Xinjiang Uyghur Lamb Pilaf

Today’s recipe is Xinjiang Uyghur Lamb Pilaf, one of “must-eat” dishes in Xinjiang.

A photo of Xinjiang Uyghur Lamb Pilaf

Xinjiang Uyghur Lamb Pilaf is a mixture of carrots, rice and lamb meat. The flavor of the dish is intensely aromatic with cumin and onion, which are one of my personal favorite flavor combinations. The lamb meat is cut into small pieces for more flavor. Paired with rice, it makes one heavenly dish! I’m not a huge fan of lamb but this dish is incredibly delicious!

The flavor of this dish, especially the rice, is so rich. Infused with tons of flavor from the meat and the spices, the rice in it is much more flavorful than ordinary steamed or fried rice. Uyghur Lamb Pilaf is addictively delicious, and it is really impossible not to fall in love at first bite. 

This Xinjiang lamb dish is simple and absolutely tasty! I loved how easy it was to make and the end product was enjoyed by all who tried it! If you are looking for a perfect winter recipe, give this one a try! It will be one you want to make over and over again!

The original version of this recipe calls for an unreasonable amount of oil. I have modified the recipe to make it healthier. I hope you will love it! 🙂

A photo of Xinjiang Uyghur Lamb Pilaf

A photo of Xinjiang Uyghur Lamb Pilaf

A photo of Xinjiang Uyghur Lamb Pilaf

A photo of Xinjiang Uyghur Lamb Pilaf

A photo of Xinjiang Uyghur Lamb Pilaf

A photo of Xinjiang Uyghur Lamb Pilaf



Xinjiang Uyghur Lamb Pilaf

  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Serving Size: 4


  • 1 lb lamb ribs
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/2 knob ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup water

Step by Step: 

  1. Cut the lamb meat away from the bone, put in a large bowl. (Removing bones is optional.) Add in Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, cumin, and salt, and mix to evenly coat the lamb. Set aside to marinate 10 minutes.
  2. Chop carrots, onion, garlic and ginger into small pieces.
  3. Wash and rinse the rice several times. Place in a bowl with double the amount of water and let soak for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Stir fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add lamb, carrots, soy sauce, cumin, salt, Sichuan peppercorn, and cook for another 3 minutes. Then pour in water, cover and simmer over a medium heat, about 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer everything (rice, lamb, carrots and the sauce) into a rice cooker. Add more water if needed.  Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a platter, garnish with scallion if desired. Serve warm.

Cheers! 😀


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    • December 19, 2015 / 10:23 am

      Thank you! It tastes delicious too! 😀

  1. December 19, 2015 / 11:07 am

    Wow! I’ll try this at some point in the new year. It has a few combinations that I love.

    Thanks for sharing – and have a great Christmas, Charlotte.

    • December 19, 2015 / 11:18 am

      You’re welcome! The meat and rice combination + cumin and lamb combination, right? Haha it was very delicious! Let me know if you like it! Have a great Christmas too! ;P

      • December 19, 2015 / 12:24 pm

        You are right about the combinations that interest me and make me drool.

        I’ll feed back to you how I enjoy the food.

        • December 19, 2015 / 5:58 pm

          These combinations are irresistible!! Can’t wait to hear from you. 😀

  2. December 19, 2015 / 11:28 am

    This is very similar to the Uzbek version which I make often. I like that you’ve added ginger and Szechuan pepper to yours. I’ll use your recipe next time I make this favourite of ours.

    • December 19, 2015 / 11:32 am

      Thank you Hilda! I can imagine your Uzbek version which must be tasty too! Let me know if you like this one! 🙂

  3. December 19, 2015 / 11:57 am

    I’m going to make this.

    • December 19, 2015 / 12:02 pm

      Wow let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  4. December 19, 2015 / 12:10 pm

    I love lamb and this looks delicious. Next time it’s on sale I’ve got to pick some up and give this a try.

    • December 19, 2015 / 5:51 pm

      Thank you! I just know it will soon be on sale! 😛 Let me know how it goes!

      • December 19, 2015 / 6:13 pm

        They ARE on sale now but I bought a prime rib for Christmas so I’ll probably wait til Easter. 🙂

        • December 19, 2015 / 6:16 pm

          That’s great! Let’s wait until Easter. 🙂

  5. Tammy L
    December 19, 2015 / 12:26 pm

    So simple yet elegant! I love the use of herbs and aromatic ingredients in this recipe.

    • December 19, 2015 / 6:07 pm

      Thank you very much! I’m so happy you like it. We have a long tradition of using aromatic herbs and spices to boost a dish’s flavor.:) This dish is really great, you should try it out!

  6. December 19, 2015 / 10:58 pm

    This dish is very similar to our Indian Pulau and Biryani whcih are my favourites. Can this dish be made using only vegetables ?
    Have a lovely Christmas!

    • December 20, 2015 / 4:34 am

      Thanks for your kind comment! There are quite a few different versions of pilaf out there. This lamb pilaf is the most common and popular one in Xinjiang cuisine. I haven’t tried using only vegetables to make this. You could give it a try, it might be delicious too. 🙂

  7. December 21, 2015 / 9:06 am

    Love this dish! We call it Plov, which I think is the Uzbek version, very common across Russia. I’ve never heard of it with Shaoxing and soy, sounds lovely! 🙂

    • December 22, 2015 / 5:28 am

      Thank you Peter! It’s so interesting to hear that how these similar dishes differ from each other in different regions. I haven’t tried Plov before. I’ll try someday! Let me know if you try this Xinjiang version! 😀

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