Xi’an lamb soup with pickled garlic

Xi’an lamb soup with pickled garlic

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen



Quantity Ingredient
1.8kg lamb bones
2kg lamb shoulder, on the bone
8 slices ginger, unpeeled
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 star anise
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 teaspoons sichuan peppercorns
2 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 piece cassia bark
2 black cardamom
125ml clear rice wine


Quantity Ingredient
12 dried wood ear fungus
20g dried lily buds
100g bean thread vermicelli
6 Mantou, 2 days old
60ml vegetable oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon clear rice wine
1 1/2 tablespoons black rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 spring onions, finely sliced
Fresh chilli paste, to serve
Pickled garlic, to serve


  1. To make the stock, put the lamb bones in a large stockpot, then add the shoulder and the remaining stock ingredients. Add 5 litres water or enough to just cover the shoulder. Bring to a simmer, skimming off­ any fat, and weighting the shoulder down with an inverted plate and a heavy pan. Cook for 3 hours over a low heat, or until the meat is nearly falling o­ff the bone. Remove the shoulder from the pot and cool slightly, then remove the meat in large pieces. Return the bones to the pot and cook the stock for another 3–4 hours. Skim the stock, then strain it through a colander lined with muslin (cheesecloth), discarding the solids. Let the stock settle, then skim off­ any fat. The stock can be made up to 2 days in advance. If making it in advance, cool to room temperature, then transfer to a container and refrigerate.
  2. Cut the lamb into thin slices. Place in a large frying pan with 500 ml of the stock, bring to a simmer, then cover and keep hot over a low heat.
  3. To make the soup, put the wood ear fungus and lily buds in separate heatproof bowls, cover each with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes, then drain. Tear each wood ear into three or four pieces. Cut any hard tips off­ the lily buds and discard. Place the vermicelli noodles in a large heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 5 minutes, or until softened, then drain. Tear or cut the buns into small pieces.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a stockpot over a medium heat, then add the wood ears, lily buds and noodles and stir to combine well. Add the remaining stock, the soy sauce, rice wine, vinegar and sesame oil and bring to a simmer. Stir in the bread pieces and strain the stock from the lamb slices into the soup. Divide the soup among large bowls, then arrange the lamb slices neatly on top. Scatter over the spring onions and spoon over some chilli paste. Serve with the pickled garlic on the side.
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