In this modern fast-paced society, time is precious. There are so many things to accomplish with so little time. Everything and everyone is moving so very fast. As parents of 3 school-going kids, my wife and I have to balance our home, the kids, our offices and our personal lives, and at times we can be feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Therefore it is important that we find and pursue common passion to balance our lives and to spend time and have fun as a couple. When you are passionate about something, your energy intensifies. And when your energy is more focused, you are able to accomplish more with the same or lesser time. And we found our passions in food and wine. We both love to eat (who doesn’t). I love to cook, her passion is in baking and we both enjoy a glass or two of wine with our weekend meals or on weekday evenings after putting the kids to bed.

She spends most of her free time kneading dough, “feeding” the yeast, reading up on bread and cake recipes and techniques while I will be updating my recipe blogs and other social media platforms, conceptualizing my next private dinners and recipes, thinking what to cook on weekends for the family and friends.

This recipe is the result of one those “brainstorming” sessions. Back on the topic of having too little time, I was thinking how best to let my readers and their families have good quality home cooked weekend meals together without the need to spend too much time in the kitchen. Quick dishes like pasta and methods like sous vide came to mind but I was thinking of something more direct, hearty, warming and something special for weekends.

And so I came out with this slow-cooked lamb shoulder recipe. Wait, didn’t I just mention lesser time in kitchen? Why slow cooking then? Although slow cooking recipes usually have long cooking times, slow-cooked dishes require relatively short preparation times. After you are done with the initial preparation and cooking, you just leave them to simmer away. Slow moist cooking also yield tender and juicy results. In addition, cooking everything in one pot cuts down on cleaning and washing up. A great way to enjoy great-tasting meals with minimum amount of effort.

I have opted to use soy sauce and spices like cinnamon, cloves and cumin in this recipe to give the lamb shoulder an Asian flavor, similar to our soy braised pork. The idea is to have the “Pulled lamb” in thick gravy with steamed bun just like the Hokkien Kong Bak Bao. Enjoy!


1 boneless lamb shoulder (about 1 kg, in netting)
1 onion (peeled and sliced into 8 wedges)
10-12 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp cumin seed
1 tsp cracked peppercorn
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
800ml water
Black pepper
Olive oil
Corn starch


Preheat oven to 160C.

Clean and pat dry lamb shoulder. Rub shoulder with salt and black pepper.

Heat up olive oil a round cast-iron pot (24” would be ideal) and brown the lamb shoulder on all sides. Remove lamb and put aside.

In the same pot, add garlic, cloves, cumin seeds, cracked peppercorn, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Fry for 1-2 minutes, until frangrant. Add onion and continue to fry for another minute.

Add water, dark soy sauce and oyster sauce. Give it a good stir, return the lamb shoulder and bring to boil.

Cover the pot with the lid and cook in oven for 4 hours. (In between, turn the lamb shoulder over and continue cooking.)

Remove lamb from pot and sieve the braising liquid, discarding all the spices. Heat up sieved liquid and thicken with corn starch liquid .

Place whole lamb shoulder in a serving dish. Pour thickened gravy over, garnish with some green sprouts/coriander and serve immediately.

Lamb shoulder with the thick gravy could be served with steamed bun, rice, mash potato or bread. Pull the meat apart and enjoy.


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