Big juicy lamb nuggets marinated with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and curry powder before being coated in potato starch and fried till crisp.

I recently saw a list of food related words that people hate. The list contained a pretty comprehensive list of adjectives used to describe food, and towards the top, were words like “melt-in-your-mouth”, “unctuous” and “moist”. Yes, I’m guilty of using all three of these words. But in my defense, using less offensive adjectives would leave me describing a braised lamb shank as “a well hydrated segment of low-viscosity protein that’s high in lipids”… not exactly an appetizing description.

There is one adjective that I do feel should be banned (or at least have it’s use restricted) from the food lexicon and that word is: “authentic”. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the way the word sounds or it’s meaning. The thing that draws my ire is in how the word is used: as a yardstick for quality. How often have you heard of a sushi, Mexican, or {insert an ethnic food here} restaurant reviewed favorably (or unfavorably) because of how authentic it is (or isn’t)?

What’s worse, these charlatans usually have some distorted idea of what makes a dish authentic without having stepped foot in the regions of the world whose food they’re critiquing. Most countries (including the US) have regional variations that make it difficult for even a native to make the call, and that’s forgetting the fact that most dishes are a product of human migration across the continents.

Okay, I’m going to get off my soapbox, but before I do I have one request. Please stop equating authenticity with quality. There are lots of better measures out there like taste, texture, appearance and ultimately, whether you enjoyed it or not.

One of my favorite ways to come up with a new dish is to pick something out of my regular repertoire and replace most of the ingredients with similar ingredients from another region of the world. It’s not only a fun creative exercise, its one way to never have the same meal twice. The only rule I have is that the new dish needs to retain some of the soul of the original, otherwise it becomes a new dish.

So what happens when you take a Japanese favorite and give it a British twist, by way of India? Well, it might look something like this lamb karaage with mint sauce. Big juicy nuggets of tender lamb, infused to the core with the flavors of East and South Asia. Served with a fresh mint and cilantro sauce that will have your finger wandering around the map, trying to figure out where it’s from.

Curried Lamb KaraageBig juicy lamb nuggets marinated with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and curry powder before being coated in potato starch and fried till crisp.

Summary

  • CourseAppetizer
  • CuisineExperimental
  • Yield4 small
  • Cooking Time10 minutes
  • Preperation Time5 minutes
  • Total Time15 minutes

Ingredients

for lamb
500 grams
lamb loin (cut into 1-inch cubes)
14 grams
fresh ginger (1/2 inch piece of grated)
7 grams
garlic (1 large clove grated)
2 tablespoons
soy sauce
1 tablespoon
sake
2 teaspoons
granulated sugar
1 teaspoon
curry powder
for mint sauce
2 grams
mint
4 grams
cilantro
1/4 cup
rice vinegar
1 tablespoon
granulated sugar
for frying
1/3 cup
potato starch
vegetable oil

Steps

  1. Put the lamb in a bowl along with the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sake, sugar and curry powder. Stir well to combine, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or or preferably overnight.
  2. When you're ready to fry the lamb, add add 1-inch of vegetable oil to a heavy bottomed pot and preheat to 355 degrees F (180 C). Prepare a wire rack lined with a triple layer of paper towels.
  3. Make the mint sauce by adding the mint, cilantro, vinegar, and sugar to a blender or small food processor and puree (you can also use an immersion blender).
  4. When the oil is at the desired temperature, add the potato starch to a medium bowl and toss the lamb pieces in the potato starch to coat evenly. Carefully drop the lamb into the hot oil and fry in batches until golden brown, turning once to ensure the lamb browns evenly.
  5. Transfer the fried lamb to the prepared rack and serve immediately with the lamb sauce. If you plan to serve this as a canape, just skewer the lamb with decorative picks.