Spicy Cumin Lamb Meatballs with Sichuan Cucumber Salad

Vanns Sichuan Peppercorns add a spicy twist to cumin-scented lamb meatballs, counterbalanced with a cooling cucumber salad.

Spicy Cumin Lamb Meatballs with Sichuan Cucumber Salad

Ground lamb lends itself naturally to the flavors of the Middle East, but a lesser known region that makes great use of lamb can be found in the Sichuan region of China. Cumin is still made great use of in these lamb meatballs, but the flavor is pushed in a different direction with the use of savory soy sauce and Vanns Sichuan Peppercorns, which provide a particular kind of slightly tingling, numbing heat. A cooling cucumber salad with more Sichuan peppercorns and some nutty toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds provides the perfect balance for this light meal.

Spices used in this recipe

Cumin Ground
Salt, Kosher
Chili Peppers, Crushed
Peppercorns, Sichuan
Sesame Seeds, White


Lamb Meatballs:

Cucumber Salad:


  1. Heat broiler on high and lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. 
  2. Place all ingredients for meatballs in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until just evenly combined. Using wet hands, divide mixture into 12 even meatballs. Space the meatballs at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.
  3. Broil the meatballs until browned and internal temperature is 160°F, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from broiler and allow to cool slightly.
  4. While meatballs broil and cool, make the cucumber salad: whisk together Sichuan peppercorns, crushed chili peppers, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and salt in a bowl, until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  5. Trim cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise. Set cucumber halves cut side down on a cutting board and lightly smack with a rolling pin or other heavy, blunt kitchen instrument until the cucumbers crack in a few places, and their flesh seems to be breaking down a bit. Cut the cucumbers into ¾-inch half moons.
  6. Toss the cucumbers with the dressing and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if desired. Portion salad onto individual plates or place in a single serving bowl, and sprinkle with peanuts, sesame seeds, and cilantro leaves.

Serves 4.

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