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Cumin-Spiced Lamb Noodles

Inspired by the classic at Xi'an Famous Foods, though by no means a substitute for the original. A little crushed red pepper goes a long way here, but feel free to adjust to your heat preference.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 person


  • 2 oz wide rice noodles
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • lb ground lamb (you could also use ground beef or turkey)
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar, divided
  • 1 generous pinch granulated sugar
  • 1 medium carrot
  • cups baby spinach, torn


  • Bring about 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add rice noodles and cook 4-5 minutes or until tender, then drain. If you want to use a heartier veggie, add it to the boiling water in the last couple minutes of cooking.
  • Meanwhile, heat an 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the lamb, scallion, garlic, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt. Use a spatula to break up the meat and work in the spices. Cook 3-5 minutes until the meat is browned. Stir in 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, and a pinch of sugar. Cook another 3 minutes (you should see some crispy bits in the pan). Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Peel the carrot and then keep peeling into wide ribbons, working on one side of the carrot at a time. Add the carrots in a single layer over the lamb in the skillet, then the spinach. Drizzle over the remaining teaspoon each of soy sauce and rice vinegar. Add the hot noodles, cover with a lid, and let sit off the heat a couple minutes until the spinach is slightly wilted, then stir everything together.