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Lamb Chuanr

There are probably as many ways of making chuanr as there are people making them. Everyone has their particular tastes; for example, I like to brush a little Shaoxing wine onto my chuanr before cooking them. Not everybody loves chuanr so spicy that flames shoot from their eyes, so the chili powder can be increased or decreased according to taste.

Chuanr are spicy, delicious, and highly addictive. I remember saying, “I’ll just try one,” and the next thing I knew I was camped out next to a sizzling grill in 100-degree weather, a bouquet of skewers in one hand and a cold beer in the other. There are certainly other ways to eat them, but that’s probably the best.

Prep Time

    •    Prep time: 5 minutes
    •    Cook time: 25 minutes
    •    Yield: Serves 20


    •    1 1/2 to 2 pounds lamb breast
    •    2 tbsps Shaoxing wine or dry sherry (optional)
    •    tbsps cumin seeds
    •    1 tbsp Chinese chili powder
    •    2 tsp powdered garlic
    •    2 tsps powdered fennel
    •    2 tsps kosher salt


  1. Carve the lamb breast meat off the bones and cut them into small chunks of approximately 1" by 1/2" by 1/2", leaving the fat attached. Spear the lamb on bamboo grilling skewers, so the layers alternate between fat and meat. If you choose to use Shaoxing wine, brush it over all the meat and let the skewers rest for 15 minutes.
  2. While the skewers are resting, preheat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat.
  3. Make the chuanr seasoning by stirring together the cumin seeds, chili powder, powdered garlic, powdered fennel, and kosher salt.
  4. Shake the chuanr seasoning liberally over the skewers, coating the meat thoroughly.
  5. Put the skewers on the grill, cook for four minutes, then turn them. The fat will start to melt and become semi-translucent. Continue grilling until the meat is cooked through, about 8-10 minutes total.
  6. Remove the skewers from the grill and distribute. Chuanr are best served by the handful, with beer.

This great family recipe is thanks to Kitchn Recipes at


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