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4.34 from 3 votes

Xinjiang Lamb Rice

Xinjiang Lamb Rice or Xīnjiāng shou zhuā fàn in Mandarin (新疆手抓饭) is a signature dish in Xinjiang home-cooking. This lamb rice is very special and usually reserved for holidays only for for Xinjiang or Uyghur people
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Lamb
Cuisine: Chinese - Uyghur
Keyword: lamb rice
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 472kcal
Author: Judy


  • 2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 2 pounds fatty lamb (900g, cut into 1/2 inch chunks, separate out the fatty pieces from the lean meat)
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 pound carrots (cut into thin strips)
  • ¼ cup raisins (optional)


  • Soak the rice for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • While the rice is soaking, blanch the lamb by boiling 4 cups of water in a pot along with the lamb and ginger. Let it boil for a couple of minutes, and then turn off the heat. Use a slotted spoon to pick out the lamb pieces and set them aside, making sure to drain off any excess water. Then use a fine mesh strainer to strain the cooking liquid. Reserve that liquid to cook the rice.
  • Now heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add ONLY the fatty lamb pieces, and stir-fry to get a nice crust on them. Turn the heat down to medium low, and render the fat until the pieces start to turn golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Turn the heat to medium, and add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent. Now turn the heat back up to high and add the blanched lamb in a single layer so as to brown the meat on all sides. This will take a few minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid you reserved earlier, along with the salt, soy sauce, and cumin, and mix everything well. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Now add in the carrots and raisins (if using), and cover for another minute to bring the mixture back up to a boil. Turn off the heat. (Don’t worry, the carrots will finish cooking in the rice cooker. Also, at this point, the taste will be on the salty side, but remember that it will mellow up once mixed in with the rice.)
  • Pour everything into the rice cooker (or a pot), and add the rice. The rice should be spread out evenly. There should be enough liquid to see peeking through the rice grains (you may need to add more water if needed), but the liquid level should not be above the rice. Cover and start the rice cooker. If you are using a pot, turn the heat up to medium high to bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, turn the heat down to low, and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  • Once the rice is done cooking, open the lid, mix everything together, add salt to taste (if necessary) and enjoy.


Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 1019mg | Potassium: 669mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 12630IU | Vitamin C: 6.1mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2.8mg