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Chili-Mint Lamb Buns

Lamb Buns 1

I was planning to use some of the lamb leftover from our Easter feast to make Shawarma but, unfortunately, the roast in question was not suitable for carving into appropriate slices and so I decided to try something a little different. I had bread dough leftover from making pizza and I thought that I could use some of this to make something along the lines of the stuffed Chinese buns known as Baozi. As a twist, however, I went with a filling that was more middle-eastern, and thus Shawarma-like, in spirit…

The Ingredients

The Filling

  • 1 cup cooked Lamb, preferably rare, in fine dice;
  • ¼ cup finely chopped Onion;
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Mint;
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf Parsley;
  • 1 tbsp. pureed Garlic;
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. Sambal Oelek or other neutral chili paste;
  • ½ tsp. each of Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper.


  • Bread Dough of your choice …  *see note below;
  • Extra flour for rolling;
  • 1 beaten egg (optional).

NOTE: It is a little difficult to be precise about the bread dough quantity and ingredients as I just used some leftover simple bread dough my wife made for pizza. She made a batch with 4 cups of flour and I used half of it to make a single pizza for supper one night. I used no more than half of what was still remaining for this recipe.

The Method

Lamb Buns 2

Mix the filling ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. The mixture should be somewhat moist so that it sticks together for ease of handling. If it is a little dry, try adding a tablespoon or two of yoghurt, or else a sprinkling of flour and a little water. I found that the pureed garlic and chili paste were sufficient to give the right ‘wetness’.

Lamb Buns 3

For each bun, you need a lump of dough about the size of a small egg. Roll it out to a rough circle about 6 inches in diameter and then place one quarter of the filling in the center.

Lamb Buns 4

Now, gather up the edges over the top of the filling and pinch tightly to seal.

Lamb Buns 5

Finally, turn the bun over and smooth it into a nice round shape, then repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. You can, of course, make smaller buns using less filling and smaller lumps of dough, if you like.

Lamb Buns 6

Once all the buns are formed, place them on a greased, foil-lined baking sheet, making sure there is plenty of space between each one. Now, leave them to rise for a good thirty minutes or so and, while this is happening, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

The buns need to bake for about 25 minutes. At the halfway mark, brush the tops with the beaten egg, if using, as this will give a nice glazed appearance to them once they are done. You can also, if you wish, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seed. Once done, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least five minutes before serving. They are also good cold and, in either case, some pickles, or perhaps a nice fattoush make a nice accompaniment.

The Verdict

Lamb Buns 7

These turned out very nicely although I have to admit to being a bit too generous with the chili paste. It was my own sambal oelek made with Thai chili and the result made them so fiery I reached my personal heat tolerance and couldn’t quite manage the last half of my second bun. My wife, however, really liked them and scarfed down what I left. On the whole, though, I liked these buns well enough but, given a choice, I would prefer one the Chinese varieties. In the near feature, I will be looking at a couple of different sorts of these…


16 Comments Post a comment
  1. Very creative! What are the Chinese varieties you referred to? Like BBQ Pork bun?

    April 28, 2013
    • Yes… that would be one of the most popular examples 🙂

      April 28, 2013
  2. Fiery but very flavorful I’m sure.

    April 28, 2013
  3. yum

    April 28, 2013
  4. Those buns look awesome!

    April 28, 2013
  5. One of the many reasons I love your blog is that you make some of the most inventive and delicious dishes – these look fantastic! I love lamb and you did a great job with your buns. 🙂

    April 28, 2013
    • Thank you so much! If you try these you *may* want to moderate the chili just a tad 🙂

      April 28, 2013
      • I’m a fan of the heat, but from you I’ll consider that a true warning! Thanks!

        April 28, 2013
  6. Really interesting recipe! You are one of the more creative cooks on the interwebs, and I always enjoy seeing what you’re doing. Thanks for this.

    April 28, 2013
    • Well, thank you! Ofcourse, I *do* have my share of disasters 🙂

      April 28, 2013
  7. This was really a creative dish! I immediately thought of those little Chinese buns when I saw the picture, but the idea of lamb was quite inspired! I am sure they were delicious!

    April 28, 2013
    • My wife especially enjoyed them so I have to make them again soon 🙂

      April 29, 2013
  8. This looks really great, I don’t mind hot foods. 🙂

    April 30, 2013
    • I used to be able to manage much hotter food. My tolerance seems to diminish a bit as I get older 😦

      April 30, 2013

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