The extreme winter weather conditions in Mongolia mean that anyone living there needs a diet high in animal fat to keep warm. Mongolian cuisine is very high in protein.
Most meals are cooked outside over fires, which means speed is key in order for cooks to get out of the elements. Mongolia has a significant nomad population which survives mainly on a diet of domesticated animals and dairy products. While their living conditions may be harsh, Mongolian cuisine while limited in ingredients is still incredibly tasty.
Due to Mongolia's geographic location, it's cuisine is heavily influenced by Chinese and Russian recipes. The harsh climate means vegetables are scarcely used. Lamb is one of the most common ingredients in Mongolian cuisine. While meals often consist simply of meat there are recipes that call for vegetables as well. The scallions in this dish add a bit of a sweet oniony taste to this high in protein dish.
Even though the name implies this dish's country of origin many believe it's actually a Chinese recipe. While this recipe for Mongolian Lamb may have originated from China it still uses traditional Mongolian ingredients and their way of cooking. So while the recipe itself might not have originated in Mongolia it still keeps with the spirit of Mongolian cooking.
- 1 3/4 pounds boneless leg of lamb
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 5 teaspoons dark soy sauce
- 5 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 scallions (you can substitute spring onions if needed), cut into 3-inch lengths and then sliced into thin slivers
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- Cut the lamb into thin strips. Combine with the marinade ingredients. Marinate the lamb for 25 minutes.
- While the lamb is marinating, prepare the sauce and other ingredients.
- In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- Heat the wok over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds).
- Add the lamb. Stir-fry very briefly, until the lamb changes color (1 to 2 minutes).
- Add the sauce. Bring to a boil.
- Stir in the scallions. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.
- Stir-fry for 1 more minute, or until the sauce is absorbed.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and serve.