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Beijing Lamb Lollipop Chops

Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
1 hr 30 mins

Chef notes

Grilled lamb skewers are my favorite Beijing street food. Every time I have on it reminds me of some of my best childhood memories sneaking out with my best friend. We'd use our weekly lunch money to buy as many as lamb skewers and race to finish eating them before our moms came home. 

Special equipment: Spice or coffee grinder to grind the spice seeds and a sieve.

Technique tip: Make sure the grill pan or cast iron pan is really hot to sear the lamb. After cooking the lamb chops, let them rest a few minutes before serving. Cook the lamb chop to medium for a better texture and flavor.


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Beijing Spice Rub
  • 3 tablespoons cumin seed
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 3 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon chili flakes
  • 1 pound rack of lamb
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 sprigs thyme
Sesame Sauce
  • 1/2 cup tahini sesame paste
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon warm water
  • Salt, to taste
Finishing Salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Coarse sea salt (preferably Maldon)
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Make the spice rub:Toast each spice in a small sauté pan over high heat for about 2 minutes. When you can smell the spices in the air, they are ready. Grind them separately into powders with a spice or coffee grinder. Then sieve the spice powders and combine them together to make the Beijing spice rub.

Prepare the lamb:Clean the racks of lamb, keeping the fat caps on. Portion them into single chops, then season them generously with the Beijing spice rub (reserving 1 teaspoon) and store them in the refrigerator for 1 hour to let the flavors marinate.

Make the sesame sauce: Meanwhile, combine the tahini paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, warm water and 1 teaspoon of the spice mix in a bowl. Stir and adjust the seasoning with salt.

Toast the sesame salt:Heat up a small sauté pan over high heat. Put the sesame seeds and coarse sea salt in the pan and toss the pan to mix these 2 ingredients together while toasting, about 2 minutes.

Cook the lamb: 1. Season the spiced lamb chops with salt. Preheat a large (12 inch size) cast-iron pan over high heat. Add the canola oil and place the lamb chops in the skillet, searing all sides until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes.


When the lamb chops are finished searing, put the butter and thyme in the pan. Baste the lamb with the brown butter. When the internal temperature reaches 130 F, the lamb will be about medium. Rest the lamb chops for 5 minutes.


To plate, spread the sesame sauce on the bottom, arrange the lamb chops, garnish with finishing salt on top.

RELATED: TODAY recipes are now shoppable — and it makes ordering groceries online so easy