I recently attended an Asian barbecue themed cooking class at Food I Am as part of Taste Riverina. With the upcoming festivities of Lunar New Year so close to Australia Day this year, I couldn’t think of a better recipe to share than these lamb cutlets, a BBQ must-have, with a twist — being the use of Chinese fermented red bean curd.
Fermented bean curd has a distinct funk to it that can be likened to blue cheese, which is why it’s often referred to as ‘Chinese cheese’. Made of dried tofu that is soaked in a brine of rice wine, vinegar, chilli peppers or sesame oil, a little can go a long way. The red version gets its hue from red yeast rice and the salty, deep flavours lend an amazing umami taste to whatever it touches. I grew up with fermented bean curd as a condiment to congee (rice porridge) or tossed through vegetables in a Buddha’s Delight dish. Fried chicken wings that have been marinated in nam yue (fermented red bean curd) was another dinner-table favourite that my Mum would cook up.
Lamb cutlets are pretty unbeatable as a protein on the BBQ and this marinade definitely takes it to another level. The tender earthiness of the eggplant relish can be used to spruce up anything.
- 16 lamb cutlets
- 3 tablespoons fermented red bean curd
- 1 tablespoon chilli bean sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and add the lamb cutlets, tossing well to coat with the marinade. Marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.
- Heat the barbecue to medium and grill the cutlets to medium rare, about 5 minutes or as preferred.
- Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the Eggplant Relish.
- 1 eggplant
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste or laksa paste
- 4 tablespoons white sugar
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- Small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- Cut the eggplant into 2cm slices and sprinkle with the salt. Set aside for 20 minutes.
- Pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel. Heat the oil in a large heavy based frying pan and cook the eggplant in batches until well browned and soft, transferring the cooked slices to a bowl.
- After all the eggplant has been cooked, lower the heat and fry the curry paste for a few minutes before adding the sugar and vinegar. Bring to the boil and cook until syrupy before adding the cooked eggplant slices.
- Stir the eggplant into the syrup along with the coriander leaves, breaking the eggplant up a little without turning it to mush. Transfer to a serving bowl.