Zhua Fan is a traditional one-pot rice recipe incorporating a bit of lamb and lots of veggies for a delicious dish. Zhua Fan is a favorite of the Uyghur people in XinJiang province of Northwestern China. Cook time is approximately 1 hour
Lamb shank (1 or 2; other lamb meat can be used, but best results with shank). Lamb shanks may be too large for clay pot, so check that before you start.
Carrots, mushrooms, celery, onions: approximately one cup each: chopped
Garlic: several cloves: minced
Ground cumin spice: 2-3 tablespoons
Salt: 2-3 tablespoons (can add to taste after cooking as well)
Favorite mixed spice seasoning, to taste
Chinese peppercorn (hua jiao): optional
Red (spicy) pepper flakes (optional)
Brown lamb shank(s) on stovetop for 10-20 minutes (coat pan with thin layer of oil and add lamb shanks, Chinese peppercorn, red pepper flakes and 1 Tbsp of ground cumin and allow shanks to cook until browned all around. Does not need to be cooked through).
Add water to the pan to cover the lamb shanks: boil for about 20 minutes while you cook the veggies in another pan.
Stir-fry all of the chopped veggies with garlic in another pan for about 10 minutes (coat pan with a thin layer of oil and add all veggies and garlic to a hot pan, stirring frequently). Add favorite spice blend, 1 T ground cumin, and salt while cooking.
Add cooked veggies to the bottom of clean VitaClay clay pot.
Remove Lamb Shanks from boiling liquid pan, place in clay pot.
Skim all of the foam, bone fragments and Chinese peppercorn from the broth.
Add clear broth (without peppercorns, foam or bone fragments) to the clay pot.
Add your favorite rice (rinse if necessary) to the top of everything. Ensure broth covers all of the rice. Do not stir. If necessary, add a bit of water (only if broth is not enough to cover the rice: should not be necessary).
Add another Tbsp of ground cumin, another Tbsp of salt, and more spices.
Set VitaClay cooker to “brown rice” selection and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, until cooking cycle is done.
Allow to sit on “warm” after cooking for 10-15 minutes.
If rice dish is too wet when you open the pot, replace clay lid and close the cooker. Push “cancel,” and then set the cooker to “reheat.” After reheat cycle is completed, texture should be more appropriate.
** This recipe can be adapted to use with other meats or as a vegetarian dish, but I have found it tastes best with lamb shanks (and I don’t even like lamb!).