Cumin & Coriander Lamb Stir-Fry

Lamb Stirfry 3Stir-fries are a perfect weeknight meal. A stir-fry has meat, it has veggies, and everything is sautéed quickly in the same skillet (or wok). But when your stir-fry starts tasting the same, week after week, it’s easy to get bored. One simple way to change-up your standard stir-fry is to skip beef, pork and chicken and go for lamb instead.

It’s funny that lamb is rarely used in stir-fries because it’s really very good. Lamb tastes great with most Asian-inspired marinades and sauces, and it’s also really delicious if you want a whole new kind of stir-fry, one flavored by toasted cumin and coriander seeds, the warm heat of Sichuan peppercorns and fresh, cool herbs.

Besides offering variety and great flavor, grass fed lamb is near perfect meat, containing all 8 essential amino acids, several B vitamins, niacin, zinc, iron and lots of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Here in the US, lamb is often overlooked at the meat counter or saved for a special occasion. But this lamb stir-fry recipe shows how easy it is to work lamb into a regular weeknight meal: slice it thinly, season it, and throw it in a hot skillet for just a few minutes. Other easy-to-make and easy to love lamb meals are harissa lamb chops, lamb meatballs, and lamb stew.

Servings: 4

Time in the Kitchen: 45 minutes



  • 1 1/3 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into very thin strips (600 g)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (10 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (5 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (5 ml)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt (2.5 ml)
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil, divided (45 ml)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (10 ml)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (80 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint (30 ml)


Heat cumin and coriander seeds and peppercorns in a skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to a spice grinder/coffee grinder to very finely chop (or use a chef knife).

Mix the spices with 1 tablespoon/15 ml coconut oil (or olive oil) and the garlic and salt. Rub the mixture all over the lamb slices.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until the pan is really hot. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, cook the lamb in two batches so the pan isn’t overcrowded, adding more coconut oil for the second batch if needed. Each batch of meat should be nicely browned on both sides in little more than 4 minutes.


Transfer the lamb to a serving platter and set aside. Add the carrots and red onion to the skillet. Add more oil if needed. Cook until onions are just getting soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the bell pepper. Cook a few minutes more.

Add the lamb back to the skillet. Drizzle in the red wine vinegar. Cook just a minute or two until the vinegar cooks off the meat is heated.

Add cilantro and mint before serving.

stir fry

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20 thoughts on “Cumin & Coriander Lamb Stir-Fry”

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  1. Oh yeah. The last time I was in Malaysia I pigged out on lamb curry with some (ok, a lot) of spinach and assorted greens thrown in. Lamb is so very delicious!

  2. I love grass-fed lamb as much as the next person (so tender and delicious), but must admit, I don’t buy it too often simply because (gulp)…I feel bad! Why is it easier to eat a full grown animal??

    1. The cuter the animal, the better the flavor. See also: veal and duck.

  3. Looks good, but I would probably use beef instead. The idea of eating baby animals is offputting. I’m not THAT much of a meat eater.

  4. I love anything lamb and other then lambs chops, 7 hours slow roasted shoulder rather the leg and lambs heart and liver which are milder and tastier then those from a cow. Tip: Instead of coconut oil try your recipe with thinly sliced leeyeh (snow white sheep’s tail fat). It’s very tasty and can be incorporated into various dishes like home made Shawarma made with thinly sliced beef rump with grounded cinnamon, cardamon. black pepper and salt, or incorporated into hamburgers, grounded kebab patties or interspersed between sirloin chunks, or on it’s own as cubes on a skewer. I routinely keep a pound or two in the freezer and use as needed whether as stir fried, grated like Parmesan and added to ground beef, or simply crisping it in a pan and use the oil that was rendered to fry eggs.

  5. For those concerned about eating baby animals, I’m afraid that you might already be doing so:

    Beef/Veal: At 6-7 months, the calf is slaughtered for veal. At 14 months or 1200 pounds, it’s slaughtered for beef.
    Lamb/Mutton: Up to one year old is lamb. Over one year old is mutton.
    Chickens: Grocery store chickens are slaughtered at about 6 weeks. Free range or organic chickens are slaughtered at around 14 weeks.
    Pigs for pork and bacon get slaughtered at 4-12 months of age.

    Here’s some info about other animals’ life spans before slaughter:

  6. Isn’t it strange that certain people in the paleo community appear to be squeamish about eating young animals and yet we consume baby chickens (eggs) by the dozen? 🙂

    1. Seriously? Do you really think all eggs are fertile and contain baby chickens?

      1. Seriously, if you look at the little 🙂 at the end of the comment, you should’ve realized the comment was not meant to be taken seriously.

        1. Sorry, but your humor was far from obvious. All I saw was a dumb comment. A smiley face can mean a lot of things.

  7. I think lamb can be a slight misnomer. I butcher our lambs at 11 months (sometimes later for my own use). Pigs however never make it past 7 months. To be called lamb and sold you have to butcher before a year. The point is – meat lambs are not really butchered as “babies”.

  8. Sometimes it is obvious you aren’t Australian. Nothing unusual in lamb stir fry around here. I will admit tonight is roast lamb backstrap, though. Usually have lamb 2 or three times a week.

  9. This looks great! I forget to make lamb stir-fry, even though it’s one of my favorite dishes to order out at Chinese restaurants. Thanks for the great recipe!

  10. Having made a most delicious lamb stew last night, I welcome any and all lamb recipes! Eat ALL the tasty baby animals! 😀

  11. This post is so timely! I have JUST been thinking about how boring my stir frys have become! Thanks so much for posting this and other yummy recipes. Tonight’s dinner, here we come!

  12. Just made this tonight, and loving it. Thanks Mark! This is a delicious, welcome break from my standard chicken & veggies with ginger and garlic!

  13. Just to put things in perspective for all of you who are envisioning fluffy baby lambs led to the slaughter, a sheep under 1 year of age is marketed as “lamb”. They are breeding age by 7 months, often sooner…. MUCH sooner in the case of the males. I raised sheep and goats for years and I bred my girls when they reached 9 months old. Feeder lambs at market are lighter weight lambs running 60-90 while the average weight of a slaughter lamb in the US is around 135 pounds… that ain’t no baby.