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The Hirshon Uzbek Lamb, Noodle and Vegetable Soup – Lagʻmon


Ingredients

Scale
  • A bit more than 1 lb. lamb, including a couple of sawn bones, meat cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 large onions cut into thin rounds
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into thick julienne
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cubed (or 1 cup canned San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 1 Chinese celery stalk, with leaves de-stringed and sliced into thick julienne (if unavailable, use regular Western celery)
  • 1 cup daikon/white Asian radish cut into 1” cubes (or red radishes cut into quarters)
  • 1 red sweet bell pepper, cut into 1” strips
  • 1 bunch Chinese chives cut into 1” pieces, preferably flowering (can be substituted with leek, scallions, or regular chives)
  • 3 cloves Uzbek garlic (Uzbek Star or Kitab if you can find them, otherwise substitute any hot garlic varietal), minced or mashed to paste
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut turnip
  • ***
  • Spices:
  • ½ teaspoon zeera/black cumin – black cumin can be found at any Indian grocery store or on Amazon. Black cumin also goes under the names of kala jeera (black cumin), not to be confused with kalonji (nigella, onion seeds) or shahi jeera (royal cumin, denoting its special status.)
  • 3 whole dried hot red peppers
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp. paprika (TFD prefers smoked paprika)
  • ½ tsp. chili flakes (TFD prefers Urfa Biber)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • black pepper and salt to taste
  • ***
  • Cilantro and parsley for garnish
  • Udon Noodles, cooked according to package instructions and reserved
  • Chili paste with garlic
  • ***
  • For Spiced Vinegar:
  • 1 cup tarragon vinegar (if unavailable, use white wine vinegar)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 springs cilantro
  • 1 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns (TFD addition and thus optional – this is a respectful nod to the Uyghur-style of lagman)
  • 2 hot chili peppers
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ⅛ teaspoon cumin seeds

Instructions

  1. Vadzha: Heat oil in a heavy pot and sauté onion till golden. Add meat pieces, bones and brown them well. Now add black cumin, hot chilies and stir for a minute. Add carrots and let them soften. Stir in the tomatoes and cook them down for 5 minutes.
  2. Pour in 2-3 quarts of water, add star anise, paprika, chili flakes, dried chiles and bay leaf. Simmer for 40 minutes, removing scum as necessary. Then add daikon, celery and salt. Ten minutes later add red pepper strips. When daikon softens, add turnips, if using them. Finally, add Chinese chives, garlic and lots of minced cilantro, parsley. Correct spicing with salt, pepper and chili powder and remove from the heat.
  3. Cook noodles till al dente in boiling salted water, keeping in mind that they will continue to cook once submerged in hot soup. Serve with vadzha and garnish with extra cilantro, parsley or both.
  4. Lagman is typically served with hot chili paste (crushed dried red chili and garlic roasted in oil) as well as piquant vinegar – the flavored vinegar is simplicity itself. Simply combine all ingredients together, at least 1 and preferably 2 weeks before using. It keeps up to a year.
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