Slow-Roasted 5-Spice Lamb

You are all most likely know that I’m enamored with Nigella Lawson. There’s just nothing I don’t love about her, and that certainly goes for her cooking. I respect that she can make fancy food, and then turn around and make a dish with beanie-weenies!

This recipe comes from her book, At My Table, published in 2017. Just all of her other 85 cookbooks, this one has really lovely recipes in it, and I wanted to post on this one.

According to Nigella, “some friends told me about a year ago that they’d gone to a Chinese restaurant and, instead of having duck in pancakes, they’d had soft, shredded lamb. I became obsessed.”

So, she created this recipe – basically pulled lamb with green onions, cucumber, and hoisin sauce on pancakes. She also recommends the combination in lettuce wraps, which sound wonderful, although I made Mandarin pancakes.

Slow-Roasted 5-Spice Lamb with Mandarin Pancakes
Serves: 4-6

1 x approx. 3½ pounds bone-in shoulder of lamb (I used boneless)
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh gingerroot
4 teaspoons Chinese five spice
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
approx. 20 Chinese pancakes (recipe on Peking Duck post)
Iceberg lettuces (separated into leaves to use as wraps)
Hoisin sauce
Scallions (cut into thin strips)
Cucumber (cut into thin strips)

Take the lamb out of the fridge for about an hour to come to room temperature and preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/325°F. Line a roasting tin in which the lamb will sit snugly with a large piece of foil big enough to wrap around the lamb. Then place another large piece of foil on top, but in the opposite way to the first, giving you 4 ends of foil ready to make a parcel for your lamb.

Mix the ginger, 5-spice, vinegar, soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of the honey together. I also added 3 minced garlic cloves.

Put the lamb skin-side down on the foil-lined tin, and slash into the flesh with a sharp knife. Pour about half of the spice mixture over it, and massage it in well (you might want to think of wearing CSI gloves for this), then turn the lamb over, slash the skin side and pour the rest of the spice mixture over, again massaging a little to try and help it get into the meat. Bring up the sides of the foil, to make a loose parcel, and scrunch together to seal tightly, then roast in the oven for 3½ hours. (Because I used boneless lamb, I only cooked mine for 2 1/2 hours.)

Remove the tin from the oven, unwrap the foil, pulling down the sides so that you can spoon or ladle the juices into a bowl or jug, which is quite a boring job, but not a hard one. (Set these juices aside. When they’re cold, refrigerate, then remove the fat. You can warm these up to reheat any leftover meat to eat with rice later.)

Pour the remaining tablespoon of honey over the top of the lamb, and put back into the oven, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes, at which time it will have a barbecue-blackened soft crust. Let it stand out of the oven for 10 minutes. Ooops, forgot to take a photo.

Shred the meat — I just use a couple of serving forks — and transfer to a warmed wide bowl or platter.

Eat in Chinese pancakes or lettuce wraps, along with some hoisin sauce and strips of scallion and cucumber.


About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Carrie Tyler July 22, 2023 at 6:15 AM - Reply

    This lamb looks delicious and I love serving it in the pancakes with scallion and cucumber! I’ve had duck this way, but never lamb, so I’m excited to try this.

    • Chef Mimi July 22, 2023 at 5:44 PM - Reply

      Me as well, but this was really a nice change! The lamb was delicious.

  2. Bernadette July 22, 2023 at 6:47 AM - Reply

    I am a big fan of Nigella also. I have one of her cookbooks on audio and it is a hoot listening to her. I am not a fan of lamb but definitely will make this with pork.

    • Chef Mimi July 24, 2023 at 7:53 AM - Reply

      I also love listening to her. She’s so articulate and funny at the same time! And, she has great recipes.

  3. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen July 22, 2023 at 7:35 AM - Reply

    I would love the aromas in your house the day you made this!

    • Chef Mimi July 22, 2023 at 5:44 PM - Reply

      The best kind of potpourri!!!

  4. July 22, 2023 at 9:42 AM - Reply

    I love lamb and miss my lamb-lovin’ partner as noone else in the family likes it. Looks really good and probably is if it’s a Nigella recipe. I think I have this cookbook!

    • Chef Mimi July 22, 2023 at 5:43 PM - Reply

      I’ve only had a problem with one recipe of her, that used frozen fish sticks! But otherwise she’s spot on. This one is fabulous!

    • StefanGourmet July 25, 2023 at 11:04 AM - Reply

      With these spices it is not going to taste strongly of lamb. But you could of course also make this with beef or even pork.

      • Chef Mimi July 25, 2023 at 3:48 PM

        I personally think it’s less “lamby” because of the use of the shoulder, not because of the spices. But it all worked well together!

