Chef CJ Jacobson of Aba Toothpick Lamb

  • Prep time 0Min
  • Cook time 0Min
  • Technique Pan Fry / Saute
  • Meat Lamb
  • Cut Sirloin
  • Serves 4

Australian lamb and fantastic flavors elevate this from finger food to something unforgettable.


Lamb Spice:
Yield: ¼ cup
10 chiles de árbol, seeds removed
¼ cup cumin seeds

Lemon Kosho Vinaigrette:
Yield: ⅔ cup
2 tablespoons yuzu kosho
½ cup lemon juice

Lamb Strips:
Two 6-to-8-ounce Aussie lamb sirloins, lightly frozen and sliced into ⅛-inch strips
3 tablespoons arak or grappa
Oil for frying

To Assemble and Serve:
½ cup yogurt
3 to 4 drops fish sauce
Olive oil


For the Lamb Spice:
In a sauté pan over medium-low heat, toast all ingredients for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Turn heat off and allow to come to room temperature. Transfer to a spice grinder or Vitamix blender and process until finely ground.

For the Lemon Kosho Vinaigrette:
Thoroughly mix all ingredients with 3 tablespoons water. Transfer to a squeeze bottle.

For the Lamb Strips:
Place lamb strips in a baking dish and marinate with arak or grappa for 20 minutes. Fry each lamb strip at 400°F for 30 seconds. Drain and cool.

To Assemble and Serve:
Heat a large sauté pan over high flame for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, spread yogurt inside a shallow serving bowl and set aside. Add Lamb Strips to the pan, flipping after 1 minute. Coat Lamb Strips in 2 to 3 tablespoons Lemon Kosho Vinaigrette and sauté, moving the pan around quickly.

Remove from heat and coat Lamb Strips in 1 teaspoon Lamb Spice. Return to heat and sauté the strips again. Quickly place them on top of the yogurt and sprinkle with chives and drizzle with olive oil. Stab each Lamb Strip with a toothpick and serve.

Chef Note: :

Suggested Pairing:

Albarín Blanco, Pardevalles, Tierra de León, Spain

“To pair with Chef CJ’s toothpick lamb dish, I have chosen a super fresh and bright white wine from Spain, Pardevalles Albarín from Tierra de León! Not to be confused with the more popular Albariño, Albarín is an indigenous varietal that is similar to a cross between sauvignon blanc and gewürztraminer. I think the grassy, floral aromatics balanced by the rich texture and herbal spiciness is a perfect pairing for a spicy and rich lamb dish. It helps keep the heat in check but allows all the exotic flavors to shine.”