Tibetan Lamb Stew with Daikon is a fine introduction to Lhasa Moon, the Bay Area's only Tibetan restaurant. Versions of this dish are popular all over that arid, mountainous country. In fact many travelers carry this stew with them on their long arduous journeys.
But this version, interpreted by owner Tsering Wangmo, should be reserved for a special dinner at home because the preparation is more complicated. The stew is given an earthy zest with daikon, a giant radish, which takes on a soft juicy quality when cooked. The main flavorings come from ginger, caramelized onions, garlic, and Sichuan-style pepper. If you like, you can enjoy the dish as a simple stew, which gets even better after a night in the refrigerator. For company fare, the daikon and lamb are removed from the broth and sautéed with additional onion and tomatoes. Then just enough broth is added back to cover. The sauce is reduced and greens such as spinach are added to the mix.
The service can be slow at Lhasa Moon, but the attitude is warm and caring. The interior is simple and comfortable with a leaf-patterned carpet, dark green tablecloths, and windows overlooking Lombard Street. It adds up to a pleasant environment for exploring this rustic cuisine.
1 pound lamb shank
2 pounds daikon, cut into 2-inch-thick slices
1 large onion, quartered
3 inches fresh ginger, crushed
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 teaspoon ground emma or Sichuan pepper
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 to 1 bunch spinach fresh leaves, chopped
Place the lamb in a large casserole pan. Add the daikon, quartered onion, ginger, garlic, and emma. Add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the daikon is soft and translucent, about 1-1/2 hours. Season to taste with salt. Remove the lamb and the daikon from the liquid, reserving the liquid. Remove the lamb meat from the bone. Cut the lamb into 1-inch cubes. Cut daikon into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and stir to mix, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato. Add the reserved lamb and daikon, and enough cooking liquid to cover. Bring to a boil and reduce the broth slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the spinach. Cover and steam until the greens are just wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Secrets of Success:
The daikon. This peppery radish retains its shape and texture, adding a refreshing juiciness to the stew.
A second cooking. After being stewed, the lamb and daikon are sautéed with an additional onion to intensify the blend.
The Secrets of Success Cookbook
Signature Recipes and Insider Tips
from San Francisco's Best Restaurants
By Michael Bauer
Chronicle Books, 2000
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created August 2000
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