Re: The Lamb...Good for Eating
First thanks to Pastor Tom for bringing up an interesting topic. This list needs a little lightening up sometimes.
Jeff, I can see that your "sheep's ass" comment is catching on like wild fire and quickly becoming the most quoted line on Paperlate. I must agree that it was nothing short of a stroke of genius.
However I am not sure I'd agree with you that traditional English roast lamb is the best of all? You see, the mere mention of the word "lamb" instantly conjures up the image of the incomparable Mongolian Hot Pot in my mind. While it is acceptable to use beef or pork or even chicken for hot pots, make no mistake the lamb is by far the best for this purpose.
Thanks to my parents I've been a fan of this famous Northern Chinese dish since childhood. I can't remember how many new clay pots we had to buy after the old one had cracked from the heat, nor can I tell you the number of times we suffered considerable smoke inhalation while cooking. But these were small prices to pay when you consider the sheer pleasure that can be derived from this culinary delight. After we came to the States we switched to the electric pot which solved both of the above problems as well as sped up the cooking process (it could take only 20 mins in experienced hands). We also modified the original recipe by adding a generous amount of sea food to the soup base. Although I never could help much with cooking, when it comes to serving time I'm not the least bit shy. I'm always the first to plunge a slice of lamb into the boiling water. Seconds later I would dip it into sauce and rapidly transfer it into my mouth. The key word is "rapid" here. This may seem peculiar to Westerners., but to me a major part of the overall taste is dependent on the temperature of the food, and let's just say I like it HOT. Therefore blowing on the meat first or waiting for it to cool are completely out of the question. Comes to think of it I usually begin to feel the effects of some thermal injury to my upper palate a day later, so consider yourselves warned. The dipping sauce is critical as well, we usually use a mix of soy sauce and vinegar plus chive flower paste, sweet bean paste or chili bean paste depending on individual preferences. The second you put the meat into your mouth, you will realize that all the preparations and waiting were well worth it. For me at least it feels as if all my taste buds begin to collectively scream in ecstasy. Words are inadequate in this case, all I can say is that my mouth is watering up as I'm typing this.
I found a recipe on the Internet that is close enough to what we do at home:
Mongolian Hot Pot - paper thin lamb with dipping sauce
3 lb Boneless lean lamb
4 oz Bean thread noodles
1/2 lb Spinach
1/2 lb Chinese cabbage
1 qt Chicken stock
1 t Finely chopped ginger root
2 tb Finely chopped scallions
1 t Minced garlic
1 tb Finely chopped cilantro
2 tb Sesame paste
1 tb Light soy sauce
1 tb Rice wine or dry sherry
2 ts Chili bean sauce
1 tb Sugar
1 tb Hot water
Using a cleaver or sharp knife, slice the lamb into very thin slices. Soak the noodles in warm water for 5 minutes, then drain them and cut them into 5-inch lengths. Separate the spinach leaves from the stalks and wash them well. Discard the stalks. Cut the Chinese cabbage into 3-inch pieces. Combine all the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl and mix them well. Each guest should have his or her own small portion of dipping sauce and a plate containing lamb, spinach and Chinese cabbage. When you are ready to begin, bring the stock to a boil and light the fondue. Ladle the stock into the fondue pot and put the ginger, scallions, garlic and coriander into the stock. Each person selects a piece of food and cooks it quickly in the pot. When all the meat and vegetables have been eaten, add the noodles to the pot, let them heat through, then ladle the soup into soup bowls. This dish also works successfully with other foods such as steak, fish balls, oysters, shrimp, squid, mushrooms and lettuce, although it will no longer be a Mongolian Hot Pot, but more like the Cantonese Chrysanthemum Pot.
P.S., this actually reminds me of a Genesis-related question (are you surprised?): What is the significance of the scrambled eggs line at the end of Aisle of Plenty?