Ginger Lamb and Carrot Stew – Mama’s style

Mom used to cook and bake heaps but between manning the fort we call home, bringing up 5 kids and chauffeuring us to school, after school activities, tuition classes and what not, meant her food (especially lunches) gradually became one-pot/one-wok meals that met our protein and other nutrient requirements. It is not uncommon to arrive home after school and find the dining table empty! Instead, we’d head straight to the back kitchen and perched on top of the stove is a gigantus pot of chicken and winter melon soup or lotus root soup with pork ribs, red dates and dried squid; adjacent to that, a soup ladle and a rice pot. We’d all get our own big bowls, dunk the cooked rice in soup, fish out the goodies like meat, fish balls and stuff and tuck in.

On certain days my  mom would cook this warming lamb dish and it’s one of my absolute favourites! Lamb forequarter chops slowly-cooked till the meat falls off the bone, in a peppery broth perfumed with aromatics such as old-ginger, cinnamon stick, star-anise, cloves, sweetened by the addition of carrots, onions and oyster sauce. Mom’s version is ‘cleaner’ and more soup like; I’ve modified mine to have a thicker gravy so it’s goes really well with steamed rice.

Ginger Lamb and Carrot Stew

6  pieces lamb forequarter chops (about 950g with bone)
7 cm piece ginger, sliced thinly
5  medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut into large 3cm – 4cm chunks
3  medium-sized brown onions, roughly sliced
2  cloves garlic, bashed whole
2  tablespoons cooking oil
850 – 900 ml water

1 cinnamon stick
5 star-anise
1 teaspoon cloves

3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
cracked black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat up the oil in a deep heavy-based pot; add the spices, lower to medium flame and fry until the aroma’s released (about 30 – 60 seconds); add the ginger slices and continue cooking for 1 minute or so.
  2. Add the onions and sweat them lightly for about 1 minute; add in the lamb forequarter chops and toss through the onions, ginger and spices until the meat surface’s cooked but not necessarily browned.
  3. Pour in the seasoning except for the black pepper, stir through to coat; add the carrot chunks and garlic cloves then pour in about 700ml water which should be sufficient to cover the lamb forequarters.
  4. Reduce heat and let simmer for 1.5 hours; stir occasionally
  5. 15 minutes before the end of cooking time, check for seasoning, pour the remaining 150-200ml water and let simmer for the remaining time. 
  6. Season with cracked black pepper and serve with plain steamed rice.


tender lamb that fell of the bone

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