Burmese Chili American Lamb with Cumin Seed

Prep Time

15 min

Cook Time

15 min

Total Time

30 min


2 to 3

bowl of burmese chili with chopsticks resting on the rim


  • 1 pound American Lamb leg or shoulder, fat and sinew trimmed, thinly sliced, across grain, into 1/8 to 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons wok or peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, or ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds, or regular mustard seeds

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  • 1 to 2 tablespoons wok oil or peanut oil
  • 1 to 2 cups green vegetables (snap peas, snow peas, asparagus, green beans)
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced jalapeño, more to taste
  • 6 small dried Thai chiles
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes, more to taste
  • 10 Thai or regular basil leaves, plus extra for garnish


In a bowl, toss lamb with oil, cornstarch, salt and pepper; set aside. 

In a dry wok over medium heat, toast cumin and mustard seeds until fragrant and golden. Grind with a mortar and pestle; set aside. 

For the Stir Fry Sauce: In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, vinegar and sugar; set aside. 

In a wok or large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat wok oil or peanut oil. Add lamb; sear both sides until each side is golden. Place the lamb on a paper towel-lined bowl or plate. 

Add green vegetables, bell pepper and onion to wok; cook and continually stir over medium-high heat until slightly charred and tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Moving vegetables to the sides, make a well in the center of the pan. Add a few drops of oil, then add garlic and jalapeño; fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add Thai chilies and lamb back into the wok. Toss a few times, heating the lamb back up a little. Pour in the Stir Fry sauce, cumin and mustard seeds; cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with chili flakes according to taste. Right before serving, toss in basil. 

Serve over rice or on its own. 

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.

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