© Constantine William Spyrou
Over this past summer, I got the opportunity to travel to Minnesota and visit the Mall of America. While there, I discovered an amazing food store chain called Vom Fass*. With several locations across the nation, this food store specializes in oils, spices, herbs, spreads, vinegars, and spirits! They have the basics, but they also carry specialized products and ones that are hard to find. You can choose how much of a product you want in increments and purchase that way so that you can get a ton of these options without breaking your budget. It's a great deal!
I purchased 4 different ingredients for personal use while at the store: Authentic Modena Balsamic Vinegar, Black Cumin Infused Olive oil, Ras el Hanout (a Moroccan spice blend), and pink peppercorns that work great as a way to spice up your desserts with their fruity but peppery punch. I haven't gotten the chance to use all of the yet, but I did make a dish today utilizing the black cumin oil. It is strong in cumin flavor, so it punches through and lifts the dish to a whole new level!
The dish I chose to make was inspired by a Chinese dish, but is Mexican in nature. Southern China has a popular lamb dish that is stir-fried with cumin and green onion. Instead, I stir-fried my lamb with black cumin oil, smoked paprika, and some other spices that gave it a more spicy, smoky, and savory punch! With a good balance of the spices to counteract, and an aromatic punch of mint in the lamb and the rice, it has all of the complexity that a tasty lamb dish should have!
Recipe serves up to 2 people.
1 cup cooked and seasoned Jasmine Rice (or any kind of rice you have) (to make it sticky, simply add a 3/2 ratio of water to rice and a touch of oil and steam for 40-45 minutes)
8 ounces lamb flank steak, cut into small strips
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp dried cumin
2 tsp black cumin olive oil
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup mint leaves, left whole
Salt and Pepper to season
1. Season the lamb strips and set aside, uncooked.
2. Add your olive oil to a pan on medium heat. When it starts to smoke, add in the onion and garlic. Lightly season.
3. Add in your cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, and oregano, and saute the onions for about 2 minutes.
4. Turn the gas up to medium high, and add in the strips of lamb. Cook until the lamb is colored nicely, about 3-4 minutes.
5. Deglaze the pan with lemon juice, then slightly pick at a small amount of the mint leaves to get large pieces into the pan. Toss for 30 seconds, then take off of the heat. Drizzle with the black cumin olive oil, then stir.
6. In the center of a plate, place your rice and line with the remainder of your mint leaves. Surround with the stir-fried lamb, and drizzle the deglazed sauce made from the lemon juice over it. Also pour some on top of the rice, and serve!
This dish has a ton of different aromatics contributing to it that give the perfect balance. Smoky hints are coming from the smoked paprika, while heat comes in from the cayenne. However, this is balanced out by the acidity of the lemon juice, the warmth of the cumin in two different forms, and the fragrance of the mint as it helps to refresh the palate, allowing you to get the same sensation with every single bite!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =)
*Recipe not endorsed in anyway by Vom Fass, but check them out anyways cause they're awesome.