  5. David Scott Allen July 22, 2023 at 11:35 AM - Reply

    I love Chinese lamb recipes — I cannot wait to try this! I just made my first batch of homemade hoisin sauce and I would much rather have this lamb than mu shoo pork! Just beautiful, Mimi!

    • Chef Mimi July 22, 2023 at 5:43 PM - Reply

      Oh that’s crazy! Home made hoisin?? Amazing!!! Wish I could taste it.

      • Pauline July 23, 2023 at 1:16 AM

        Oh I can’t wait to make this Mimi, looks delicious and perfect for entertaining. I am a fan of Nigellas too, of course. Thanks for the reminder about this recipe.

      • Chef Mimi July 23, 2023 at 3:47 PM

        She’s really fabulous! I wish we were friends!

  6. Sherry M July 22, 2023 at 5:52 PM - Reply

    I love Nigella I love her recipes and her wonderful prose!

    • Chef Mimi July 22, 2023 at 6:30 PM - Reply

      Yes! She is a delight to read and a delight to hear.

  7. Frank Fariello July 23, 2023 at 8:57 AM - Reply

    Yummy! I love Peking Duck and I love lamb, so… this looks right up my alley.

    • Chef Mimi July 23, 2023 at 3:46 PM - Reply

      You’ll love it. Great flavors!

  8. Velva July 23, 2023 at 10:33 AM - Reply

    I love this! I think Americans under appreciate lamb which is so incredibly flavorful. Delicious Chef Mimi.


    • Chef Mimi July 23, 2023 at 3:46 PM - Reply

      Yes, I agree with you. It’s actually the only meat that I crave occasionally.

  9. Ann Coleman July 23, 2023 at 2:52 PM - Reply

    That does sound like a good recipe! I’ve never tried lamb, because I can’t get past the image that the name brings. I think of a living, cute, lamb. Since I’m a meat eater, I know this makes no sense, but there it is.

    • Chef Mimi July 23, 2023 at 3:45 PM - Reply

      I understand. I really do!

    • StefanGourmet July 25, 2023 at 11:05 AM - Reply

      Whenenever I see one of those cute lambs inal a field, I get a craving for rack of lamb!

  10. Gerlinde de Broekert July 23, 2023 at 6:32 PM - Reply

    This looks fantastic Mimi, I like lamb, Chinese duck and I have always enjoyed Nigella’s books .

    • Chef Mimi July 23, 2023 at 7:13 PM - Reply

      Me, too! I might have all of them……. Or close to it!

  11. Tandy | Lavender and Lime July 24, 2023 at 1:51 AM - Reply

    oh ,my gosh! I would come for supper knowing this was on the menu. It looks scrummy :)

    • Chef Mimi July 24, 2023 at 7:51 AM - Reply

      Yes! It was fabulous!!!

  12. Jeff the Chef July 24, 2023 at 10:55 AM - Reply

    This sounds delicious! And thank you for the link to your pancake recipe!

    • Chef Mimi July 24, 2023 at 12:40 PM - Reply

      The lamb was exceptional!

  13. StefanGourmet July 25, 2023 at 11:03 AM - Reply

    I love this idea! I’m going to make the pulled lamb sous vide, 24 hours at 74C/165F, reserving the juices from the bag and mixing those with the pulled meat. This will make the meat very moist. Thanks for sharing Mimi, Kees is going to love this!

    • Chef Mimi July 25, 2023 at 3:48 PM - Reply

      Oh good! I love Lamb also. It’s the only meat I crave often. Rack of lamb is the best!

  14. David @ Spiced July 26, 2023 at 6:23 AM - Reply

    I don’t have a lot of experience cooking lamb, but this sounds fantastic, Mimi! I’m not a fan of duck, so the idea of switching it out for lamb is calling to me. And to go with Asian spices is a fun little twist!

    • Chef Mimi July 27, 2023 at 8:22 AM - Reply

      And I have to say, it was really really good.

  15. Raymund July 30, 2023 at 7:05 PM - Reply

    The combination of soft, shredded lamb with green onions, cucumber, and hoisin sauce on pancakes or lettuce wraps sounds incredibly flavorful. The way you described preparing the lamb with the ginger, five spice, and other delicious ingredients makes my mouth water.

    • Chef Mimi July 30, 2023 at 8:39 PM - Reply

      Thanks so much! It was a wonderful recipe!

  16. Valentina July 31, 2023 at 8:06 PM - Reply

    Mimi, this sounds and looks amazing! I like Nigella and her recipes are alluring. I love any reason to add Five Spice to what I’m making, and how perfect with the lamb. :- )~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi August 5, 2023 at 7:26 AM - Reply

      Nigella is my hero1

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