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Harmony in a Pot: TCM inspired Braised Lamb

by Melissa Jin L.Ac.


In the ancient philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the balance of Yin and Yang plays a crucial role in maintaining health and well-being. One of the best ways to do this in the wintertime is to add more warmth to our cooking. So, let's bring this wisdom to our kitchen as we prepare a soul-warming and nourishing dish – Braised Lamb infused with TCM-inspired ingredients. In TCM, lamb is considered to be the warmest of meats, especially when paired with cinnamon and star anise, making it the perfect dish for this time of year. Get ready to embark on a culinary journey that not only delights the senses but also promotes harmony within the body.


- 1.5 kg lamb shoulder, cut into chunks

- 4 slices of ginger

- 3 cloves of garlic, minced

- 2 tablespoons soy sauce

- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine

- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

- 1 tablespoon light molasses 

- 1 cinnamon stick

- 2 star anise

- 3 dried red dates

- 1 tablespoon goji berries

- 4 cups water or beef broth

- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

- Salt and pepper to taste


1. **Marinate the Lamb:**

  In a bowl, combine the lamb chunks with soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and honey. Allow the meat to marinate for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to penetrate.

2. **Prepare the Aromatic Base:**

  Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic, sautéing until fragrant. This aromatic base will form the foundation of our TCM-inspired dish.

3. **Braise the Lamb:**

  Add the marinated lamb to the pot, searing each side until browned. Pour the water or beef broth, ensuring the lamb is submerged. Bring it to a gentle boil.

4. **Infuse TCM Elements:**

  Introduce TCM elements by adding cinnamon sticks, star anise, dried red dates, and goji berries to the pot. These ingredients not only enhance the flavor but also offer health benefits according to TCM principles.

5. **Simmer to Perfection:**

  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the lamb simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. This slow cooking process allows the meat to become tender and absorb the rich flavors of the TCM-inspired broth.

6. **Adjust Seasoning:**

  Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. The dish should achieve a harmonious balance between savory, sweet, and aromatic flavors.

7. **Serve and Enjoy:**

  Once the lamb is tender and the flavors have melded, serve the dish over steamed rice or noodles. Garnish with fresh herbs for a burst of color and additional health benefits.

Experience the magic of TCM in your kitchen with this Braised Lamb recipe. As you savor each bite, relish not only in the exquisite flavors but also in the knowledge that you are nourishing your body with ancient wisdom. This dish is a celebration of balance and harmony – a true gift to your taste buds and well-being alike.