Learning > Recipes

Lamb char siu salad

Sylvia Tan on 26 Jul 2016

The Straits Times


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Lamb lovers, do not despair. You can eat your favourite meat and still keep to a healthy diet.


The secret is to choose a healthy cut of the meat and employ the right cooking method.


White meat from the chicken breast has long been the meat of choice for careful eaters, followed by the fillet of pork and beef, also known as the tenderloin, which are both low in fat and, yes, flavourful.


Avoid lamb, a fatty meat, say the naysayers. I listened to them and broke the rule only occasionally and with a huge sense of guilt.


But the craving lingered. Then, I discovered a cut called the lamb backstrap which, together with the fillet, are two sides of the loin chop.


The lamb backstrap is wider than the fillet but just as lean. It is also full of flavour; both are premium cuts that are very sweet and tender.


However, it is hard to find it on the shelves, and you probably have to buy it from a butcher. I bought mine at a farmers' market in Perth and lugged the frozen vacuum- packed meat back here.


If you find it difficult to source, the lamb fillet would do as well.


As for the cooking method, grilling is good for these meats, as the fat literally drips away. Be careful not to overcook the meat as it can turn dry and tough.


The meat in this recipe was marinated overnight in a char siu marinade. This grilled meat is lovely, served on a bed of salad leaves. I added bitter salad leaves to balance out the sweetness of the meat.


This salad is ideal for someone with a carbo-watching habit, especially if eaten with a filling, flavoursome soup and thickened with beans, instead of rice or bread.


While satisfying cravings is important, moderation is the key. So I would watch portion sizes when eating less than desirable foods.


Slicing thin pieces of meat to lay on a salad is a good way of satisfying a meat craving while watching your diet.


I love lamb, but have avoided it due to the fatty nature of the meat. But with this cut, I can eat it now and then.


Besides, what is there not to love about char siu, especially if it is made with lamb.



  • 2 tbs dark soya sauce
  • 1 tbs light soya sauce
  • 1 tbs Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1/2tsp Chinese five-spice powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbs peanut oil
  • 2 lamb fillets or lamb backstrap, left whole (about 500 g)
  • 1 punnet baby kale leaves or more
  • 1 punnet rocket leaves or more
  • 4 tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbs olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to dress



1. Place the soya sauces, rice wine, honey, five-spice powder and oil in a bowl, and whisk to combine. Set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture.

2. Cover the lamb pieces with the remaining marinade.

3. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours and up to 24 hours. Heat a grill to medium-high heat.

4. Remove lamb from the marinade and pat dry.

5. Place meat on the grill, turning the lamb halfway through, for about 10 minutes or until the lamb is deeply caramelised.

6. Brush the lamb with the reserved marinade and set aside to rest. After 10 minutes, slice thinly.

7. Place salad leaves and halved tomatoes in a bowl, add olive oil, juice from half a lemon, salt and pepper to taste, and toss.

8. Place dressed salad on a plate and lay out lamb slices by the side.




Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

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