Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Ethnic Auckland: Spicy lamb feet a delicacy that melts in mouth

Silk Road Uyghur Cuisine chef Rizaydn Reyim with his dish, spicy lamb feet. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Silk Road Uyghur Cuisine chef Rizaydn Reyim with his dish, spicy lamb feet. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Camel meat and horse milk are considered to be among the delicacies in the part of the world where Rizaydn Reyim comes from, and lamb trotters rank among the favourites.

Mr Reyim, 31, is a Uyghur (pronounced "weega" or "weecour"). He hails from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, and he is eager to share his food with those in his adopted homeland.

"Not many Kiwis will ever get a chance to travel to Xinjiang, so by starting a restaurant serving Uyghur food I think it will be the only way they will get a chance to experience our food," Mr Reyim said.

Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group whose cuisine is characterised mainly by lamb, beef, camel, goose, carrot, tomatoes, onions, pepper and various dairy food and fruits.

They are mainly Muslim and the food is predominantly halal.

"There is no seafood, and all the vegetable and meat we get are from what we farm and grow," Mr Reyim said. "So we know very well how not to waste any part of the animal, and eat everything from the lungs, tail and even eyes."

Mr Reyim said lamb trotters, with their gelatinous textures, were a favourite because Uyghur men believed them to be an aphrodisiac and the women believe eating them helps beautify their skin.

In Xinjiang, speciality "lamb feet restaurants" have sprouted in recent years because of the food's growing popularity.

"Lamb feet don't really have too much meat, but the best part is eating the tendons and sucking the bone marrow," said Mr Reyim.

"It is also the tendons and tissue around the leg that also naturally adds to the flavour and thicken the sauce."

The spice in the koy pachak kormisy dish comes mainly from the cloves, which are considered to have anti-oxidant properties and other health benefits.

Mr Reyim said the meal was best accompanied with an Uyghur-style milk tea, which is flavoured with salt instead of sugar.

Lamb trotters are available at the butchery section of Asian supermarkets such as Tai Ping.

Koy pachak kormisy

Ingredients

• 8 lamb feet, cut into pieces

• 1 onion, chopped

• 4 cloves of garlic, chopped

• 1 tsp salt

• 1 tsp pepper

• 1 each red and green capsicum

• 1 tsp dried cloves

• 1/2 cup tomato paste

• 1 Tbsp soya sauce

• Vegetable cooking oil

Method

• Wash and clean the feet carefully and discard hooves, then immerse the feet in water.

• Put the feet in a deep pressure cooker with some salt, pepper and oil.

• Cook for 1 hours with medium pressure, remove and leave to cool.

• Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a separate wok and add the feet.

• Add chopped garlic, cloves and onions and fry together with the feet for about 2 minutes.

• Add half cup of lamb broth (from the pressure cooker), soya sauce, tomato paste and fry for a further 5 minutes.

• Finally add the red and green capsicum, and after a quick fry it is ready to serve.

• Add salt and pepper to serve.

Where to try

Silk Road Uyghur Cuisine, upstairs 12 Wyndham St, Ph: (09) 379 5299

- NZ Herald

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