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Jellied Lamb

1 pound boneless lamb shank -- cut in large pieces or- a similar quantity of beef
2 scallions -- cut into 4" lengths
2 garlic cloves
2 slices fresh ginger -- cut half inch thick
2 star anise
1 tablespoon crushed rock sugar or- granulated sugar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
1/2 Cup beef broth
1 tablespoon agar agar flakes
Several fresh lettuce leaves -- for garnish


Recipes with aspic are normally summer dishes, and this one is a cool treat in hot weather. However, in the winter you can also serve it over a bed of hot rice, which will melt the aspic into a lovely sauce. The taste is unusual: lamb with anise. Agar agar is the gelling agent in this dish.

1. Put the lamb or beef in a heavy pot, cover with water and boil for 3 minutes. Pour the contents of the pot into a colander. Rinse the meat and pot to remove any scum. Return the meat to the pot and add all the remaining ingredients except the agar agar and lettuce. Bring the pot to a boil, turn the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover the pot and turn to a low simmer; cook for 1 & a half hours or until tender.

2. Remove the lamb to cool. Discard the scallions, garlic, ginger and star anise but save the liquid. Cut the meat into half inch pieces. Put the diced meat into a small loaf pan.

3. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve and, if necessary, add enough water to make 1 and a half cups. Pour this liquid into a small saucepan, add the agar agar and heat, stirring, until the agar agar dissolves. Pour the liquid over the meat and refrigerate for 4 hours or until the liquid jells.

4. Remove any fat from the top of the jellied loaf. Use a knife to loosen from the pan, then unmold. Place an oblong serving platter over the pan and, holding the platter tightly to the loaf pan, turn mold upside down onto the platter. Cut the loaf into half inch thick slices. Arrange slices on a platter with the lettuce around the lamb and serve cold.


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