07 July 2017

Pan-fried Lemongrass Pure South Lamb Chop

I used to prefer beef over lamb, but recent years started to take a liking to lamb after eating an unforgettable spit roast lamb in a Farmer's Market in Australia as well as some home-grilled lamb cutlets.

That said, my knowledge of lamb is still very little and I only eat lamb at home once in a blue moon. And times when I do cook it, I'll get lamb cutlets with just salt and pepper on grill pan and eaten with mint sauce.

When I was approached by Singapore Home Cooks to participate in the Pure South Campaign to come up with a dish for their lamb rack, I was hesitant because I'm unsure of how to handle a whole lamb rack. I'm so glad that I accepted the challenge, otherwise I might never have the courage to buy a lamb rack on my own and lose the opportunity to taste such excellent quality lamb!

So I learnt that Pure South lamb is from New Zealand, 100% grass-fed and free range, hence leaner and juicier. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and beta-carotene and as little as 140 calories per serving. Woohoo, bring on more lamb please!

The lamb rack is the most tender part of the lamb and Pure South's lamb rack is already frenched meaning the meat at the rib part is removed exposing the rib bones. Personally I feel that this makes it easier to cut and cook, and definitely more presentable (yep, I'm kind of intimated by a whole rack of lamb if it weren't frenched).

Since I've always done Western-style lamb chops on grill, decided to go for Asian-style this time using one of my favourite ingredient, lemongrass to create a marinate paste along with garlic, shallot and seasonings like Gula Melaka, fish sauce, light soy sauce and sesame oil.

As for cooking method, I opted for a simple method which is quick and easy for home cooks, that is to cut the lamb rack into individual lamb chops, marinate and then pan-fried.

Each pack of Pure South Frenched Lamb Rack comes frozen and in twos, weighing between 800g-1.1kg, meaning each rack is about 400-550g.

To maintain the quality of the meat, it's highly recommended to thaw the frozen meat in the fridge. After thawing the meat (overnight for me), I cut the rack into 7 lamb chops using a sharp knife. It's 8 portions actually, the last rib was too thick so I sliced off a small portion and used it to do "test-cook" before pan-frying the rest :p Thereafter, just marinate the lamb chops with the blended marinate paste for 2-3hrs, then pan-fry for less than a minute each side :)

Pan-fried Lemongrass Lamb Chop

  • 1 Pure South lamb rack (about 450g)
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, chopped (bottom 1/3 of the stalk, remove root and outer 2-3 layers)
  • 5 tbsp Gula Melaka
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 5 cloves shallot
  1. Cut rack of lamb into individual lamb chops (7 pieces).
  2. Place chopped lemongrass, gula melaka, fish sauce, light soy sauce, sesame oil, water, salt, garlic and shallot into a food processor or electric chopper and blend the ingredients into a wet paste.
  3. Marinate the lamb chops with the lemongrass paste for 2-3 hrs.
  4. Scrap off most of the lemongrass paste from the lamb chops, reserve the paste.
  5. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to frying pan, heat the pan till smoking hot, and pan fry the lamb chops for 45s to 1 min each side (depends on desired doneness), until the chops get a slight char.
  6. Transfer the chops to a plate and let them sit for about 5 mins.
  7. Using the same frying pan, add the lemongrass paste and any meat juice from the lamb chops and bring the sauce to boil.
  8. Transfer lamb chops to serving plate and drizzle with some lemongrass sauce. Enjoy!

Typically lamb chops are served with salads or grilled vegetables and baked or mashed potato.

But to echo the Asian-flavours, I served the dish with lemongrass-pandan-ginger infused jasmine rice and lemongrass-infused pickled vegetables.

Lemongrass-Pandan-Ginger-infused Rice

  • ¾ cup Jasmine white rice
  • ¼ cup Jasmine brown rice
  • 300ml bone broth/chicken stock
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, smashed (bottom 1/3 of the stalk, remove root and outer 2-3 layers)
  • 1 thumb young ginger, grated
  • 2 small pandan leaves, knotted (trim bottom whitish part)
  1. In a pot, add broth, lemongrass and grated ginger (with juice). Bring the broth to boil.
  2. Let the mixture cool down and sieve. Reserve the lemongrass. (Not necessary to sieve if wish to have stronger ginger taste).
  3. Rinse and drain the rice. Add rice, broth, lemongrass and pandan leaves to rice cooker.
  4. After rice is cooked, let it sit for 5 mins, remove lemongrass and pandan leaves and fluff up the rice.
  5. Best serve hot.

Lemongrass-infused Pickled Vegetables

  • 500ml water
  • 5 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 stalks lemongrass, smashed (remaining 2/3 from the lamb chops and rice, remove root and outer 2-3 layers)
  • 3 shallots
  • 2 chili padi
  • 1 carrot, cubed and julienned
  • 1 cucumber, cubed and julienned
  1. In a pot, add water, honey, vinegar and salt. Bring to boil till honey is fully melted.
  2. Add lemongrass, shallots and chili padi and let the liquid cool down completely.
  3. Add the carrot and cucumber to the pickling liquid and let the vegetables infuse for at least 1 hour.
  4. Transfer to glass jar and store the pickles in fridge, for up to 1 week.

I love love love how the lamb chops turned out! Thanks to the superb quality of Pure South's lamb, the meat was so juicy and tender! This was by far the most tender lamb meat I've ever eaten; and there wasn't even any gamey smell at all (unlike the lamb I've eaten in the past). Oh, what have I been missing out!
The lemongrass sauce went really well with the tender, juicy meat. Besides the amazing aroma, I can taste the part citrus, part minty, part gingery flavours, along with sweetness from gula melaka, as well as the umami savoury hint from fish sauce.

The jasmine rice which was cooked with a lemongrass-pandan-ginger infusion together with bone broth tasted so fragrant and yummy too! Perfect with the lamb chops as well as the lemongrass sauce!

The lemongrass-infused pickled vegetables provided a tinge of sweet, salty, sourish, spiciness as well as crunchy texture, and helped to refresh the palate, definitely an essential accompaniment to the dish! 

Once again, I felt so blessed to be able to enjoy such great quality lamb from Pure South. Really appreciate Singapore Home Cooks and Pure South for the opportunity.

Pure South Asia has recently launched their website and open for orders. From now till 31 July, use promo code FARMFRESH2U to get 10% off your first purchase!

Website: https://puresouth.asia/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PureSouthAsia/

I've already bought more lamb racks to share with friends. Go try too!

#puresouth #newzealand #grassfed #freerange #singaporehomecooks

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