Grilled Layered Lamb Pastries
Grilled Layered Lamb Pastries, also known as Khuushuur, are served throughout Inner Mongolia, Northern China, and the Northwest. Very common in Beijing, it can be made with either beef or lamb depending on your preference. While there are numerous regional variations of the recipe, we've decided that this particular recipe from Carolyn Phillips cookbook, All Under Heaven is our favorite.
- 1 pound ground lamb or beef (15 percent fat)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons peeled and finely minced fresh ginger
- 2 green onions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon pink salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 cup Chinese flour*, plus more for dusting
- 6 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cool water
- 2 parts unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 part unbleached pastry flour
- The day before you make the pastries, combine all of the filling ingredients except the garlic, place in a covered container, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Just before filling the pastries, stir in the garlic. Divide the filling into 8 even lumps, as each of the 4 pastries will require 2 portions of meat.
- To make the wrappers, place the flour in a small work bowl and use chopsticks to stir in the boiling water until large flakes form. Then mix in just enough of the cool water to form a soft dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured smooth surface until it is supple and soft as an earlobe. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20-30 minutes, then divide it into 4 equal pieces.
- To fill the wrappers: Working one piece of dough at a time, roll out the dough on a lightly floured smooth surface into a thin 10-inch square. Spread 1/8 of the filling evenly over the lower half of the square, keeping the edges clean so they can be sealed later. Fold the top half over the filling and lightly pinch the open sides closed. Spread another 1/8 of the filling evenly over the right half of the pastry, keeping all edges clean. Fold the left half over the right like a book. Firmly crisp the edges closed to seal in the juices. Repeat with the rest of the dough until you have 4 filled pastries.
- The pastries can be either immediately cooked or frozen at this point. To freeze them, put them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap; as soon as they have frozen solid, pack them in a resealable freezer bag. The frozen pastries can either be defrosted first or fried while still frozen. If you opt for the latter, cook over medium-low heat so the filling has time to cook through.
- To cook the pastries, heat a flat seasoned frying pan over medium heat and then film it with a tablespoon or two of oil. Lay as many pastries in the pan as you wish, being careful they do not touch one another, and cover the pan. Gently fry the pastries until they are golden brown on the first side and then flip them over and fry the other side. Remove the cover for the final few minutes of frying so that the pastries crisp up on the outside. Cut into pieces if you like and serve as is or with black vinegar or chili oil for dipping.
Source: All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China by Carolyn Phillips