A Rack of Lamb with Vietnamese Curry Flavor- Cừu Nướng Cà Ri

Vietnamese food

I create this recipe because we like a braised curry lamb dish at a local Japanese restaurant and want to use a rack of lamb for a fancy dinner feast. US lamb has milder flavor than imported lamb.
Vietnamese curry powder can be found at oriental stores and it has a very long shelf life in an airtight container.  Lemon grass is sold in a bundle of two-three stalks and they can be frozen well in an airtight container.

1 rack of lamb (4 bones) about 1⅓ lbs for 2-4 servings depending on appetites.
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp coarsely cracked black pepper.
2 Tbs olive oil
1 shallot, minced
5 garlic cloves, divided : 2 smashed, 3 minced
1 stalk of lemongrass, white tender part only, finely minced
1 Tbs Vietnamese curry powder
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbs fish sauce
1/4 cup canned coconut milk plus extra if needed
Baby arugula, Cala orange and soy vinaigrette  to serve

  1. Take the lamb out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before starting to cook.
  2. Wash and pat dry the rack of lamb  with paper towels.  Lightly score the fat side- making “Xs” at 1/2 inch intervals with a paring/chef knife.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  3. Trim the stem end of lemongrass.  Peel 1 or 2 outer layers if any brown spots presented.  Cut about 3 inch length from the stem end. Save and freeze the top for another use. Then use a sharp peeler or chef knife to slice across the stem into thin round slices.  Chop the slices really fine with a knife or a food processor. Peel and chop shallot, garlic.
  4. Heating 1 Tbs of oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat.  Add minced shallot, garlic and lemongrass, stir until light brown and fragrant. Add curry powder, make a few quick stir.  Then add coconut milk, sugar and fish sauce.  Bring it to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium or medium low and cook a few minutes to form a thick paste like dijon mustard. Set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 oF with a rack  at lower third so that the rack of lamb will be at center position.
  6. Heating 1 Tbs of oil and smashed garlic cloves in a oven proof  large  skillet (large enough to hold the lamb) over medium high heat.  When the garlic is brown, remove and discard them.  Then add the lamb’s fat side down first until good brown color.  Turn and sear other sides (about 2 minutes each side).  Brown the meat well is needed to bring out the flavor. Remove from heat.  Turn the bone side down in the skillet.  Schmear all curry paste on the lamb.  Roast until a thermometer inserted in the center registers 130 oF  about 35-45 minutes for medium rare.
  7. Transfer to a cutting board.  Tent loosely with a foil or cover with a heatproof bowl for 10 minutes, the roast temp will reach 150 oF.  Cut in chops and serve.

Baby Arugula, Cala orange and Soy vinaigrette

5 oz baby Arugula
1-2 Cala orange, peeled and segmented
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs white vinegar or lemon/lime juice
2 tsp sugar
1  shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely minced or crushed
  • Mix all ingredient well together in a small bowl except baby arugula and orange. 
  • Toss baby arugula with dressing right before serving.  Arrange orange segment on the top.

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