Braised Lamb Belly with Jalapeño Vinegar

Alexander Ong

Betelnut Pejiu Wu - San Francisco

Alexander Ong prepared this spicy lamb dish for the 2011 James Beard Awards. It can be prepared with either lamb or goat.


  • Lamb Belly:

  • 1/4 cup curry powder
  • 1/4 cup turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup soybean oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless lamb belly, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 cup dried Szechuan chilies
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Jalapeño Vinegar:

  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 3 green onion tops, minced
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chile flakes
  • Cilantro and lime wedges for garnish


To prepare the lamb belly, mix together the curry powder, turmeric, coriander, and cumin in a small pan. Toast the spices over low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a small mixing bowl. Add the soybean oil, garlic, and ginger and mix to form a paste. Rub the paste on the lamb. Refrigerate the lamb overnight.

To prepare the jalapeño vinegar, combine the vinegar, sugar, jalapeño, green onions, salt, garlic, and chile flakes in a blender and purée. Refrigerate overnight. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Place the lamb in a large Dutch oven. Place the yellow onions and dried chilies over the lamb. Add enough water to just cover the lamb. (The water should be at room temperature.) Cover the pan with foil and braise in the oven until tender, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Remove from the oven, transfer the lamb to a plate, and let cool. Return the lamb to the Dutch oven, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, slice the lamb into the desired serving size. Heat a small pan over medium heat and sear the lamb on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes each side. Transfer to serving plates. Drizzle with jalapeño vinegar and garnish with cilantro. Add lime wedges if desired.


4 servings